German football club Borussia Dortmund stripped former chancellor Gerhard Schröder of his honorary membership on Wednesday.
The announcement may seem anecdotal but is indicative of the problem that the latter poses for Germany.
Gerhard Schröder, once a champion of “social democracy”, is today a political pariah in his own country.
A week after the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops, the former head of the German government still refuses to condemn the warmongering policy of the Kremlin and his friend Vladimir Putin.
Above all, and unlike the former minister François Fillon, in France, who ended up leaving his positions on the boards of directors of Russian companies, Schröder kept his comfortable attendance fees on the boards of directors of large Russian companies, such as the oil groups Rosneft or TNK-BP.
Next June, he should even be appointed to the supervisory board of the gas group Gazprom.
The bond that unites the predecessor of Angela Merkel with the head of the Kremlin is strong.
For the record, “Vladimir Vladimirovitch” helped his friend and his fourth wife, in 2004 and 2006, to adopt two Russian children in Saint Petersburg, his hometown and that of the two bosses of Rosneft and Gazprom.
The ex-chancellor has published a single message on his LinkedIn profile since the start of the conflict.
“The war and the resulting suffering for the Ukrainian people must end as soon as possible.
It is the responsibility of the Russian government” analyzed the former chancellor.
The tutelary figure of the SPD also immediately opposed the sanctions regime targeting Moscow.
"As regards the future, we must ensure that the necessary sanctions do not completely sever the political, economic and civil ties that still exist between Europe and Russia," he said.
"Because these are - despite the current dramatic situation - the basis of a hope that we all have: that a dialogue on peace and security will again be possible on our continent", declared the former leader.
"Feeling of shame"
Since this media release, he has only decided to leave his mandate as vice-president of the supervisory board of the tunnel boring company Herrenknecht AG, which he has held since 2016, because of his anti-Putin positioning.
This lack of reaction is very badly perceived across the Rhine where public opinion has taken up the cause of Ukraine.
“It is unanimous in Germany.
Both the general public and the political class castigate him.
There remains a symbol.
The Germans have already been embarrassed for some time because of his closeness to Putin.
His silence and lack of reaction add to the feeling of shame,” says Jana Hermann, former German editor-in-chief of Vocable magazine.
The Schröder case obviously annoys within the SPD, his historic party.
Some condemned the attitude of the former Chancellor and called on him to drop his duties in the country of the Tsars.
“We have asked Gerhard Schröder to renounce his mandates, because he is thus damaging the reputation of Germany
” indicated the boss of the SPD, Saskia Eksen.
But Chancellor Olaf Scholz himself does not distance himself clearly from his cumbersome mentor.
The latter “speaks only for himself, not for the government”, he declared.
“He is totally out of step with the current government and the new generation that has come to power, analyzes Jana Hermann.
Olaf Scholz cannot openly criticize someone from his own camp.
Behind the scenes, it's different.
According to her: “Schröder defends values to which the Germans no longer adhere.