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Former German Chancellor Schröder in Stern Attacks German Policy on Russia

Sept. 21, 2017 (EIRNS)—In an interview with Stern, parts of which can be read free on Internet, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder criticizes the deployment of Bundeswehr troops to the Russian border, sanctions, and in general German policy on Russia, which has reversed Willy Brandt’s Ostpolitik approach.

The Bundeswehr presence in the Baltics is not a direct threat to Russia, but it is "a totally false signal to station German troops at the Russian border, because it lacks a feeling for our common history," Schröder said. A contingent of 450 German soldiers are currently part of the NATO "Enhanced Forward Presence" maneuvers in Lithuania.

Schröder also blasts the term "Putin-Versteher" (someone who understands Putin), which is used in a negative sense. "Of course you want to understand Russia and its President," he said. From the Russian standpoint, NATO is building a ring from Turkey through South and Central Europe as far as the Baltic.

"On the basis of our common history, many Russians are disappointed by the German position, especially on sanctions." In his talks, he is often told: "We did help Germany on the reunification." Crimea has been part of Russia since the 18th Century. "My prophecy is that there will be no Russian President who will again decouple Crimea from Russia," as Khrushchov did in 1954.

On the Ostpolitik, Schröder said: "We should not easily jeopardize Willy Brandt’s success." Germany should "not follow U.S. interests in the approach to Russia." The United States is not interested in a strong Russia, but Europe is.