Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Diplomazia, Russia

GRU si leggeva tranquillamente le email di Frau Merkel. Per anni …

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-05-12.

Gufo_019__

Quando si parla di servizi segreti la fantasia dei più corre a James Bond, ma la realtà è ben diversa.

Un buon numero di quanti seguano questo tipo di problematica vanno a pensare alla Cia americana, oppure alla Fsb russa, nuovo nome del vecchio Kgb. Ma un servizio segreto chiacchierato e noto in tutto il mondo avrebbe ben poco di segreto.

Se per Israele è ben noto il Mossad, la vera intelligence è svolta dal Shin Bet, il cui motto è “scudo invisibile”.

Negli Stati Uniti la Nsa ha il nomignolo di ‘no such agency’: l’agenzia che non esiste.

Stessa cosa per la Russia. Se Fsb e Kgb sono sulla bocca di tutti, il Gru è assolutamente non chiacchierato, nessuno ama parlarne, è una specie di ectoplasma. Il Glavnoe razvedyvatel’noe upravlenie (Главное разведывательное управление), in italiano Direttorato principale per l’informazione, è il servizio informativo delle forze armate russe.

I servizi segreti sono formati da gente pratica: non sono immorali, sono amorali per la ragion di stato.

Gerusalemme. Summit dei servizi segreti degli Usa, Israele e Russia.

* * * * * * *

«Russia’s GRU military intelligence service appears to have got hold of many emails from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s constituency office in a 2015 hack attack on Germany’s parliament»

«A spokesman for the German government had no immediate comment»

«Prosecutors have not commented on the report»

«There was also no immediate comment from Moscow, which has denied previous allegations of hacking abroad»

«Der Spiegel said federal criminal police and the federal cyber agency had been able to partially reconstruct the attack and found that two email inboxes from Merkel’s office had been targeted»

«They contained email correspondence from 2012 to 2015 and Der Spiegel said the hackers appear to have managed to copy both mailboxes to another computer»

«Der Spiegel magazine reported on Friday, without citing its sources.»

* * * * * * *

Nessuno vuole fare dichiarazioni in merito e Mosca si dice stupefatta perché mica sapeva che esistesse il Gru e che qualche russo avesse fatto una birbonata del genere.

Il patetico giornalista di Reuters si rammarica che il Der Spiegel non abbia fatto nomi, cognomi, indirizzi e numeri telefonici della sua fonte di informazioni.

Se il Gru pubblicasse l’elenco dei propri informatori metà dei governanti occidentali finirebbe sulla forca.

*


Russian hackers accessed emails from Merkel’s constituency office: Der Spiegel.

Russia’s GRU military intelligence service appears to have got hold of many emails from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s constituency office in a 2015 hack attack on Germany’s parliament, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Friday, without citing its sources.

A spokesman for the German government had no immediate comment. There was also no immediate comment from Moscow, which has denied previous allegations of hacking abroad.

Der Spiegel said federal criminal police and the federal cyber agency had been able to partially reconstruct the attack and found that two email inboxes from Merkel’s office had been targeted.

They contained email correspondence from 2012 to 2015 and Der Spiegel said the hackers appear to have managed to copy both mailboxes to another computer.

Germany’s Bundestag lower house of parliament discovered its systems had been broken into in May 2015 and concluded that the intrusions had been continuing since at least the beginning of that year. It was impossible to determine what information had been stolen.

The Russian embassy in Berlin was not immediately available for comment.

German federal prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for an individual linked to the 2015 hacking incident, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported this week. Prosecutors have not commented on the report.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Diplomazia, Regno Unito, Unione Europea

Brexit. Iniziano le trattative. Punto della situazione.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-03-04.

Johnson Boris - Improta 001

Della Brexit ci si è a lungo concentrati, riportando via via le continue novità.

Non è un contenzioso solo anglo-europeo: riguarda ed anche molto da vicino l’Italia.

Con marzo inizieranno le trattative tra Regno Unito ed Unione Europea. Da quanto potrebbe sembrare, potrebbero essere molto lunga ed aspra.

Johnson. O accordo solo economico, o a giugno rottura.

Brexit. L’Unione inizia a calare i toni.

Brexit. David Frost, negoziatore di Johnson, ribadisce il no alle corti europee.

Brexit. E moh come fa l’EU a compensare almeno 200 mld al giorno?

Brexit. La fermezza di Johnson lascia nel panico l’Unione Europea.

Johnson, identitario sovranista, non invita la ‘stampa’ dei liberals.

Johnson, identitario sovranista, attacca la Bbc liberal socialista.

*

Riportiamo un lungo articolo della Cnn, che cerca di sintetizzare il punto della situazione, tenendo sempre conto che tale testata è un pilastro dei liberal americani.

«No-deal Brexit is back — and it looks more likely than ever»

«On Monday, the two sides will finally sit down to negotiate what that future relationship looks like. And if the published priorities from London and Brussels are anything to go by, it’s going to be a bloodbath»

«The clock is ticking faster, the political landscape has changed, and no one knows how much good will there is»

«What does the UK want? …. It wants a free trade agreement with the EU similar to the one that Canada enjoys. The EU’s deal with Canada is substantial. It removes the need for most (but not all) tariffs on goods traded between the two. However, it does very little on financial services, the most important sector in the British economy»

«It’s worth remembering that the UK and EU currently trade with zero tariffs and close to zero tariff barriers»

«Because more than trade, what Prime Minister Boris Johnson really wants is to guarantee the UK’s independence from Brussels»

«Where the two sides really disagree is on the pre-conditions for any deal»

«And it’s more of a political row than anything else.»

«Which sounds awfully chummy, until you realize that those areas of sovereignty somewhat cut across the EU’s priorities»

«”The EU’s Common Fisheries Policy has wrecked our fishing industry.”»

«The same could be said in French fishing communities if the EU fails to reach an agreement on how much access French fishermen have to British waters. …. It matters very much to French fishermen because fish have an annoying habit of not respecting borders»

«The second big sticking point is the so-called Level Playing Field»

«If it is to allow UK goods to continue to enter its market free of tariffs, the EU doesn’t want Britain’s departure from the Union to create a competitor on its doorstep that can deviate from EU standards on things like workers’ rights, environmental protections and taxation in ways that make British firms more competitive»

«Which, given the EU’s obsession with rules, is freaking people out in Brussels»

«The UK rejects that any formal oversight is needed»

«the EU is suddenly trying to squeeze you on a trade deal and force the UK to hand over some of its independence»

«The fact that Johnson has a parliamentary majority of more than 80, whatever he decides means that Brussels is negotiating with a man who will follow through on his words»

«As things stand, neither side’s position is acceptable to the other»

* * * * * * *

In effetti, il problema della Brexit è politico, non economico.

