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German ass russian holeGerhard Schröder paid pet of Vladimir Putin

For seven years, Gerhard Schröder was the leader of the most populous democracy in Western Europe. He modernized the country's social security system, angered George W. Bush by refusing to participate in the invasion of Iraq and was only narrowly ousted in an election defeat to Angela Merkel in 2005. Schröder could have easily spent the rest of his career as an elder statesman, attending summits and writing books.

Instead, Schröder — a paid pet of Vladimir Putin who has defended Moscow's top man as a “flawless democrat” — opted for a career in the Russian business world. Schröder has spent much of the past decade working for the Russian energy industry, serving as a board member of several consortia in which Russian-government-controlled energy company Gazprom is either the majority or sole shareholder. His astonishing career in the Russian energy industry reached new heights this week when the former chancellor was nominated for a position as an independent director on the board of Rosneft, Russia's largest oil company — and one in which the Kremlin also holds a controlling stake. The nomination had been rumored for days and was confirmed by a government decree published late on Friday night. True to their abandoned work ethic, Europeans adore their weekends, so presumably nobody noticed. Schröder's office did not respond to an interview request.

At a time when Russian business connections among members of Trump administration have come under growing scrutiny, Schröder's case stands out as the perhaps most blatant example of a Western politician having conflicts of interests when it comes to Moscow. “By becoming a well-paid official of a foreign, aggressive power he has damaged the reputation of the political class more than any other living politician,” said Stephan Bierling, an international politics professor at the University of Regensburg. Yet, despite his obvious links to the Russian government which are considered embarrassing by many Germans, Schröder has recently made a comeback among Germany's Social Democrats, or SPD.

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