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December 10, 2005
Schroeder's Parachute: Made In Russia

David Kaspar at Medienkritik notices a Bloomberg dispatch that should have Germans in the streets, demanding an explanation from the SPD for years of misguided policy favoring Russian interests over that of their longstanding friendship with the United States. Gerhard Schroedoer, who narrowly lost his position as Chancellor in the last election and the resulting formation of the new German executive, has managed to land on his feet -- working for the Russians on a program then-Chancellor Schroeder approved just three months ago:

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will lead the shareholders committee for a German- Russian gas-pipeline project to pump gas under the Baltic Sea, OAO Gazprom Chief Executive Alexei Miller said today.

State-controlled Gazprom began building the more than 4- billion-euro ($4.7 billion) North European gas pipeline project today in the town of Babaeyvo in Russia's Volodga region, north of Moscow.

The pipeline will allow Gazprom to ship gas directly to Germany, bypassing Poland, Ukraine and Belarus. It will carry 27.5 billion cubic meters of gas a year in 2010 and twice that much by 2012, Miller said. Gazprom will raise gas exports to Europe 4.1 percent to 151 billion cubic meters in 2006 following a 3.1 percent jump this year as demand and prices rise.

Well, kiddies, can we say quid pro quo? Gazprom is a nationalized company, which means they report to Vladimir Putin -- with whom Shroeder negotiated the pact which made the pipeline possible. The Gazprom project, as David notes, creates an even heavier reliance on Russian deliveries of oil, already considered dangerously high and in need of diversification. This negotiation for the project took place while Schroeder and the SPD trailed badly in the polls.

It certainly looks as if Schroeder negotiated himself a sweetheart position with Putin for his retirement, and paid for it with a pipeline from German wallets to Putin's bank accounts. Remember Schroeder's insistence that he would never join Merkel's coalition in any other ministry except the Chancellory? Now we know why -- he had his golden parachute already strapped to his back, and it bears the label, "Made In Russia".

Congratulations, Germany. The entire nation spent years following Schroeder and his anti-American Pied Piper routine, and now the country has awoken in the Merkel era to find out that they got sold out to Russia and Vladimir Putin. Have fun with your new friends.

UPDATE: Don't forget Medienkritik is competing in the 2005 Weblog Awards in the Best European Blog category. I'd put it as a toss-up between them and No Parasan, and the voters so far agree -- but no one covers the critical area of Central Europe like Medienkritik.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 10, 2005 9:13 AM

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