Il Regno Unito non intende cedere sulla propria sovranità, mentre l’Unione Europea pone questo come prerequisito ad ogni trattativa.

*


No-deal Brexit is back — and it looks more likely than ever.

The United Kingdom left the European Union on January 31. The world has since been mercifully quiet on the matter, and you’d be forgiven for assuming Brexit was over.

Wishful thinking. The UK is not yet a month into its “transition period” with the EU, during which the country continues to play by EU rules while a future relationship is negotiated. That period ends on December 31.

On Monday, the two sides will finally sit down to negotiate what that future relationship looks like. And if the published priorities from London and Brussels are anything to go by, it’s going to be a bloodbath.

While both want a free trade agreement and close alignment, they also believe that the other is trying to suddenly change the rules of engagement.

Ruptures between the EU and UK are nothing new in Brexit, but this time it’s a little different. The clock is ticking faster, the political landscape has changed, and no one knows how much good will there is. Unless a major breakthrough or concession happens in the coming weeks, it’s hard to see how this concludes any way other than the UK’s transition period ending with no formal deal.

What does the UK want?

On paper, the UK’s goals are straightforward. It wants a free trade agreement with the EU similar to the one that Canada enjoys. The EU’s deal with Canada is substantial. It removes the need for most (but not all) tariffs on goods traded between the two. However, it does very little on financial services, the most important sector in the British economy.

It’s worth remembering that the UK and EU currently trade with zero tariffs and close to zero tariff barriers, so whatever trade deal is reached is still ultimately a question of how much friction will exist, which is a highly unorthodox starting point in trade talks.

This, however, is what the UK wants. Why? Because more than trade, what Prime Minister Boris Johnson really wants is to guarantee the UK’s independence from Brussels.

Sticking points

This is where things could get nasty. The EU also wants a trade deal with the UK and is entirely happy with it being a Canada-style deal. Where the two sides really disagree is on the pre-conditions for any deal. And it’s more of a political row than anything else.

“While there are clearly disagreements when it comes to the EU’s preconditions for negotiating a trade deal — particularly over fish, the role of the European Court of Justice, and the exact nature of the level playing field requirements — when it comes to what the future economic partnership actually looks like, the EU and UK really aren’t that far apart,” says the Centre for European Reform’s Samuel Lowe.

The 541-page Withdrawal Agreement signed off last autumn was accompanied by a 31-page document known as the Political Declaration. In it, the two sides talk of their mutual desire for a comprehensive trade deal, close cooperation on standards ranging from environmental to workers’ rights, and an acknowledgment that geography and history make the relationship unique. Both sides agreed this must be done in a way that respects the EU’s internal priorities, while also respecting the UK’s sovereignty.

Which sounds awfully chummy, until you realize that those areas of sovereignty somewhat cut across the EU’s priorities. And this means that before talks have even started, the familiar blame game between Brussels and London is in full force.

“Now we have both sides’ formal starting positions in this next round of talks, we can see that there are a substantial number of basic incompatibilities,” says Simon Usherwood, Professor in Politics at the University of Surrey.

Fish bones of contention

Let’s start with fish. Despite its relatively small economic importance in the grand scheme of things, there is a romantic idea of fishing communities that resonates with some European voters.

In the UK, the argument goes something like, “The EU’s Common Fisheries Policy has wrecked our fishing industry.” The same could be said in French fishing communities if the EU fails to reach an agreement on how much access French fishermen have to British waters. It matters very much to French fishermen because fish have an annoying habit of not respecting borders. And in elections, romantic arguments can become very powerful.

“Fisheries is a big problem, as the EU want to keep much of the effect of the Common Fisheries Policy, if not the policy itself, while the UK want a much looser arrangement,” says Usherwood. “Given how much both sides have laid weight on what is actually an economically very small sector, this will make it all the more difficult to resolve.”

The second big sticking point is the so-called Level Playing Field. If it is to allow UK goods to continue to enter its market free of tariffs, the EU doesn’t want Britain’s departure from the Union to create a competitor on its doorstep that can deviate from EU standards on things like workers’ rights, environmental protections and taxation in ways that make British firms more competitive.

The UK agrees, as per the Withdrawal Agreement, that this is the best outcome. However, it seems to think that the agreement to do so should be more of a gentlemen’s agreement than something formally locked in place. Which, given the EU’s obsession with rules, is freaking people out in Brussels.

The UK rejects that any formal oversight is needed. The EU believes that this can only be achieved with “sufficient guarantees for a level playing field so as to uphold corresponding high levels of protection over time” in areas ranging from state aid to competition law.

If you’re sitting in Brussels, the UK is breaking away from what it knew was going to have to be a formal agreement. If you’re in Downing Street, the EU is suddenly trying to squeeze you on a trade deal and force the UK to hand over some of its independence. As things stand, neither side’s position is acceptable to the other.

There are numerous other areas of disagreement, from the role that EU courts will play in the UK’s legal system (the UK says none, the EU says some) and cooperation on Europe’s security policy.

A delicate power balance

As difficult as this all seems, there are two ways of looking at it. On the one hand, these red lines can’t be moved and we will never get trade talks. On the other, it shows where both sides have room to negotiate. And looking at it from London, Johnson’s domestic position is arguably securer than his political counterparts in France, Germany, Italy and Dublin. Which gives him political capital at home.

And political stability matters when it comes to talking to Europe. The fact that Johnson has a parliamentary majority of more than 80, whatever he decides means that Brussels is negotiating with a man who will follow through on his words.

This could mean that he powers ahead with a hard Brexit, sure. But there is also a world in which Johnson moves closer to Brussels and uses his personal charm to sell a deal to Brexiteers. After all, he managed to shove what was in large part Theresa May’s Brexit deal down their throats last year, lubricated with sufficient champagne that they couldn’t help but swallow.

While EU officials accept that Johnson’s strength at home also gives him power at the negotiating table, they remain confident that the power of 27 versus one and the potential for no deal doing untold havoc to the British economy means Johnson will use his domestic power to take the less risky option and move closer to Europe.

