Gerhard Schroder's Next Big Job

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Putin, at left, and Schröder in Germany last year

After leaving office in November, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder wasted no time sprucing up his résumé. He took a job as consultant with Swiss publishers Ringier in November; he even attended a rural language school in Wales to brush up on his English. Russian, though, might have been a better choice. Only weeks after brokering, as Chancellor, a deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin for a gas pipeline linking the two countries, Schröder earlier this month stepped into the role of project chairman. Set to start piping gas into Europe in 2010, the $5-billion North European Gas Pipeline is controlled...