Manuela Schwesig must fear for her office after mistakes in the Russian course

North Flow 2
First resignation requests: Manuela Schwesig is in trouble because of Russia of course

At the beginning of April, Manuela Schwesig again admitted errors in her behavior towards Russia in the Land parliament.

© Jens Buttner / DPA

The headwind for Manuela Schwesig in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is getting tougher. The Head of State needs explanations because of her Russian background. Now she has to worry about losing her job.

In September, Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig led the Social Democrats to resounding success in state elections in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, cementing power in the state and cementing her own position in the leadership of the SPD. A good six months and several thousand Russian shells and rockets hitting Ukraine later, Schwesig needs an explanation. The smile of victory disappeared from Schwesig’s face.

“Putin’s assistant”, “Gazprom’s henchman” – these are just two of the many titles recently devoted to the 47-year-old. Schwerin’s prime minister, who until recently seemed unassailable, must now fear for her position as state chancellery. Calls for his resignation have also been made. The former Federal Minister for Family Affairs is now rewarded for her very accommodating behavior towards Russia for a long time. She had vehemently defended the construction of the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea gas pipeline, through which Russian gas was to be transported to Germany bypassing Ukraine, against all criticism at home and abroad. But not only verbally, she sided with Russia.

Protective hand on the pipeline

A foundation was created in early 2021 to help complete the pipeline despite threats of US sanctions. As documents that have become public show, Nord Stream 2 AG, with Russian state-owned Gazprom as majority shareholder, was directly involved in the preparations for the foundation. Interior Minister Christian Level (SPD) admits that as Minister of Energy at the time he was in regular contact with Nord Stream 2 while working on the statutes and incorporating the wishes of the business.

Schwesig also admitted there had been talks, but dismissed reports that Nord Stream 2 had been tasked with founding the foundation. “We made our own decisions in the state government and state parliament and no one else.” The initiative for the foundation came from the level. The opposition now suspects that the minister could become the “sacrificed pawn”.

According to documents from the State Chancellery, cited by the “Welt am Sonntag” and which are also available to the dpa, there was also a coordinated “argumentation document” on the foundation. The statement that former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD) started the foundation is contradicted. But there have been several meetings between Schwesig and Schröder, a longtime confidant of Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin with positions in Russian state-owned companies.

Manuela Schwesig’s belated admission of mistakes

In mid-January, when Russian troops were already on the border with Ukraine, Schwesig was still campaigning for Nord Stream 2: “I hope for a quick and rule-of-law procedure so that the line can go into service,” she said. the Affairs of the German Eastern Committee. Shortly thereafter, the federal government halted the approval process.

Like many other politicians, Schwesig had to admit that his strategy failed at this stage at the latest. “With today’s knowledge, sticking to Nord Stream 2 and setting up the climate and environment foundation was a mistake. A mistake I also made,” admitted the SPD politician in front of the state parliament. But the opposition continues to accuse him of continuing to cooperate with Russia despite all the warnings.

At the instigation of the CDU, FDP and the Greens, a commission of inquiry is being set up in the state parliament, which will deal in detail with the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Foundation for Climate and Environmental Protection from May. The foundation which was mainly intended to promote climate projects, but at the same time included an economic component managed by Nord Stream, which promoted the completion of the gas pipeline. German environmental aid spoke of a “front organisation” and called Schwesig a “gas lobbyist”.

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The state has donated 200,000 euros for the foundation, 20 million euros for Nord Stream 2. Only a fraction has so far been donated to environmental projects. The government and the foundation’s board are silent on how much money was spent on building the pipeline and whether a ship was also purchased with it. The committee should now shed some light on the matter.

CDU Federal Director Mario Czaja told the “Spiegel”: “The Schwerin investigative committee must now quickly clarify to what extent Manuela Schwesig has been or is still being exploited for the interests of Russia and what consequences must be drawn from it.” A prime minister cannot be a “Putin lobbyist” at the same time.

Next, the role of Schwesig’s predecessor and sponsor, Erwin Sellering, will also be discussed. The SPD politician launched a “Russia Day” in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in 2014, the year Crimea was annexed. He took over as chairman of the foundation just over a year ago — and against Schwesig’s wishes, he’s sticking to the idea of ​​disbanding the foundation. Even that shouldn’t help the head of government’s facial features clear up anytime soon.

Frank Pfaff/tpo

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