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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

German Expats Enjoy Election Party




Hundreds of German expatriates braved a damp Sunday evening to gather at their embassy in Moscow to argue, place bets, eat sandwiches and guzzle beer while awaiting results of their nation's historic elections.


Cheers went up as it became evident that Gerhard Schr?der would be Germany's next chancellor, ending Helmut Kohl's 16 years in office.


"Our idea was to get the Germans in Moscow together to share the thrill of election night," said Ernst-J?rg von Studnitz, Bonn's ambassador to Russia.


A change in government in Bonn holds particular significance for Russia because Germany is its largest trading partner. Also Kohl is considered a dependable ally of President Boris Yeltsin, who often refers to him as "my friend Helmut."


But von Studnitz said foreign policy was above party divisions.


"It is another thing to add a strong personal touch, like the friendship between Mr. Kohl and Mr. Yeltsin, but that will probably develop as well, gradually," he said.


Schr?der's Social Democrats are wildly popular with German youth, and some at the embassy on Sunday evening said they hoped he would return the favor of youth support.


"I'm thrilled," said Franz Uebe, a law student from Berlin studying in Moscow. "Young Germans support Schr?der because we hope [his government] will tackle problems facing the youth, such as unemployment and education."


But some disagreed.


"I can't understand this," said one young man working in the Moscow office of a German company. "Even now I consider Kohl the best and most experienced man to lead the country."


And unlike Kohl, who has long been married to the same woman, Schr?der is married now to his fourth wife, he pointed out.


"The last thing we need is a [sex] scandal like they have in America," he said.