The cosy days when Germany's former chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, publicly called President Putin a "flawless democrat" are now long gone. The new chancellor, Angela Merkel, from the formerly Soviet-dominated East Germany, is generally less impressed. On her first visit to Russia on 16 January she hooked up with present day 'refuseniks' by inviting Russian human rights groups, opposition MPs and church leaders to the German embassy. At the joint press conference with President Putin she also expressed scepticism about the new legislation that...
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