“Please look at Poland and Hungary. Are these still democracies, or are they more and more authoritarian states? Where are the values in foreign policy?”, Gerhard Schroeder, the former German Chancellor, asked in an interview with "Der Spiegel". The SPD politician also stated that contemporary Russia cannot be equated with the USSR and should not be punished with sanctions.
The US ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher, responded in social media to the words of the former German Chancellor about the alleged authoritarianism of Poland.
"I do not agree. Poland has free and fair elections, independent media, freedom to protest without being persecuted and a thriving middle class. What part of that is not democracy?”, she tweeted.
The German politician also referred to the issue of NATO. He stated that it had already fulfilled its mission at the time of the collapse of the USSR, so "it should be dissolved or at least fundamentally reformed."
"This did not happen. New members were admitted and thus the border of the alliance was moved towards Russia," said the politician, claiming that sanctions should not be imposed on Russia despite the fact that, in his opinion, the country exceeded the permissible limits by annexing Crimea in 2014.
Mr Schroeder compared this event to the US intervention in Iraq and said he did not know whether Vladimir Putin should be found guilty of the events in Ukraine.
The reference point for the interview published in the latest issue of ‘Der Spiegel’ was the book “Last Chance. Why a new world architecture is needed”, written by Mr Schroeder along with historian Gregor Schoellgen. The German magazine interviewed the authors.
Gerhard Schroeder was the Chancellor of Germany between 1998 and 2005. After resigning from the office, he became involved in the construction of the Nord Stream gas pipeline. He has been the head of the supervisory board of the Russian oil company Rosneft since 2017.