Russia’s energy empire: Putin and the rise of Gazprom | DW Documentary

Russia’s energy empire: Putin and the rise of Gazprom | DW Documentary

Russia’s energy empire: Putin and the rise of Gazprom | DW Documentary

For decades, European countries have been dependent on Russian gas imports. And they did it to themselves. The biggest culprit? Germany. Only after Russia declared war on Ukraine did the German government realize that Russia has been using gas as a weapon for a long time.

How did this come about? What is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plan? The films take a look behind the scenes of the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom. They show the genesis of an empire: from the collapse of the Soviet Union to the Russian goldrush, the restrictions imposed by newly-elected President Vladimir Putin and his regime’s subsequent arrests and expropriations. The filmmakers shot the film before the start of Russia’s attack on Ukraine; a project that would no longer be possible today. The material allows viewers a glimpse into the inner workings of the energy giant Gazprom.

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Video Transcript

Russia home to the world’s biggest natural gas reserves the gas is needed especially in Europe and the end of the Cold War ushered in an era of conflicting energy dependencies and concern in the west you’re giving Soviet Union hard currency and they’re using that to build up their military and this

Is going to come back to haunt us meanwhile the 1980s marked the beginning of one man’s extraordinary career as a case officer you have to be able to manipulate people there is no such a s as for a KB guy gas is one of his two main tools for coercion for leverage for

Influence Soviet Traditions continue gas oil and gas dependencies as a political weapon was part for the course in the Warsaw Pact one of the world’s most powerful men has strategically wielded what’s probably his most effective Ive weapon with the help of gazprom Vladimir Putin has implemented policies designed to

Strike fear into the wider world the whole purpose of nordstream was to be able to pressurize Central and Eastern Europe northstream one was a project aimed at allowing Russians to play hard ball against Us the yamal peninsula in Western Siberia the Region’s indigenous people maintain thousand-year-old traditions on the tundra here the Nets are reindeer herders and M cetto is their leader he’s responsible for this group of about 40 Nets they’re on the Move every day it’s going pretty well now it’s much more difficult in

Autumn the Nets migrate to keep their animals fed but their root has become increasingly difficult in recent years the once untouched nature of the yamal peninsula is no More the hardest Crossing is still ahead of us ban and kovo it’s a long stretch with a wide river in concrete roads rete roads bict the tundra to provide access to one of Russia’s largest natural gas deposits the bovan and kovo gas field operated by gazprom the biggest extraction company in the

World the business of blue gold has been about politics money and above all power for decades the people who are explorers in the energy industry you’re always looking for a giant they’re looking for a large field which has low unit cost which will provide you with Supply over 30 years and there are

Very few Giants left in the world that we know about one country has benefited disproportionately for Germany the Russian hydrocarbon base the gas base is enormous so for large supply low unit cost you can’t do better on a pure economic basis than more cheap Supply from Russia

Jurgen hre LED BF the world’s largest chemical company for eight years gas means three things for BASF firstly and most importantly it’s a raw material chemistry begins with the carbon atom secondly we need a lot of heat and thirdly we also need electricity to run our plants we need natural

Gas B basf’s Gas strategy has always focused on one thing risk minimization that means access to oil and gas which is why we wanted to Source up to 50% of our carbon needs ourselves that was the driving force behind everything we did BASF Eon and gazprom signed a

Contract for the construction of a pipeline through the Baltic Sea just before the 2005 German parliamentary Elections we joined the joy venture to develop a new gas field in Western Siberia in 2003 then we said okay let’s bring the cheap gas to Central Europe the idea was to connect Germany via this pipeline to our gas Fields h NRE one Chancellor ghard shuder had been a

Key Ally of BASF for years I have to represent German interests especially when it comes to energy security with the German economy former NATO analyst Richard Anderson outlined in 2006 how natural gas could threaten Europe’s security it’s pretty typical for military analysts to look at energy and

How it can often be a source of conflict Russia’s energy dominance is an area of concern that that NATO analysts have certainly been looking at for the past several decades natural gas gets used for producing electricity gets used for heating it’s the basic element that gets used to make Plastics to make

