Schroeder offers to do PR for Russia: Paper
Moscow, Mar 28: Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is offering to help the Kremlin set up a lobby firm to improve Russia's image in the West, the Kommersant newspaper today said.
Schroeder, under fire at home for business ties with Russia that he established soon after leaving office, is visiting Moscow this week and plans to set out his idea at a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, the daily said.
The former Chancellor will propose that Russian companies fund the lobby firm, which would be based in Germany. He has suggested that former German Defence Minister Volker Ruehe head the firm, the daily said.
Kommersant did not reveal the source of its information. It was not immediately possible to verify the report.
Schroeder built up extensive contacts in Russia when serving as chancellor and enjoys friendly relations with Putin.
Since stepping down after losing an election last autumn, the former German leader has become chairman of a consortium led by Russian gas giant Gazprom, which is building a 6 billion dollars gas export pipeline under the Baltic Sea.
Germany's opposition Free Democrats said Schroeder accepted the Gazprom job too soon after leaving office. Schroeder has sought a court injunction against FDP leader Guido Westerwelle to prevent him from repeating the criticism.