German Of The Day: Unverbesserlich

That means incorrigible, unreformable, incurable, dyed-in-the-wool.

Take Gazprom Gerd, for instance. Please. The Germans have pretended to be upset by his post-chancellorship antics but have secretely admired him all along, handling him with kid gloves (anyone who stands up to evil US-Amerika is a hero here). Now, with this little Ukraine thing going on, the bill finally has to be paid and everyone’s upset and wondering how they got here. Will there be consequeces for him? Of course not. Gazprom Gerd is Gazprom Gerd, after all.

The former chancellor who became Putin’s man in Germany – On the evening of Dec. 9, 2005, 17 days after Gerhard Schröder left office as chancellor of Germany, he got a call on his cellphone. It was his friend President Vladimir Putin of Russia.

Putin was pressing Schröder to accept an offer to lead the shareholder committee of Nord Stream, a Russian-controlled company in charge of building the first undersea gas pipeline directly connecting Russia and Germany.

“Are you afraid to work for us?” Putin had joked. Schröder might well have been, given the appearance of possible impropriety; the pipeline he was now being asked to head had been agreed to in the final weeks of his chancellorship, with his strong support.

He took the job anyway.

Seventeen years later, the former chancellor, who recounted the events himself in a pair of rare interviews, remains as defiant as ever.

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