At Putin’s inauguration, former German chancellor Schroeder got a front-row spot. The Kremlin was sending a message.

German chancellor-turned-Russian energy lobbyist Gerhard Schroeder had a front-row seat at Putin’s inauguration on Monday, and he was one of just three people in the audience to shake hands with Putin, the Washington Post reports. The other two were PM Dmitry Medvedev and Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. Schroeder has recently lobbied for Russia’s Nord Stream-2 pipeline project, and he was appointed chairman of the board of Rosneft. His appearance at the Kremlin for Putin’s inauguration came as Berlin was criticizing Moscow for mass arrests of protesters over the weekend.


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