Boris Pistorius (German pronunciation: [ˈbɔʁɪs pɪsˈtoːʁiʊs];[2] born 14 March 1960) is a German lawyer and politician. A member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), he has been serving as the Federal Minister of Defence since 19 January 2023 in the Scholz cabinet. He had previously been State Minister for Interior and Sports in the state government of Lower Saxony (Cabinet Weil II) since 2013.[3] He served in the State Parliament of Lower Saxony from 2017, until his position as Federal Minister in 2023.[4]

Boris Pistorius
Pistorius in 2019
Minister of Defence
Assumed office
19 January 2023
ChancellorOlaf Scholz
Preceded byChristine Lambrecht
Minister for Interior and Sports
of Lower Saxony
In office
19 February 2013 – 18 January 2023
Preceded byUwe Schünemann
Succeeded byDaniela Behrens
Lord Mayor of Osnabrück
In office
7 November 2006 – 19 February 2013
  • Burkhard Jasper
  • Karin Jabs-Kiesler
  • Michael Hagedorn
  • Birgit Strangmann
Preceded byHans-Jürgen Fip
Succeeded byWolfgang Griesert
Parliamentary constituencies
Member of the
Landtag of Lower Saxony
for Osnabrück-West
In office
14 November 2017 – 19 January 2023
Preceded byBurkhard Jasper
Succeeded byDaniela Behrens
Personal details
Boris Ludwig Pistorius

(1960-03-14) 14 March 1960 (age 63)
Osnabrück, Lower Saxony, West Germany (now Germany)
Political partySocial Democratic Party (1976–)
Sabine Pistorius
(died 2015)
Domestic partnerDoris Schröder-Köpf[1] (2016–2022)
Alma mater
  • Politician
  • Civil Servant
  • Lawyer
  • Foreign Trade Clerk
WebsiteOfficial website
Military service
Allegiance Germany
Branch/service Bundeswehr
Years of service1980–1981
Unit German Army (Heer) /
Flugabwehrregiment 11

Early life and education Edit

Pistorius was born in Osnabrück, the second son of Ursula Pistorius (née Raabe; 1933–2015) and Ludwig Pistorius (1923–2009).[5] His mother was a member of the Osnabrück city council from 1972 to 1996 and also served as a member of the Landtag of Lower Saxony from 1978 to 1990.[6]

After taking his abitur at the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt Gymnasium[7] in Osnabrück, he was conscripted to military service in the Bundeswehr in 1980[8] before taking up law studies at the University of Münster and Osnabrück University, and also, for a brief period, at the Catholic University of the West.[9]

Early career Edit

Pistorius worked as the personal advisor to State Minister for Interior of Lower Saxony Gerhard Glogowski in government led by Minister-President Gerhard Schröder from 1991 to 1995, and was the deputy head of his office from 1995 to 1996.[9]

Political career Edit

Career in local politics Edit

Pistorius joined the SPD in 1976.[10]

Pistorius was part of the city council from 1996 until 2013 and from 1999 to 2002 he served as second mayor of Osnabrück.[11]

Pistorius served as Mayor of Osnabrück[12] starting his mayoral term on 7 November 2006 winning with 55.5% against Wolfgang Griesert[13] who would later go on to become the Mayor after Pistorius's resignation due to his position at the Lower Saxony government in 2013.[14]

State Minister of the Interior, 2013–2022 Edit

After the Lower Saxony state elections in 2013, Pistorius was sworn in as State Minister of the Interior and Sports at the constituent session of the 17th State Parliament of Lower Saxony on 19 February 2013.

From 2013 to 2017, Pistorius was one of the state's representatives on the German Bundesrat; from 2017, he was an alternate member.[15] In this capacity, he was a member of the German-Russian Friendship Group set up in cooperation with the Russian Federation Council. He was also an alternate member of the German delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, where he was part of the Political Committee, its Sub-Committee on NATO Partnerships and its Sub-Committee on Transatlantic Relations.[16]

During his time in office in state government, Pistorius was widely seen as standing out in his state for his tough stance[17] on Islamist radicalism, terror threats, organized crime and far-right extremism.[18]

Role in national politics Edit

In the negotiations to form a fourth coalition government under Chancellor Angela Merkel's leadership following the 2017 federal elections, Pistorius was part of the working group on internal and legal affairs, led by Thomas de Maizière, Stephan Mayer and Heiko Maas.

