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Putin grants German ex-chancellor ‘exclusive’ handshake during inauguration in Kremlin (VIDEO)

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was granted a place in the front row of Vladimir Putin’s inauguration ceremony in the Kremlin and received an 'exclusive' handshake from the Russian leader.

Putin was sworn in for his fourth term as president Monday and Schroeder was among the guests of honor. He was one of just three people Putin shook hands with after taking the oath – along with Dmitry Medvedev, the chair of the Russian government, and Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

READ MORE: Putin rides in new, long-rumored state car at inauguration ceremony (VIDEO, PHOTO)

During Schroder’s time in office, he was a strong proponent of having closer ties between Germany and Russia. He advocated the creation of a direct underwater pipeline below the Baltic Sea, which would bring Russian natural gas directly to Germany, bypassing transit countries. After retiring as chancellor, he continued his work in the senior management of Nord Stream AG, a joint venture involving Russian and European companies, which operates the pipeline.

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