But that assumes Johnson actually wants to move this time around. Last autumn, Johnson was working to alter a deal agreed by his predecessor that in some respects bought him time to negotiate a harder Brexit, if that’s what he wanted. The trouble is, no one really knows what he wants. Is this all a strategy of brinksmanship in the hopes Brussels will blink? Or does Johnson really value sovereignty over potential economic turmoil?

“As so often, this looks like an exercise in making it up as you go along, without a clear strategic objective in mind, let alone a cunning plan,” says Usherwood.

Which all makes for an exciting political story. It’s just a shame that one man’s gamble speaks for a nation of more than 66 million people.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Diplomazia, Unione Europea

Turkia convoglia migranti in Grecia. Ne ha 950,000.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-02-28.

Mare Egeo

«Turchia non fermerà più i migranti che vogliono andare in Europa»

«Secondo fonti governative riportate da media locali, si tratterebbe di un’iniziativa di fatto presa probabilmente come reazione al mancato sostegno che Ankara lamenta a Idlib, dove almeno 22 suoi soldati sono stati uccisi stasera in un raid aereo siriano e quasi un milione di nuovi profughi sono fuggiti verso i suoi confini. In concreto, sarebbe stato ordinato alla guardia costiera e alla polizia alle frontiere terrestri di lasciar passare senza controlli eventuali rifugiati siriani»

«Sono 950mila i civili siriani sfollati nella regione nord-occidentale di Idlib: lo riferisce l’Ufficio Onu per il coordinamento umanitario (Ocha), nel suo ultimo aggiornamento sulla situazione nella martoriata regione stretta tra l’offensiva russo-governativa e il confine turco»

«Ocha precisa che gli sfollati dal 1 dicembre a oggi sono 948mila»

«Gli Stati Uniti chiedono alla Siria e alla Russia di fermare “l’odiosa offensiva” contro le forze turche. “Noi siamo con il nostro alleato della Nato, la Turchia, e la sosterremo”, ha affermato un portavoce del Dipartimento di stato Usa»

* * * * * * *

L’Unione Europea è tetragona.

Grecia. Rivolta armata contro immigrati e centri di raccolta.

Nessuna trattativa con la Turkia fino a tanto che questa non accetti la Weltanschauung liberal socialista.

È un modo sui generis di concepire i rapporti internazionali.

Ci si prepari quindi alla risposta turca.

*


Turchia non fermerà migranti verso Ue

Lo ha detto un alto funzionario turco dopo raid in nord Siria.

ISTANBUL, 28 FEB – Turchia non fermerà più i migranti che vogliono andare in Europa. Lo ha detto un alto funzionario turco dopo i raid nel nord della Siria che hanno ucciso 33 soldati turchi. “Non chiuderemo più i nostri confini ai rifugiati che vogliono andare in Europa”, ha detto un alto funzionario turco che è voluto rimanere anonimo. La decisione, ha rivelato, è stata presa nella notte durante un consiglio di sicurezza straordinario presieduto dal presidente Rece Tayyip Erdogan. Secondo i media turchi, stamattina gruppi di migranti si stanno dirigendo verso il confine con la Grecia, nell’ovest della Turchia.

*


Escalation in Siria, strage di soldati turchi a Idlib. Primi profughi verso confine greco da Turchia

Erdogan pronto a chiamare la Nato, vacilla l’intesa con Putin.

Primi gruppi di alcune decine di profughi si stanno dirigendo a piedi dalla Turchia verso il confine con la Grecia, dopo che Ankara ha deciso ieri sera di aprire di fatto la frontiera in risposta al mancato sostegno occidentale che lamenta a Idlib contro le forze governative siriane. Lo riferiscono le tv locali, mostrando le immagini di persone in cammino sul ciglio della strada, tra cui donne e bambini.

Secondo l’agenzia Dogan, sarebbero circa 300 i migranti siriani, iracheni e iraniani giunti stamani nella provincia frontaliera turca di Edirne. Il loro passaggio non sarebbe al momento consentito attraverso il valico di frontiera ufficiale di Pazarkule, ma secondo le testimonianze di alcuni di loro non verrebbe più ostacolato l’attraversamento dalle aree rurali e lungo il fiume Evros, confine naturale tra Turchia e Grecia. Le immagini delle tv mostrano inoltre diversi bus e altri mezzi organizzati a Istanbul per condurre gruppi di migranti verso il confine, distante circa 250 chilometri. Secondo fonti di Ankara, è stata data indicazione alle polizia di frontiera di ignorare di fatto il passaggio dei profughi, come anche alla guardia costiera di non bloccare più i natanti in partenza dalla costa egea verso le isole greche.
Sono 950mila i civili siriani sfollati nella regione nord-occidentale di Idlib: lo riferisce l’Ufficio Onu per il coordinamento umanitario (Ocha), nel suo ultimo aggiornamento sulla situazione nella martoriata regione stretta tra l’offensiva russo-governativa e il confine turco. Ocha precisa che gli sfollati dal 1 dicembre a oggi sono 948mila. E che di questi 569mila sono minori, 195mila sono donne. Donne e bambini compongono l’81% dell’intera comunità di sfollati siriani a Idlib.

“La comunità internazionale deve agire per proteggere i civili e imporre una no-fly zone” sulla regione di Idlib nel nord-ovest della Siria. Lo scrive su Twitter il capo della comunicazione della presidenza turca, Fahrettin Altun, dopo l’uccisione ieri sera di almeno 33 soldati di Ankara in un raid attribuito all’aviazione di Damasco. “Una ripetizione dei genocidi del passato come in Ruanda e Bosnia non può essere permessa a Idlib”, ha aggiunto.

Gli Stati Uniti chiedono alla Siria e alla Russia di fermare “l’odiosa offensiva” contro le forze turche. “Noi siamo con il nostro alleato della Nato, la Turchia, e la sosterremo”, ha affermato un portavoce del Dipartimento di stato Usa.
Drammatica escalation militare a Idlib, la regione del nord-ovest della Siria dove da settimane sono in corso duri scontri tra le forze governative appoggiate dalla Russia e le milizie ribelli sostenute dalla Turchia. Un raid aereo che Ankara attribuisce all’esercito di Bashar al Assad ha provocato la morte di almeno 29 soldati turchi. Ma il bilancio potrebbe rivelarsi molto più grave, perché numerosi sono i militari portati d’urgenza negli ospedali turchi appena oltre il confine. Diversi di loro rischiano la vita, secondo il prefetto locale. L’Osservatorio siriano per i diritti umani fissa il bilancio ad almeno 37 soldati morti. Di certo si tratta di una delle più gravi perdite degli ultimi anni per le forze armate di Ankara in un singolo attacco.

