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When asked about Schröder, the mood changes

A Ryanair plane on an EU flight is forced to land in Minsk. How should the EU react to such audacity? “Markus Lanz” discussed this question with his guests.

Ex-Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel described the incident as “indeed unbelievable” and spoke of “a show of force against all opposition members – in the middle of Europe”. Now it is up to the EU to act appropriately and let Belarus feel the consequences.

“The EU must do significantly more,” criticized Gabriel. After all, there are possibilities: kicking out ambassadors and withdrawing their own, freezing accounts and talking to the USA about “decoupling from the financial system”, he cited as examples.

He sees the problem of the international community in the fact that there are often disagreements and that the region does not act collectively. “Whenever the oath comes, the Europeans have someone with them who has a short-term other interest and does not take part,” said Gabriel.

“If he were afraid of a European reaction, he would not have done that,” said “Spiegel” editor Markus Feldenkirchen about the ruler Alexander Lukashenko. With regard to the domestic political situation in Belarus, Gabriel was certain: “You won’t do such a mad thing if you don’t have your back to the wall.”

But what about the government critic Roman Protassewitsch, who has been arrested at the airport, and his girlfriend, who has also been arrested? At least 15 years in prison can be expected for the 26-year-old blogger, said the head of the Belarus office of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Jakob Wöllenstein, at Lanz. Because Protassevich was listed as a “terrorist” in Belarus, even the death penalty could “not be ruled out,” said the expert.

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All over Europe, politicians have called for the young couple’s release, so far without success. Russian President Vladimir Putin would probably have more influence over Lukashenko in this regard than the West.

Could Schröder let his relationships play out?

Lanz therefore wanted to know from Gabriel whether one could call former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who is known to have a good connection with Putin and who works for the Russian state company Gazprom.

An “absurd question,” as Gabriel consistently found. The former chancellor is portrayed as a “Russian agent” while he is merely “in the service of a Russian company owned by the state,” said the ex-foreign minister. He also finds it a “very situational way” when Schröder is constantly criticized for his ties to Russia on the one hand and asked to use his relations on the other.

“You have to talk to him about that,” Gabriel finally explained to Lanz when it came to Schröder’s behavior on Russia issues. However, the subject was not off the table. Instead, Lanz raised the question of a connection between Schröder and poor SPD polls.

SPD expert Feldenkirchen spoke of a real “disservice” that the former chancellor had done to his party with his ties to Russia. “He doesn’t give a shit what repercussions it has on the SPD’s election campaign,” said the journalist. “Me too,” Gabriel replied surprisingly. After all, Schröder is no longer a public official.

Gabriel comments on the poor poll results of the SPD

Looking at the SPD’s poor poll results and the assumption that Schröder’s behavior had something to do with it, Gabriel said: “I don’t know whether that harms the party,” and continued: “I would be happy if that were the only reason “.

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Instead, he sees the major problems that the Social Democrats have only been part of the government since 98, with only a brief interruption, and that many have a great desire for something new. In addition, the SPD quarreled with the question: “For which part of society do I want to be there?”

Most recently, both the Union and the SPD recorded harsh losses in surveys. The Greens, however, received an increase in supporters. In the Bundestag election on September 26th, Olaf Scholz is running as a candidate for Chancellor for the Social Democrats. Just like his competitors Armin Laschet (CDU) and Annalena Baerbock (Greens), he recently expressed her horror at Protassevich’s arrest.

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