Valentina Pop, EUObserver
BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday (9 January) accepted the appointment of a pro-Moscow veteran as special coordinator for Russia policy, a concession made to her coalition partner.
Gernot Erler, who will turn 70 this year, is a close ally of Social Democrat leader and foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, himself a pro-Russian politician.
Erler coordinated German-Russian relations in the foreign ministry at the time when Steinmeier was chief of staff to Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
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Merkel caves in on Russia appointment