Che la situazione sia ritenuta grave lo conferma il Consiglio di sicurezza nazionale convocato d’urgenza per due ore dal presidente Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Il ministro degli Esteri Mevlut Cavusoglu ha avuto in serata un colloquio telefonico con il segretario generale della Nato Jens Stoltenberg per discutere delle possibili misure da prendere nel quadro dell’Alleanza, cui Ankara potrebbe ora chiedere il sostegno sul terreno. E anche gli Usa si muovono. Il senatore repubblicano Lindsay Graham, influente sostenitore del presidente Donald Trump, ha chiesto un intervento immediato per garantire una no-fly zone nell’area degli scontri, mentre il ministro della Difesa turco Hulusi Akar aveva affrontato poco prima i risvolti di una situazione già esplosiva con il suo omologo americano Mark Esper. Ankara intanto replica alla notizia dei soldati uccisi diffondendo un enorme bilancio di presunte vittime tra le forze di Assad.

L’esercito ha rivendicato  di aver “neutralizzato” (cioè ucciso o ferito) in 17 giorni di scontri almeno 1.709 soldati delle truppe governative siriane, distruggendo inoltre 55 tank, 3 elicotteri, 18 mezzi blindati, 29 obici, 21 mezzi militari e diversi depositi di armi e munizioni del regime. In ballo in questa crisi, che ha già provocato un milione di sfollati, non c’è solo la temuta deflagrazione di un nuovo fronte della guerra in Siria, alla vigilia del nono anniversario del suo inizio, ma anche l’alleanza strategica tra Turchia e Russia. Proprio stasera si è concluso un nuovo round di colloqui tra i due Paesi in cerca di un accordo. Mentre il governo di Ankara insiste per un rispetto del cessate il fuoco e dei confini stabiliti dall’accordo di Sochi tra Erdogan e Vladimir Putin nel settembre 2018, escludendo di arretrare i suoi avamposti militari, Mosca continua a sostenere l’offensiva di Damasco contro i “terroristi” ribelli, tra cui diversi gruppi jihadisti. Il summit che Erdogan voleva organizzare la prossima settimana a Istanbul per mettere a posto le cose con Putin, Angela Merkel ed Emmanuel Macron è saltato, e per ora non c’è conferma da parte del Cremlino neppure di un bilaterale tra i leader. Segnale questo di una distanza troppo forte per poter essere colmata nel solito faccia a faccia tra “amici”. 

Intanto, la Turchia avrebbe deciso di non bloccare più alle sue frontiere i rifugiati siriani che intendano recarsi in Europa. Secondo fonti governative riportate da media locali, si tratterebbe di un’iniziativa di fatto presa probabilmente come reazione al mancato sostegno che Ankara lamenta a Idlib, dove almeno 22 suoi soldati sono stati uccisi stasera in un raid aereo siriano e quasi un milione di nuovi profughi sono fuggiti verso i suoi confini. In concreto, sarebbe stato ordinato alla guardia costiera e alla polizia alle frontiere terrestri di lasciar passare senza controlli eventuali rifugiati siriani. Non c’è al momento alcuna conferma ufficiale da parte delle autorità di Ankara. Un’iniziativa del genere era stata ripetutamente minacciata in passato dal presidente Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Pubblicato in: Diplomazia, Putin, Russia

Putin. Avrebbe sostituito Vladislav Surkov con Sergei Kiriyenko.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-02-27.

Lubjanka, Moscow 001

La struttura dei centri di potere russi sembrerebbe essere mutata, silenziosamente: verosimilmente questo rimaneggiamento potrebbe preludere ad un cambio di impostazione strategica della politica interna ed estera russa.

Putin avrebbe sostituito Vladislav Surkov con Sergei Kiriyenko.

«Who is Vladislav Surkov?»

«The secretive strategist was known as the grey cardinal in Russia due to his perceived influence on the president behind the scenes»

«As first deputy head of the Kremlin administration, Mr Surkov oversaw political parties in parliament and electoral campaigns that delivered victory for Mr Putin»

«But his influence began to wane in 2011, when he was made a deputy prime minister»

«In 2013, he was given the responsibility of overseeing Russia’s ties with Ukraine and other post-Soviet countries»

«Moscow annexed Ukraine’s southern Crimea peninsula in 2014 and supported Russian-speaking separatists in Ukraine’s east»

«There was a time, at the height of his powers, when nothing could happen in Russian politics without the hand of Vladislav Surkov being in some way detected behind the scenes»

«He controlled political parties in the Duma, and pro-Putin youth groups on the streets. He supported artists who opposed the Kremlin’s policies; indeed, many suspected he controlled the political opposition too»

«His first fall from grace came during mass protests against Mr Putin’s rule in 2011-12. His air of omnipotence was so complete, his inability to control the streets looked to many like failure, or worse: treachery»

«But this isn’t the first time Mr Surkov has been sacked. It may not be the last»

«The Kremlin did not make it clear whether Mr Surkov would be given a new position»

«He controlled political parties in the Duma, and pro-Putin youth groups on the streets. He supported artists who opposed the Kremlin’s policies; indeed, many suspected he controlled the political opposition too»

«Who is Sergei Kiriyenko?»

«Sergey Vladilenovich Kiriyenko is a Russian politician. He serves as the First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration of Russia since 5 October 2016. Previously he served as the 30th Prime Minister of Russia from 23 March to 23 August 1998 under President Boris Yeltsin. Between 2005 and 2016 he was the head of Rosatom, the state nuclear energy corporation.

Kiriyenko was the youngest Prime Minister of Russia, taking the post at the age of 35 years. ….

Kiriyenko was appointed to head Rosatom, the Federal Atomic Energy Agency, on November 30, 2005. He is also chairman of the board of directors of the vertically integrated Atomenergoprom nuclear company ….

For his work in Rosatom Kirienko was awarded by a confidential decree a Hero of Russia honorary title»

* * * * * * *

Ogni capo di stato o di governo ha una sua propria eminenza grigia.