In the 2019 SPD leadership election, Pistorius was a candidate for the position as the party's co-chair, together with Saxony State Minister Petra Köpping.[19][20] Köpping and Pistorius came in fifth place, receiving only 14.41% of the vote.

In the negotiations to form a so-called traffic light coalition of the SPD, the Green Party and the Free Democrats (FDP) following the 2021 German elections, Pistorius led his party's delegation in the working group on migration and integration; the co-chairs from the other parties were Luise Amtsberg and Joachim Stamp.[21]

Federal Minister of Defence, 2023–present Edit

Pistorius with US Ambassador to Germany Amy Gutmann in 2023
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius during the playing of the U.S. and German national anthems prior to a bilateral exchange at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. on June 28, 2023

On 17 January 2023, Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that Pistorius would succeed Christine Lambrecht, who resigned on 16 January after numerous political blunders, as Minister of Defence in Chancellor Olaf Scholz's cabinet.[22] This came as a surprise to many political observers, with SPD co-leader Lars Klingbeil and Bundestag Armed Forces Commissioner Eva Högl being floated most often as replacements.[23][24] The appointment was criticized,[25] as it would mean breaking the gender parity Scholz had promised upon the cabinet's formation.[26] A plausible explanation is that in the acute European military crisis many people, also in the Bundeswehr, thought it irresponsible to again appoint somebody without any military experience.[27]

Pistorius was formally appointed by German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier and eventually took the oath of office at the Bundestag on 19 January 2023.

In March 2023, Pistorius participated in the first joint cabinet meeting of the governments of Germany and Japan in Tokyo, chaired by Chancellor Scholz and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.[28]

Other activities Edit

Corporate boards Edit

Non-profit organizations Edit

  • Munich Security Conference, Member of the Advisory Council (since 2023)[31]
  • Business Forum of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, Member of the Political Advisory Board (since 2020)[32]
  • Robert Enke Foundation, Member of the Board of Trustees (since 2017)[33]
  • Aloys & Brigitte Coppenrath Foundation, Member of the Board[34]

Political positions Edit

In 2018, Pistorius suggested that sanctions against Russia should be reviewed.[35]

In 2021, he demanded that Germany order the messaging program Telegram removed from Apple Inc.'s and Google's app stores if it continues to ignore requests to help track down extremist content.[36]

Amid the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Pistorius condemned what he has called Russia's "brutal attacks" on Ukraine.[37] In May 2022, he said that Russian sympathizers must not glorify Russia's war against Ukraine on German streets.[37]

Personal life Edit

Pistorius has two daughters with his wife Sabine, who died in 2015 due to cancer.[38] He was in a relationship with Doris Schröder-Köpf from 2016 until spring 2022.[39] He has been in a relationship with Julia Schwanholz, a professor at the University of Duisburg-Essen, since 2022.[40]

