German leader tells Putin he cannot misquote famous philosopher

Olaf Scholz has accused the Russian president of ‘poaching’ Immanuel Kant and misinterpreting his teachings

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin for quoting iconic German philosopher Immanuel Kant. Speaking on Tuesday at an event marking the 300th anniversary of Kant’s birth, Scholz accused Putin of trying to “poach” the great thinker as well as misrepresenting his ideas.
Kant was born in 1724 in Koenigsberg (present-day Kaliningrad), which belonged to the Kingdom of Prussia before later becoming part of the Russian Empire. The philosopher is famous for his work on ethics, aesthetics and philosophical ontology, and is considered one of the pillars of German classical philosophy.
“Putin doesn’t have the slightest right to quote Kant, yet Putin’s regime remains committed to poaching Kant and his work at almost any cost,” Scholz said at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, as quoted by Die Zeit.
Scholz said Russia’s role in the Ukraine conflict contradicts Kant’s fundamental teachings. He referred to Kant’s words on the interference of states in the affairs of other nations, and defended Kiev’s decision not to engage in peace talks with Moscow. He said Kant believed that forced treaties were not the way to reach ‘perpetual peace’ – a reference to one of Kant’s major works.
Putin has been known to praise and quote Kant, even suggesting in 2013 that the philosopher should be made an official symbol of Kaliningrad Region.
During a meeting with university students in Kaliningrad in January, Putin called Kant “one of the greatest thinkers of both his time and ours,” and said the philosopher’s call “to live by one’s own wits” is as relevant today as ever.

“A country must live by its own wits… This does not mean that we do not care about the interests of others… but we will never allow Russia’s interests to be neglected. In some countries, among our neighbors, this thesis has been forgotten. Many live by someone else’s wits. This will not bring them any good,” Putin stated.
The administration of Kaliningrad Region responded to Scholz’s statement on Tuesday, saying no one has done more than Russia to “perpetuate the memory of the great philosopher and his teachings.”
“Immanuel Kant died as a subject of the Russian crown. It seems to me that this, more than any words of all possible German politicians, shows the position of the great philosopher regarding Russia,” the governor’s press secretary, Dmitry Lyskov, said in a statement.