Sono persone che amano una quasi ossessiva riservatezza e che aborriscono ruoli che possano metterli in pubblica evidenza. Questo circospetto riserbo è proprio la loro forza, perché consente loro un margine di manovra altrimenti impossibile. Quasi invariabilmente infatti l’eminenza grigia può svolgere il suo compito al di fuori di ogni schema prefissato, garantendosi in questa maniera delle possibilità operative altrimenti impossibili. La sua comunione di vedute e la sua vicinanza ed influenza con il boss lo rendono interlocutore finale quanto potente. Non solo: il capo può sempre smentirlo, senza mai dover perdere la faccia.

Questa mutazione sembrerebbe preludere a significative variazioni della politica interna ed estera della Russia.

*


Lo strano caso di come Putin ha licenziato la sua eminenza grigia

Vladislav Surkov è un nome che non dice molto a chi non si occupa di Russia e di Cremlino.

Eppure se il potere in Russia è così come lo vediamo oggi, lo si deve a lui. E per questo il suo licenziamento da parte di Vladimir Putin è diventato una notizia. Non solo e non tanto perchè fino a ieri era il negoziatore chiave di Mosca sui dossier ucraini.

Surkov è un personaggio leggendario nella politica russa. È riuscito a lavorare come curatore della politica interna sotto tre presidenti: Boris Eltsin, Vladimir Putin e Dmitry Medvedev. Mai in primo piano, eppure sempre nel centro dell’azione. Colui che ha inventato il termine “democrazia sovrana” o “gestita”, ovvero la macchina politica che ha permesso a Putin di rimanere in sella per oltre 20 anni. Come sottolineato da lui stesso nel 2019, “il putinismo è un trucco di vita politica globale, un metodo di governo ben funzionante”.

Cosa andrà a fare ora?

E soprattutto il suo licenziamento è reale? Molti ci credono: un cambio deciso della politica di Mosca nei confronti di Kiev. Per altri ormai è il turno di Sergei Kiriyenko che sta diventando silenziosamente una figura sempre più influente. Altri parlano di un posto importante nell’impero Gazprom Media o in consiglio di Sicurezza. Per la verità il fatto che Vladislav Surkov non abbia più intenzione di lavorare al Cremlino, era già diventato noto il 25 gennaio. E potrebbe essere anche un’altra mossa del più sapiente dei prestigiatori, che come noto amano soprattutto le ombre.

*


Vladislav Surkov: Russia’s Putin dismisses secretive adviser

Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed one of his closest advisers, Vladislav Surkov.

The secretive strategist was known as the grey cardinal in Russia due to his perceived influence on the president behind the scenes.

He was widely seen as an aide who helped Mr Putin cement his hold on power.

Mr Surkov oversaw policy towards Ukraine, but was recently relieved of some of that responsibility.

Dmitry Kozak, a political veteran and close ally of the president, took over the Ukraine role earlier this month.

The Kremlin did not make it clear whether Mr Surkov would be given a new position.

A statement on its website also gave no indication as to why he had been dismissed.

——-

This may not be the last we hear of Surkov

Gabriel Gatehouse, international editor, BBC Newsnight

There was a time, at the height of his powers, when nothing could happen in Russian politics without the hand of Vladislav Surkov being in some way detected behind the scenes.

He controlled political parties in the Duma, and pro-Putin youth groups on the streets. He supported artists who opposed the Kremlin’s policies; indeed, many suspected he controlled the political opposition too.

By turns erudite and irascible, he drew on a wide range of cultural references – from western media theory to Beat poetry and gangster rap – all the while centralising power for himself and his boss.

His first fall from grace came during mass protests against Mr Putin’s rule in 2011-12. His air of omnipotence was so complete, his inability to control the streets looked to many like failure, or worse: treachery.

When he resurfaced, as the man effectively running Russia’s war in eastern Ukraine, those who knew him well sensed a restless man with diminished powers – a “golden cage” was how one former friend described his new role. Now that, too, is gone.

But this isn’t the first time Mr Surkov has been sacked. It may not be the last.

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Who is Vladislav Surkov?

As first deputy head of the Kremlin administration, Mr Surkov oversaw political parties in parliament and electoral campaigns that delivered victory for Mr Putin.

But his influence began to wane in 2011, when he was made a deputy prime minister.

In 2013, he was given the responsibility of overseeing Russia’s ties with Ukraine and other post-Soviet countries.

Moscow annexed Ukraine’s southern Crimea peninsula in 2014 and supported Russian-speaking separatists in Ukraine’s east.

Pubblicato in: Banche Centrali, Devoluzione socialismo, Diplomazia, Medio Oriente

Oro. Schizzato a 1,553.25. Più che paura sembrerebbe terrore.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-01-03. h 16:30.

2020-01-03__Gold 001

Nel gennaio 2019 l’oro era quotato attorno ai 1,200 euro l’oncia.

A giugno le quotazioni erano salite a 1,330.

Oggi sono schizzate da 1,513.38 fino a 1,553.25.

*

Nessuno intende generalizzare alcunché: tuttavia questo è un chiaro segno di quanta tensione vi sia sui mercati a seguito degli eventi politici, i sbocchi dei quali sembrerebbero essere impredicibili.

Di certo, senza forze armate efficienti è impossibile fare la minima politica estera.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Diplomazia

Macron Isolare la Russia fu un errore. Ce li viene a dire adesso….

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2019-08-30.

Macron Merkel Parigi

«Pushing Russia from Europe is a profound strategic error»

*

Mr Macron è uomo poliedrico.

Resta difficile capire cosa realmente voglia.

Se cambiare idea è segno di buon senso, ed anche di onestà, farlo troppe volte di seguito sembrerebbe non conquistarsi le simpatie.

Il tentativo di isolare la Russia non ha esitato in altro che a spingerla sempre più nel blocco eurasiatico aumentandone i rapporti con la Cina.

Ma, volenti o nolenti, la Russia è una superpotenza mondiale, con la quale alla fine ci si deve pur sempre sedere a tavolino, parlarsi e cercare accordi duraturi.

Da questo punto di vista la scelta delle sanzioni è stata un grosso essere strategico.

Ma, forse, la motivazione etica e morale ha costituito l’elemento più irritante, difficile da essere dimenticato.


