Putinversteher or Putin-Versteher is a German political neologism (Putin + verstehen), which literally translates "Putin understander", i.e., "one who understands Putin".  It is a pejorative reference to politicians and pundits who express empathy to Vladimir Putin, i.e., who say "yes, but you have to understand Putin's position". A similar term is Russlandversteher, "Russia understander".  It may also be translated as "Putin-Empathizer.
Another major Putinversteher is another former Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, who is chairman of the shareholders' committee of Nord Stream. He calls to respect Russian "sensitivities" and seconds the Russian argument which compares separatism of Crimea with that of Kosovo. 
The term was embraced in Russia, where a company named "Putinversteher" sells memorabilia (rings, clothes etc.) with Putin imagery.
- "The Putinverstehers’ Misconceived Charge of Russophobia"
- "How very understanding: Germany’s ambivalence towards Russia reflects its conflicted identity", the Economist,
- "Germany and the disinformation politics of the Ukraine crisis", openDemocracy, November 24, 2014
- "Empathizing With The Devil: How Germany's Putin-Verstehers Shield Russia", by Paul Roderick Gregory, April 5, 2014, Forbes
- "В России начались продажи патриотических колец с Путиным за 7500 рублей", gazeta.ru, May 8, 2014