Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has purchased a 1,250-square-meter holiday home in Crimea.
According to a report in the Sevastopol Times, Schroeder bought the beachfront property in Crimea's Yalta district last Tuesday for €1.2 million in an all-cash deal. The posh mansion reportedly has seven bedrooms, five bathrooms, and an indoor Olympic-sized swimming pool
Sources close to Schroeder say he intends to spend his summers in Yalta and is unconcerned about the international controversy surrounding Russia’s annexation of the territory from Ukraine last month.
This deal is bound to provoke controversy, however, because Schroeder purchased the home from Crimea’s pro-Russian government, who had earlier seized the property from an ethnic Crimean Tartar family that fled during the Russian invasion.
“What can I say, I got a very good price,” Schroeder told the newspaper when asked about the controversial transaction. “That home is worth at least €2 million, but due to the political circumstances in the region I was able to negotiate a bargain.”
Schroeder led Germany from 1998 until 2005, when he was defeated in an election by Germany’s current Chancellor Angela Merkel. The Social Democrat’s tenure was dominated by his Agenda 2010, a group of liberal economic reforms that provided the foundation for Germany’s current economic boom.
Since leaving office, however, Schroeder has been better known for his close relationship with Vladimir Putin and his role as one of Europe's staunchest defenders of the autocratic Russian regime.
Shortly after stepping down as chancellor in 2005, Schroeder became chairman of Nord Stream AG, a consortium of companies majority owned by Russia’s state-owned Gazprom dedicated to building a pipeline under the Black Sea from Russia to Germany.
The career choice appeared unseemly to many because Schroeder lobbied for the pipeline as chancellor and because it essentially put the former leader of one nation on another nation’s payroll.
The purchase of a refugee’s home in the middle of a geopolitical crisis shows that Schroeder’s ability to put himself before his country has not diminished with age.
“I can’t wait to have Vladimir over,” he said. “The sunsets here are amazing.”