EU Observer. 2019-08-30. Macron: isolating Russia would be profound error

“Pushing Russia from Europe is a profound strategic error,” president Emmanuel Macron told French diplomats on Tuesday following the G7 summit, The Moscow Times reports. Macron also said that “the European continent will never be stable, will never be secure, if we don’t pacify and clarify our relations with Russia.” However, he added that it is not “in our interest to be weak vis-a-vis Russia, to forget our disagreements.”

Pubblicato in: Diplomazia, Russia, Stati Uniti

Mondo che cambia. Il caso del sen Ron Johnson e Mr Putin.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2019-08-29.

Washington. White House. 001

I tempi stanno mutando a grande velocità.

Dalla fine della guerra mondiale i membri del Congresso americano sono abituati a poter viaggiare liberamente in tutto il mondo, entrando anche nei paesi che avessero criticato aspramente, emettendone sentenze non solo politiche ma anche morali.

Erano anche abituati ad intrattenere stretti rapporti con i partiti o le fazioni che erano alla opposizione, anche se queste componenti fossero state francamente rivoluzionarie.

Questa costumanza trae origine solo nello sviluppo storico degli eventi, non avendo base alcuna nel diritto internazionale. Era semplicemente il power that be.

I congressisti americani ed, a maggior ragione, i senatori si erano assuefatti al fatto che nessuno avrebbe mai potuto negar loro la possibilità di entrare nei loro confini a piacimento.

Se sicuramente dovevano, anche per gli ovvi motivi diplomatici, richiedere il visto di ingresso, questa era una mera formalità.

Adesso i tempi sembrerebbero essere cambiati.

* * * * * * *

Una decina di giorni or sono Israele ha negato l’ingresso a due congressiste americane.

Israele nega l’ingresso a due congressiste Usa.

«Israel is blocking two US Democratic lawmakers, who are prominent critics of the Israeli government, from visiting»

«Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib were due to visit the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem next week»

«Both have supported the boycott movement against Israel, but Israeli law allows supporters of the campaign to be banned from visiting»

«Israeli law blocks entrance visas to any foreigner who calls for any type of boycott that targets Israel – either economic, cultural or academic. The law attempts to suppress the “boycott, divest, sanction” movement, which has drawn growing support across Europe and the US»

«They also planned to visit Israeli and Palestinian peace activists and travel to Jerusalem and the West Bank cities of Bethlehem, Ramallah and Hebron. The trip to the West Bank was planned by Miftah, an organisation headed by Palestinian peace negotiator Hanan Ashrawi.»

*

Di questi giorni la Russia di Mr Putin ha negato il visto di ingresso al sen Ron Johnson, repubblicano, che aveva in passato criticato pubblicamente il Presidente Russo Vladimir Putin.

Precisiamo subito un fatto.

Nessuno vieta di dissentire dall’operato politico altrui, purché ciò sia fatto in modo consono alla dignità di chi parla ed a quella di chi dovrebbe ricevere il messaggio. In questo, la fraseologia diplomatica sarebbe fonte preziosa del galateo che regola i rapporti internazionali. Poi, una cosa sono le critiche, sia pure molto dure, fatte nell’esercizio nelle proprie funzioni in parlamento, un’altra se esternate in diverse situazioni.

Molti eletti dovrebbero leggersi con cura i comunicati di Mr Xi, che sono testi accurati di pacatezza: ferma, fermissima, ma pacatezza.

*

«A U.S. senator from Wisconsin who has publicly criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that Russia has denied him a visa to visit as part of a congressional delegation»

«Ron Johnson said he had planned to speak with government officials, American businesses and others during his trip»

«The Republican is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation»

«An email to the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., inquiring about the denial bounced back as undeliverable Monday. No one immediately responded to another email sent to a different address for the embassy. Calls to the building couldn’t connect»

«Ron Johnson has spoken in the past of Russia taking “a dark turn” under Putin, and he criticized the Russian president sharply in announcing the visa denial»

«Shaheen has been an outspoken supporter of measures meant to counter Russia’s interference in U.S. elections. The Russian Embassy said at the time that Shaheen’s request was rejected because she is on a black list created in response to U.S. sanctions»

* * * * * *

Si prenda atto che è mutata un’epoca.

Gli occidentali, massimamente congressisti e senatori americani, si sono spesso attribuiti il diritto di emettere giudizi etici e morali su governanti di altri stati. E di averlo fatto in maniera plateale, al limite del provocatorio, spesso con terminologia da angiporto.

Orbene, tale diritto non compete loro ed il resto del mondo sembrerebbe non essere più disposto a tollerarlo.


The Washington Times. 2019-08-27. Sen. Ron Johnson denied Russian visa

MADISON, Wis. — A U.S. senator from Wisconsin who has publicly criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that Russia has denied him a visa to visit as part of a congressional delegation.

Ron Johnson said he had planned to speak with government officials, American businesses and others during his trip. The Republican is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation.

A news release from Johnson’s office didn’t say when he had planned to visit Russia or name the other members of the congressional delegation. Johnson spokesman Aaren Johnson said the trip had been planned for next week and the delegation had planned to visit several countries. He said he was unable to say why Johnson was denied a visa.

An email to the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., inquiring about the denial bounced back as undeliverable Monday. No one immediately responded to another email sent to a different address for the embassy. Calls to the building couldn’t connect.

Ron Johnson has spoken in the past of Russia taking “a dark turn” under Putin, and he criticized the Russian president sharply in announcing the visa denial.

He and fellow Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming were granted visas in 2017 to visit Russia in January 2018 but canceled the trip after another member of their delegation, Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, was denied.

Shaheen has been an outspoken supporter of measures meant to counter Russia’s interference in U.S. elections. The Russian Embassy said at the time that Shaheen’s request was rejected because she is on a black list created in response to U.S. sanctions.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Diplomazia, Senza categoria

Gerhard Schröder. La diplomazia della Realpolitik.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-10-28.

Gas Vignette 014

La differenza che intercorre tra uno statista come Herr Gerhard Schröder ed una lavandaia ai trogoli a sfogare il calore delle vampate post menopausa come Frau Merkel è stridente.

Oltre ad essere stato un grande cancelliere con la netta percezione del futuro e del bene della sua nazione, Herr Gerhard Schröder è un diplomatico nato. Toni sempre smorzati, mai giudizi severi tranne proprio in situazioni che avrebbero fatto perdere la pazienza ad un santo, nessuna ideologia in testa, amico di tutti senza preclusione alcuna.

