Vladimir and Angela
Ms. Merkel and Mr. Putin know plenty about each other’s countries. Back in East Germany, where she grew up, Ms. Merkel won prizes in Russian studies and still speaks the language fluently. While stationed in East Germany for five years as a KGB officer, a young Vladimir Putin looked on as the Soviet empire collapsed around him. Source: Handelsblatt
Angela and Connie
Funny way to treat your friends: The now-infamous 2007 incident when Mr. Putin introduced Ms. Merkel to his dog, Connie. Later on Mr. Putin denied he did this on purpose because he knew Ms. Merkel was scared of dogs. “I did not know anything about that,” he told the Bild newspaper. “I showed her my dog because I thought she would like it. I told her so later and apologized.” Source: DPA
Vladimir and Gerhard
Then-German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and Russian President Vladimir Putin go for an evening stroll in Sotchi in 2004. The world leaders are reputed to have a serious "bromance" going on. Mr. Schröder says Germany was Mr. Putin’s gateway to the world and that he has a “very emotional relationship” with the country. Both his daughters went to German schools.
Gerhard and Vladimir
Mr. Putin and Mr. Schröder meeting in St. Petersburg in 2005. Mr. Schröder has come in for criticism for defending his Russian pal and critics suggest that too much of Germany's post-Soviet relationship was based on the friendship between the two. Source: Reuters
Gerhard and Rosneft
Former chancellor, Mr. Schröder announces that he will be taking the job of chairman of Russian state-controlled oil producer, Rosneft, at a shareholder's meeting in St. Petersburg in September 2017. “He has entered history as the most loyal German leader to Russia,” Rosneft chief executive, Igor Sechin, told the meeting. Source: DPA
A 'Reprehensible' Choice
Protestors in Berlin dressed as Mr. Putin and Mr. Schröder in September 2017: They are demonstrating because Mr. Schröder, 73, took up the Rosneft job. The head of Germany's parliamentary foreign affairs committee, Norbert Röttgen, was similarly unhappy, calling the appointment "reprehensible" and saying it would worsen relations between Germany and Russia rather than improve them. Source: DPA
Vladimir and Joachim
Their meeting didn't go so well: Putin with then-German President, Joachim Gauck in Berllin in 2012. After the meeting, word leaked out that Mr. Gauck had spoken freely about his distaste for Mr. Putin’s crackdown on opponents and journalists.
Helmut and Mikhail
It is the way that Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev helped to end the Cold War that still shapes today’s German-Russian relations. Here, the Russian leader meets with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl in the garden of his holiday house in 1990; the group, which includes both country's foreign minsters, discussed German reunification. Source: DPA