Fertilizers it’s the lifeblood of a lot of industrial economies so this is an old Soviet Union map here in the center you can see some major natural gas and oil fields that were developed during Soviet times in the case of Russia I think it’s been pretty clear especially

Of late that energy often can be the precursor to a war is tendered by President Kennedy to West Germany’s chief of state in 1963 the Kennedy administration tried to prevent the construction of the Duba pipeline from the Soviet Union to Eastern Europe Manis man was providing the pipes and other equipment the US

Government the K Administration told them to stop doing it which they did West German Chancellor villy Brun then ushered in the country’s new OST politic thawing relations deant and trade contracts were signed for the construction of gas Pipelines work began in 1970 on a pipeline that would finally connect Siberia with Germany Nikolai or Nikolai orev minister of the Soviet gas industry celebrates a deal worth billions together with his German Partners gas from the Soviet Union arrives at the transfer station for the first time get go for

Launch economy minister and his Soviet guests hailed the gas launch as the result of normalization of relations for the Russians the deal was basically about hard currency that they needed because their economy was faltering and they needed the money from the West to keep the whole show going helmot Schmidt

Bron successor also turned to Siberian gas a second pipeline to Europe was built during Chancellor Schmidt’s visit to Moscow German companies signed a third such contract valid until the year 2000 Schmidt deflected US President Jimmy Carter with the words trading partners don’t shoot at each other in fact President Carter wrote apparently

In his notes that he was really tired of the US providing the stick and Europeans competing to provide the carrot to incentivize uh Soviet Behavior the US Washington was looking at and this saying that you’re giving Soviet Union hard currency and they’re using that to build up their military and this is

Going to come back to haunt Us that was even an argument back then you’re making yourselves dependent on the Soviet superpower our ideological opponent how can you as NATO members do such a thing the worries on the American side were about dependence that Russia would use energy as a political weapon and

That it would put Europe and Germany in a position where it couldn’t stand up to the Soviet Union and so this was all seen as part of a overall Soviet strategy uh to weaken the west and to break up NATO the situation in Poland then reached a boiling

Point the government imposed martial law in 1981 despite protests by the solidos Trade union and new US President Ronald Reagan reacted with sanctions to disrupt Russia’s natural gas trade the United States is taking immediate action to suspend major elements of our economic relationships with the Polish government

And we’re proposing to our allies the further restriction of high technology exports to Poland the new Soviet pipeline to Germany was built anyway the sanctions actually were not very effective and also it divided the West Margaret Thatcher uh said that we’re losing jobs because we’re not able to supply equipment for that pipeline

Us business wasn’t happy about this the US was also selling components and the US argument was if we can’t sell these things then you know our competitors in Europe will sell the equipment so in the end they did shell the sanctions it’s no secret that our allies

Didn’t agree with this action but I’m pleased to announce that the industrialized democracies reached substantial agreement on a plan of action they did work out a compromise in in the 1980s which put a limit on the amount of uh Soviet gas that went to Europe and also ensured that there would

Be Norwegian gas coming to Europe so that there was some diversification Washington tried to convince Germany to stop relying on Russian gas but most continued to come from Siberia as young Diplomat as a young Diplomat I was in the Washington Embassy and the Ambassador was really proud that he’d successfully argued against the

American pipeline embargo we were all inspired by the idea that what we were doing was part of the policy of improving relations it made sense to everybody I really don’t remember anyone at the time saying this is heading in the wrong direction but us intelligence Services weren’t happy CIA Chief William Casey

Developed a top secret plan with President Reagan’s blessing Vienna the Spy capital of the world I was your typical Black Market dealer especially mainframe computers measuring instruments for nuclear physics really delicate things that less developed States couldn’t make themselves I trained with the East German State security which was where I was recruited

And then of course after a break I worked in the Soviet Union the CIA watched me for over a year until one day when the time was right they decided to intervene they said I had a choice at least 20 years in prison or I work for

Them to up atst films the CIA supplied the black market specialist with expensive high-tech Goods who sailed to the Soviet Union was banned the Soviet Union reacted as expected some Gru people suddenly appeared in the hotel Two Gentlemen politely asked me to answer a few questions that turned into a 6-hour