Non a caso ci siamo occupati più volte di questo personaggio.

Germania. L’ex-cancelliere Spd Schröder nel board della russa Rosneft.

La Germania deve comprendere, non giudicare, la Russia. – Gerhard Schröder

Benediciamo il Cielo che ci ha donato Herr Martin Schulz.

*

Il fatto contingente è semplice.

«Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder made a quiet trip to Ankara a week after Germany’s elections to persuade Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to release the human rights activist Peter Steudtner, according to a report in Der Spiegel magazine»

*

«The initiative for sending the 73-year-old veteran politician came from Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel»

*

«Gabriel appears to have turned to his fellow Social Democrat as the increasingly acrimonious dispute between Germany and Turkey threatened to escalate even further over the summer. In response to criticism from Gabriel, Erdogan used a particularly heated speech in August to ask the foreign minister rhetorically: “Who are you to speak to the president of Turkey? Watch your boundaries!”»

*

«There was a much more conciliatory tone at the secret two-hour meeting between Schröder and Erdogan, during which they reportedly agreed to continue working to resolve the issue of German citizens in custody in Turkey»

*

«Angela Merkel met Schröder on September 1 to discuss and personally approve the diplomatic mission, according to the media reports. The former chancellor requested the meeting to ensure that his successor would give him authority as an emissary for Germany’s government, rather than as a private citizen.»

* * * * * * *

Ricapitoliamo.

Alcuni cittadini tedeschi, attivisti di ong ma sospetti di terrorismo, erano stati arrestati in Turkia, detenuti e rinviati a processo.

La diplomazia tedesca si era mossa con la grazia di un carro armato all’interno di un negozio di baccarat.

Il Ministro degli Esteri tedesco aveva interpellato Mr Erdogan in modo così affabile e cortese che si era sentito rispondere da Mr Erdogan in questa maniera:

«Who are you to speak to the president of Turkey? Watch your boundaries!»

“Chi cribbio credi di essere tu da poter parlare al Presidente della Turkia? Torna nei ranghi!”

*

Diciamo che Mr Erdogan non le ha mandate a dire a Herr Gabriel, noto in Germania con il nomignolo di “grasso neutro“.

Merkel.

Già, in queste situazioni avrebbe dovuto muoversi la Bundeskanzlerin in persona. Ma con il caratterino che si ritrova e la tempesta ormonale da sindrome post climaterica Frau Merkel aveva appena appena finito di riversare su Mr Erdogan ogni tipologia di insulti nota, ivi compreso il fatidico ‘omofobo‘!

*

La diplomazia tedesca è nota nella storia.

Di Herr Martin Schulz manco a parlarne. Se è vero che il 19 marzo 2017 era stato eletto presidente federale del partito socialdemocratico, dopo aver fatto le scarpe ad Herr Gabriel ed averlo trattato come un vecchio straccio da lavar per terra, è anche vero che da dopo le elezioni del 24 settembre è scomparso dalla circolazione, con gran sollievo di tutti.

Quindi la Germania si strizzò le meningi e pensò ad Herr Schröder.

Per Herr Gabriel fu come prendere un mastello di olio di ricino, ma per Frau Merkel fu come aver dovuto unire civilmente una coppia eterosessuale, ambedue simpatizzanti per AfD.

*

Ma Herr Schröder, zitto e quatto, senza suonare nessuna fanfara, si è mosso nel più stretto riserbo diplomatico, ha chiesto, ed ottenuto, un colloquio personale con Mr Erdogan e dopo due ore di amabile conversazione i terroristi tedeschi sono stati rimessi in libertà.

Solo iniziativa autonoma dei giudici, ha sottolineato Mr Erdogan, ma tutti sanno come in qualsiasi parte del mondo i giudici siano telepatici, sempre sintonizzati sulla emittente del potere.

* * * * * * *

Questo è soltanto l’ultimo episodio che dimostra come i capi di stato e delle diplomazie debbano essere aderenti alla Realpolitik. Diplomtici.

Lo ha capito persino Mr Macron:

«I believe in the sovereignty of states, and therefore, just as I don’t accept being lectured on how to govern my country, I don’t lecture others»

Nota.

Fonti solitamente molto bene informate riferirebbero come Mr Schröder avesse sentito preventivamente il parere di Mr Putin, che, da persona sensibile quale è, si sarebbe commosso ed avrebbe anche messo una parola buona con i turki. Questi sono brava gente: si incainano soltanto quando gli si organizza un colpo di stato in casa loro. In questo sono suscettibili.


Handelsblatt. 2017-10-27. Schröder’s Secret Mission to Turkey

A diplomatic mission by the former German chancellor has allowed a jailed human rights campaigner to return to Berlin, but at least 10 other German citizens are still being held.

*

Peter Steudtner embraced colleagues as he walked free from jail, where he has been incarcerated since July 5 on charges of terrorist propaganda, which could be punished by up to 15 years in prison. “We are relieved to return to family and friends,” Mr. Steudtner said. “I am really thankful for everybody who fought for us legally and at the diplomatic level and those who accompanied us in solidarity.”

He may have Gerhard Schröder to thank the most. Thanks to a secret diplomatic mission by the former German chancellor to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the German human rights campaigner and eight other activists were released from prison on bail Thursday at the start of their trial on terrorism-related charges stemming from last year’s failed coup.

The court said Mr. Steudtner, a freelance documentary filmmaker and speaker on human rights, did not have to stay in Turkey until the next scheduled court appearance November 2. He was expected to return later in the day to Berlin, where he lives with his partner and two children.

The release could mark something of a thaw in relations between Germany and Turkey. But with at least 10 other Germans still under arrest and a host of other issues where the two countries don’t see eye-to eye, there is still a long ways to go. “This is not yet a breakthrough,” said Günther Seufert, an expert on Turkey at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.

«“The Turkish government has fulfilled all of its commitments, and we must continue to work to release the other detainees.”» [Sigmar Gabriel, German Foreign Minister]

The release of Mr. Steudtner, a Swedish activist, Ali Gharavi, and seven Turkish citizens followed a trip to Turkey by Mr. Schröder last month at the request of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government. He was chosen because he had warm relations with Mr. Erdogan while he was chancellor between 1998 to 2005. Mr. Schröder sponsored Turkey to start accession talks to join the European Union. Those talks have since foundered as Mr. Erdogan has become increasingly autocratic, ordering the arrest of at least 50,000 people after the coup.

