Garry Kasparov, interviewed by Spiegel Online (my tr.):
Kasparov: It's a scandal that Putin is providing Schroeder with legitimacy in this way. From now on Putin can point his finger at the West and say: They are just as corrupt as we are. That’s a typical trick of totalitarian rulers in order to justify the corruption and lack of transparency in their own country.
Spiegel: Schroeder’s defenders in Germany say that the whole affair has nothing to do with Putin. They say that it merely concerns a normal business deal between a private individual and the enterprises Gazprom, E.on and BASF, which own the operating consortium of the pipeline.
Kasparov: Are they joking? Everyone knows that Gazprom is Putin’s personal instrument of power. The company is directed from the Kremlin and will therefore never be transparent. It's not altogether clear whether the Kremlin controls Gazprom or whether it's the other way round. It’s the same people.