Along with former Chancellor Angela Merkel, former President Trump, and sitting President Biden, former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder comes in for blame for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Could he and Merkel, Trump and Biden have done more for world-peace if they had been more skeptical of Putin? I suppose they could have, but Western nations don't like to stay on a war-footing, or treat other nations as a threat to world-peace, any more than they have to.
Rather than say "Make love, not war," politicians and diplomats abide by the slogan "Make trade, not war." And Russia offered plenty of good deals for America and Europe. Russia has scads of raw materials. Now Russia want to use that dependence on its raw materials to make it easy for them to invade other countries and get away with it. It's a shame that Putin wants to scuttle good trade-deals, in order to facilitate military exploits.
As Chairman of the Nord-Stream pipeline that delivered natural gas from Russia, Schröder put himself in a difficult situation, As a German, he appeased Putin, just as the British Prime-Minister Neville Chamberlain appeased the Nazi aggressors in Czechoslovakia as the price for "Peace in our time." But no one expected Putin to turn the tables on history and to act as the Russian Hitler, deceiving Western diplomats in the name of territorial acquisitions.
The "Hannover-Moskau" article also says that Schröder decided to reduce military spending in Germany, in order to reassure Putin, and to help the "Energiebezieung," the energy-relationship with Russia. Too bad that the conservative Chancellor Merkel helped that relationship by ending support for nuclear power.
Poor Schröder even had "romantische Erinnerungen", nostalgic ideas about cultivating relations with Russia in the spirit of Willy Brandt's efforts at rapprochement with Russia after World War II.
Criticize the Western leaders all you want. Just remember who started this damn war with Ukraine!!!