The mission by Mr. Schroder, an elder statesman of the Social Democratic party, was disclosed by Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who is the SDP’s leading politician but leaving government soon after his party’s poor showing in last month’s elections. Mr. Gabriel approached Mr. Schröder for help a week after the elections. In an interview with the magazine Der Spiegel, he called the release a “first sign of a relaxation” in tensions between the two countries but added: “We must continue to work to release the other detainees.”

During his meeting with Mr. Erdogan, Mr. Schröder agreed that the two countries should continue working on a diplomatic solution. Mr. Erdogan reportedly insisted that the release of Mr. Steudtner not give the appearance of a presidential intervention in the court’s procedure.

Although he has been out of office since 2005, Mr. Schröder maintained close relations with Mr. Erdogan, even giving him an award as a European statesman. ”He has kept out of the political dispute between Berlin and Ankara,” said Mr. Seufert of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.

Later in the week, Turkish justice minister Abdülhamit Gül insisted Mr. Schröder’s visit had nothing to do with the release of the suspects. “This story has nothing at all to do with reality,” he said. “Turkish justice is independent and neutral.”

At least 10 other Germans remain under arrest in Turkey on charges related to the coup. Two of them are journalists – Deniz Yücel, the correspondent of German daily newspaper Die Welt, and Mesale Tolu, a freelancer. Although they both have German citizenship, they are being tried as Turkish nationals.

With Mr. Gabriel leaving the government, the politician widely expected to replace him as foreign minister is Cem Özdemir, a ethnic Turk who is a leader of the Green party. Mr. Özdemir said Thursday that there can be no improvement in relations with Turkey until the other German prisoners are released.

The arrests of German citizens in Turkey deeply angered the Merkel government, which warned businesses about the dangers of commerce in Turkey and suggested that it might be unsafe for German tourists, who normally flock to the beaches there to soak up Mediterranean sun. The government was also furious when Ankara requested the arrest of several hundred dissident Turks living in Germany and then refused to allow a delegation of German parliamentarians to visit a NATO base where German troops are stationed.

Mr. Schröder’s secret mission to Turkey may help redeem his standing in Germany, where he has recently become a controversial figure by agreeing to serve as chairman of the board of Rosneft, the state-controlled Russian oil producer, as well as the Nord Stream 2 pipeline which is owned by Gazprom, the Russian energy giant. Both companies are effectively controlled by the Kremlin, and Mr. Schröder was lambasted for appearing to be serving the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whom he is also friendly. The oft-married Mr. Schröder, who is 73, also inflamed public opinion by leaving his German wife, Doris Köpf, for a young South Korean woman.


Deutsche Welle. 2017-10-27. Schröder’s ‘back channel’ helped free Steudtner from Turkey

Gerhard Schröder helped free the human rights activist Peter Steudtner from Turkey, German media report. The former German Chancellor has a history of diplomacy with authoritarian regimes.

*

Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder made a quiet trip to Ankara a week after Germany’s elections to persuade Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to release the human rights activist Peter Steudtner, according to a report in Der Spiegel magazine.

The initiative for sending the 73-year-old veteran politician came from Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, the magazine reported, citing “well-informed circles.” The media group RND and the Süddeutsche Zeitung have also reported Schröder’s intervention.

Gabriel appears to have turned to his fellow Social Democrat as the increasingly acrimonious dispute between Germany and Turkey threatened to escalate even further over the summer. In response to criticism from Gabriel, Erdogan used a particularly heated speech in August to ask the foreign minister rhetorically: “Who are you to speak to the president of Turkey? Watch your boundaries!” 

There was a much more conciliatory tone at the secret two-hour meeting between Schröder and Erdogan, during which they reportedly agreed to continue working to resolve the issue of German citizens in custody in Turkey.

‘Necessary first step’

The 46-year-old Steudtner, an activist who was arrested in Istanbul in July while conducting a workshop to train human rights defenders, was released on Wednesday, the first day of his trial. The charges — collusion with an opposition group that Turkey’s government has named a terrorist organization — were considered absurd by Steudtner’s friends. Ten other human rights activists from the workshop were also on trial, including the head of Amnesty’s Turkish branch, Idil Eser.

Steudtner’s case was apparently the easiest to resolve, though in return Turkey demanded that Germany’s government not interfere publicly in the trial. German authorities believe that Steudtner might have been pardoned or deported home at the end of the trial anyway. Though German politicians queued up to welcome the court’s decision to release him, many underlined that it was no more than a “necessary first step.” Ten other Germans are currently in custody in Turkey on political charges, including the journalist Deniz Yücel, who holds dual Turkish citizenship and was arrested in February.

Angela Merkel met Schröder on September 1 to discuss and personally approve the diplomatic mission, according to the media reports. The former chancellor requested the meeting to ensure that his successor would give him authority as an emissary for Germany’s government, rather than as a private citizen.

It must have been clear to Merkel why her predecessor was a potential diplomatic asset. Schröder harbored a notably warmer political friendship with Erdogan during his tenure than she does, and the Turkish president recently called the former chancellor, who lost his seat in 2005, the last German politician who could be trusted. After all, it was Schröder, along with French President Jacques Chirac, who originally opened the negotiations for Turkey’s accession to the European Union — something that Merkel has only halfheartedly pursued.

Back channel master

Schröder’s back channel prowess has been noted before — particularly when it comes to dealing with another authoritarian government: Russia. The former chancellor is a personal friend of President Vladimir Putin’s and is the chairman of the shareholders’ committee of Nord Stream, the consortium that operates the gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea  and is majority-owned by the Russian state company Gazprom.

That awkward friendship with the Kremlin was brought up during this summer’s election campaign in Germany, when media and politicians took exception to the ex-chancellor’s appointment — by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev — as the chairman of the board of directors of the oil company Rosneft, which is majority-owned by the government. Rosneft’s CEO, Igor Sechin, is still subject to US sanctions for Russia’s meddling in Ukraine.

During a press conference at the height of the scandal this summer, Foreign Minister Gabriel notably defended his fellow Social Democrat, noting that Schröder had helped secure the release of German OSCE military observers who were captured by separatists in eastern Ukraine in 2014.