MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Doris Schroeder-Koepf said that the two countries had developed strong ties under the chancellorship of Gerhard Schroeder, who led Germany in 1998-2005, but they were never renewed.
“When someone in the future will be making a historical assessment of Angela Merkel’s actions, this will be determined as one of her main mistakes … There were many signs of mutual desire for cooperation, but she simply did not go for it, maybe because of her kind of idealistic, romantic relationship with the United States. But one could do both. On the one hand, to recognize the historic role of the United States, but at the same time to strengthen the unbreakable ties with Russia,” Schroeder-Koepf told Sputnik.
Schroeder-Koepf also expressed hope that Russia and Germany will one day come back to the same level of good cooperation they had in the years of Schroeder’s leadership.
“We have to proceed with the assumption that Crimea will never be given back, so in this aspect, we will have to accept some kind of a status quo,” she said, when asked about the sanctions against Russia, and added that both parties should show goodwill on the issue.
Schroeder-Koepf spoke also spoke of her personal relationship with Russia, noting that two of her three children were born in St. Petersburg. Because of her personal ties to the country, the SPD official stated that a deep and genuine bond between Germany and Russia was obviously very important for her.
Schroeder-Koepf recalled the 60th anniversary of Victory Day in 2005, to which German veterans were invited alongside then-chancellor Schroeder and his wife.
“We were allowed to bring German veterans with us, and eventually they met with the Russian veterans. I do not know if you could imagine what it felt like to witness such a broad gesture of reconciliation. Until the very end of my political career I will fight for such signs of goodwill and reconciliation to not be forgotten,” Schroeder-Koepf stated.
The lawmaker also spoke of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who turned 65 on October 7, calling him a very versatile and smart person who is “absolutely responsive to criticism.”
The lawmaker further noted that many people, both in Russia and Germany, feel “nostalgic” about the friendship between the two countries.
“I consider it my absolute duty to fight for reconciliation and maintain the political legacy of Gerhard Schroeder,” she stated.
Schroeder was the last Social Democrat to become German chancellor. He held the office in 1998-2005 and was the SPD leader in 1999-2004. Since 2005, Schroeder has been on the board of Nord Stream AG, a consortium behind the construction of the Baltic gas pipeline. In September, Schroeder became one of the new members of the board of directors of Russia’s energy giant Rosneft, alongside Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak.
Schroeder paid his first visit to Russia as the German Chancellor in 1998, and afterwards made four more trips to the country while in office. He was often criticized by Merkel and by media for his close friendship with Putin, whom Schroeder called a “flawless democrat.”