Gerhard Schröder Elected Chairman of Rosneft

Die Zeit, a German weekly newspaper, reports that former-Chancellor of Germany Gerhard Schröder was elected Chairman of Rosneft, a Russian state-owned energy firm, on September 29. This suggestion drew severe criticisms from numerous directions, as the state-controlled, oil-producing colossus is on the sanctions list of the

European Union following Russia’s annexation of the Crimea in 2014. Schröder has a long-standing history of friendship with Vladimir Putin, and his victory in the chairman’s race was almost certain following his official endorsement by the Russian state.

Current Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Christian Democratic Union described Schroder’s move as “not acceptable.” Moreover, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs Norbert Röttgen stated that such actions should be subject to criticism. He holds that it is unacceptable that Schröder joined a company that is part of Russia’s “power system.” According to the Financial Times, he added that his involvement with Rosneft will only strain German relations with Russia. Schröder told reporters that he is not an advocate of the sanctions against Russia. He further states that it is time for the sanctions to be loosened. In Russia, Schröder’s election as head of Rosneft was looked upon very favourably. Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Nowak considers it “a great step for the reinstitution and cultivation of relations between Russia and Europe, especially Russia and Germany.” At a time of particular strain, it remains to be seen whether this development is going to mark a new era in EU-Russian relations.