Chancellor Olaf Scholz interrupts his vacation and looks at a turbine at Siemens. It was a demonstration against Russia – and a clear answer to Gerhard Schröder.

No, the Chancellor does not mention the name of this tiresome old man, who begins with “Sch” and ends with “röder”. Not even when he was specifically asked on Wednesday morning. But as an incumbent political number one, how do you deal with a former political number one who has appointed himself Putin ambassador?

As chancellor you meet a lot of people. Olaf Scholz will soon be visiting his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau, to whom he is already “extremely grateful” for the delivery of the turbine that is now lying behind Scholz on the light-grey concrete floor, better: rest, because it’s a huge trumpet.

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Trudeau got into a lot of trouble back in Canada because, to please the Germans, he circumvented the sanctions of the West, including Canada, against Russia. Scholz calls what drove Trudeau’s compatriots upset “real leadership”. (In general, Germany’s chancellor is quite fond of Anglo-Saxons from time to time.)

Scholz is the first German head of government to speak English in public. He is also the first German head of government to visit a turbine. And that’s because this fine work of German engineering has become a political issue, which is partly due to this Mr. Schröder.

He said in an interview that the turbine was there because the Siemens company left it there. What the Siemens company denies here in their flagship factory in Mülheim an der Ruhr – flagship factory, because here, where heavy equipment is handled, work should be CO2-free in eight years, which in a way is also an answer to Vladimir Putin is the gas blackmailer.

Schröder says Siemens is to blame for the cut gas supply through the first Nord Stream pipeline. The Chancellor, who wants to “demystify” the debate (why doesn’t he say: disenchant?), contradicts: There are “no longer any reasons” why the Russian gas supply “cannot take place”. Because there it is now in front of everyone, the turbine, which is supposed to be to blame for everything, and “someone just has to say: I want to have it”. By Scholz’s standards, this is an extremely humorous comment, which is why it is accompanied by that famously Smurfy grin.

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So this is the first point on which the incumbent chancellor contradicts his social democratic predecessor. The second: If you want enough gas, you only have to connect the second tube, Nord Stream 2, Schröder said. No, says Scholz, because: “There is enough capacity at Nord Stream 1”. However, this raises the question of why Scholz was such a vehement supporter of Nord Stream 2 until the federal elections, if Nord Stream 1 is enough to supply Germany.

Scholz mentions another point that Schröder “forgot”: stopping gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria through the Yamal pipeline, which starts in Siberia. According to the Chancellor, they “sanctioned” the Russians themselves, which is wrong, but the result is correct – no more gas is flowing through.

Is it actually possible to ignore an ex-Chancellor? Normally maybe, but not when such an ex-chancellor is meeting with those who are waging war against those who are being given weapons. In any case, the traffic light politician Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann reacted. She believes more in Russia’s will to annihilate, which Foreign Minister Lavrov announced to Ukraine, than in the Russian negotiated solution that Schröder claims to have brought with him after his meeting with Putin.

This “negotiated solution” – Moscow keeps Crimea, eastern Ukraine is Swissized, whatever that means, and Ukraine remains militarily neutral – can also be interpreted as follows: Moscow, having come under pressure at the front, now wants to secure it diplomatically , which it has conquered on the battlefield, only to continue marauding after a pause. Then this “negotiated solution” would be an admission of one’s own weakness. In any case, Schröder does not mention a word about Putin’s original goal, the annihilation of Ukraine, the re-Sovietization of Eastern Europe and the de-Americanization of Europe.

Carlo Masala also reacted to Schröder. The Munich military professor calls Schröder’s interview “a disgrace overall”: “I will probably never understand how one can sink so low. Why did Schröder turn down the supervisory board post (at Rosneft)? Not because it’s against German interests, but because he’s afraid of being sanctioned by the EU.”

The incumbent chancellor also said a few other interesting things, which will have an aftermath on Thursday when the Economic Affairs Committee meets for a special session. Namely, that “very many” coal-fired power plants would start operating again. And that it makes “no sense” to take the lignite-fired power plants off the grid as planned. So you could say: Germany’s gas gap leads to Germany’s climate gap.

One last thing about Scholz’s turbine. Germany is helping to move you from Mülheim to Russia. But delivering them also helps Putin.