The New York TimesThe New York Times

The former Chancellor who became Putin’s man in Germany

By Katrin Bennhold

23 Apr 2022 · 17 min read

Editor's Note

Putin’s war forced Germany to reconsider ties with Russia. Here, the New York Times puts Gerhard Schröder, the former chancellor who was paid millions by Russian energy companies, under a microscope.

On the evening of Dec. 9, 2005, 17 days after Gerhard Schröder left office as chancellor of Germany, he got a call on his cellphone. It was his friend President Vladimir Putin of Russia.

Putin was pressing Schröder to accept an offer to lead the shareholder committee of Nord Stream, a Russian-controlled company in charge of building the first undersea gas pipeline directly connecting Russia and Germany.

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