Awards and Honours Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ "Schröder-Köpf und Minister Pistorius sind ein Paar" (in German). Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  2. ^ "Petra Köpping & Boris Pistorius". YouTube. Retrieved 30 March 2023.
  3. ^ "Innenminister Boris Pistorius". Niedersachsen (in German). Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  4. ^ "Boris Pistorius". Landtag Niedersachsen (in German). Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  5. ^ "Traueranzeigen von Ludwig Pistorius". Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  6. ^ Schmidt, Ulrike. "Zum Tod der Osnabrücker Politikerin Ursula Pistorius" (in German). Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  7. ^ "Minister Pistorius diskutiert mit Osnabrücker Schülern" (in German). Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  8. ^ Holger Hansen (17 January 2023), Germany names new defence minister, faces pressure to send tanks to Ukraine Reuters.
  9. ^ a b "Lebenslauf". Boris Pistorius (in German). Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  10. ^ "Boris Pistorius". SPD-Landtagsfraktion Niedersachsen (in German). Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  11. ^ "Innenminister Boris Pistorius Lebenslauf". Niedersachsen (in German). Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  12. ^ "Die ehemaligen Oberbürgermeister der Stadt Osnabrück". Osnabrück (in German). Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  13. ^ "Vorläufiges Ergebnis der Stichwahl zur Direktwahl der Oberbürgermeisterin / des Oberbürgermeisters in der Stadt Osnabrück". Niedersächsisches Landesamt für Statistik (in German). Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  14. ^ Remmers, Bernhard. "Osnabrück sucht den OB-Kandidaten" (in German). Hannoversche Allgemeine. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  15. ^ "Boris Pistorius". Bundesrat (in German). Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  16. ^ Boris Pistorius NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
  17. ^ Holger Hansen (17 January 2023), Germany names new defence minister, faces pressure to send tanks to Ukraine Reuters.
  18. ^ Bojan Pancevski (17 January 2023), Little-Known Politician to Become German Defense Minister Amid Mounting Challenges Wall Street Journal.
  19. ^ Christoph Hickmann, Veit Medick and Christian Teevs (29 August 2019), SPD-Kandidatenduo: Köpping und Pistorius bringen Steuersenkungen ins Spiel Der Spiegel.
  20. ^ Madeline Chambers (23 October 2019), Aspiring leaders of Germany's Social Democrats Reuters.
  21. ^ Lakämper, Britt-Marie. "SPD, Grüne, FDP: Diese Politiker verhandeln die Ampel" (in German). Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  22. ^ Connolly, Kate (17 January 2023). "Germany's no-nonsense new defence minister faces early test over Ukraine". Guardian News & Media Limited.
  23. ^ "Wer folgt auf Lambrecht? Vier Niedersachsen hoch gehandelt".
  24. ^ "Lambrecht tritt zurück: Kandidaten für die Nachfolge – Übersicht". 16 January 2023.
  25. ^ "Keine Parität im Kabinett: SPD-Frauen sprachlos".
  26. ^ "Scholz' Kabinett - "Diese Parität sollte Normalität sein"".
  27. ^ Weimer, Wolfram (1 February 2022). "Person der Woche Lambrecht: Ministerin der 5000 Helme" [Person of the week Lambrecht: Minister of the 5,000 helmets]. NTV.
  28. ^ Regierungskonsultationen: Scholz und Minister in Japan Tagesschau, 18 March 2023.
  29. ^ Oberbürgermeister bilden Führungsspitze: Osnabrücker Oberbürgermeister Boris Pistorius zum stellvertretenden Vorsitzenden des Aufsichtsrates gewählt Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung, 24 March 2011.
  30. ^ Board Niedersächsische Sparkassenstiftung.
  31. ^ Advisory Council Munich Security Conference.
  32. ^ Bernd Westphal und Anke Rehlinger koordinieren neu konstituierten Politischen Beirat des SPD-Wirtschaftsforums Business Forum of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, press release of 1 July 2020.
  33. ^ Board of Trustees Robert Enke Foundation.
  34. ^ Board Aloys & Brigitte Coppenrath Foundation.
  35. ^ "Boris Pistorius wants to review sanctions against Russia (Boris Pistorius will Sanktionen gegen Russland prüfen)". Zeit online (in German). Hamburg. 26 May 2018. Retrieved 24 February 2023.
  36. ^ Thomas Escritt (14 December 2021), Politician says Germany should ban Telegram unless it tackles extremist content Reuters, 15 December 2021.
  37. ^ a b Holger Hansen (17 January 2023), Germany names new defence minister, faces pressure to send tanks to Ukraine Reuters.
  38. ^ "Innenminister Pistorius trauert um seine Frau" (in German). Bild. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  39. ^ "Trennung von Boris Pistorius: Doris Schröder-Köpf ist wieder Single". (in German). 9 June 2022. Retrieved 11 July 2022.
  40. ^ "Sie ist die Neue an Boris Pistorius' Seite" (in German). 19 January 2023. Retrieved 19 January 2023.
  41. ^ "ENTIDADES ESTRANGEIRAS AGRACIADAS COM ORDENS PORTUGUESAS - Página Oficial das Ordens Honoríficas Portuguesas" [Interior Minister Pistorius mourns the loss of his wife]. Retrieved 17 January 2023.
  42. ^ "Innenminister Pistorius mit Schlesierschild beim Deutschlandtreffen der Schlesier 2019 in Hannover ausgezeichnet". Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Inneres und Sport. 17 June 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2020.

External links Edit