Interrogation because the Tech equipment had clearly been tampered with everything was actually compromised I found out then that the first big computer i’ sold a huge thing made up of cabinets had caught fire Reagan and his CIA Chief mainly had their sight set on the Siberian Pipelines I’m convinced that a broad

Variety of techn was being delivered there’s a famous case of a gas pipeline that was damaged by a contaminated unit brought in from the West the software running one of the largest gas pipelines in the Soviet Union went haywire in June 1982 just as the CIA had planned the result was a huge

Explosion the hunt was then on for the sabator look there’s no question if they caught me I’d be dead it was that simple I was very very happy I survived surviving was the greatest Triumph of my life SLS I survived a Russian engineer was arrested on a Moscow Street in 1985 a CIA

Spy he was later executed and the pipeline soon repaired business as usual Vladimir Putin was at the time being trained as a KGB agent he was sent to East Germany in 1985 somebody asked him what did you do in dresdon and he said you know he was a

KGB case officer and he said I was working with people and documents Putin became a regular KGB presence in Dresden he regularly showed up at meetings of the East German Security Service the Stazi stazzy agents often photographed Putin as a case officer you have to be able to manipulate people you have to understand people’s weaknesses um as well as their strengths uh and add to that the fact that he was a judo Champion you try and sense even if your opponent is physically stronger than you

What are their other weaknesses how can you distract them so I think if you put those two things together um he probably has been quite good at manipulating people making them feel that they’re very important um and appealing to their own vanity stazi officer Matias vanik was also active in dresen he’ previously

Spied in the west I had a close colleague in Berlin at the time I was in Moscow and he had access to the shazi files and discovered that veg had indeed been with the Shazi we were interviewing uh people who knew both of them them and they were able to place them in Dresden in the late 80s and said that they were working together what we were able to ascertain was that the KGB was actually trying to recruit stazzy agents in

Dresden a stazi ID became part of Putin’s disguise and by 1989 he was looking beyond the preservation of Communism it was very very important for establishing the business careers of a lot of different people and also probably allowing the cas B to preserve a lot of its Network he had met stazi

Chief erish milka just a year earlier Putin represented a powerful state that was keeping East Germany afloat with its cheap oil and gas natural gas was very closely related to Quality of Life to warmth to the provision of you know Services allowing schools to function hospitals to

Function and I have used the word Glue you could describe that the cheap energy that the Soviet Union was providing to its eastern European satellites basically is a subsidy to keep their economies going and to keep them tight in the Soviet orbit Russia was then using oil and gas as a disciplinary measure within the

Warsaw PCT Whenever there was conflict I’m thinking of the uprisings in Hungary and 68 in Czechoslovakia Moscow sent tank to Czechoslovakia and supplied less oil and Gas oil and gas using oil and gas dependencies as a political weapon was par for the course in the warsa pack they would offer very favorable oil and gas contracts and in return they of course expected loyalty to Soviet interests exploiting these dependencies in foreign insecurity policy has a long precedent

In 1989 East Germany was on the brink of collapse but the Soviet Union continued to demand high prices for oil and gas which the country could barely pay it slid deeper into crisis the Soviets were getting all this money from Europeans and they were seeing what the real price of energy in

Europe was and they thought well our economy isn’t doing great why are we giving away our energy to these people agents like Vladimir Putin and Matias vanish had to adapt the system they worked under was ending vanik landed on his feet moments after the Berlin Wall Crumbled it’s fascinating how for example how quickly vanik was was hired by drna bank I mean they identified him very very early on as someone who would be extremely useful for for building up their business in Eastern Europe and in Russia former agent Vladimir Putin repositioned himself as the statue of

The kgb’s founder was torn down in Moscow Putin has described that very well in interviews how he came back from Dresden and he didn’t know what to do and he was he was moonight liting as a taxi driver on the streets of St Petersburg he finally landed up in the

Me office in St Petersburg with mayor subjack now subjack was a reformer but he was also corrupt so you had a period there where Putin was in charge of foreign economic contacts and that’s I think when he be began to make money violence followed the collapse of the Soviet

Union the 1990s was a terrible time it was just people trying to Survive well the key thing was protection what the Russians call Kisha which is rof sometimes roof can be someone in a criminal organization sometimes it’s uh someone in the government in the ’90s often that person was the same person former stazi agent vanck established contacts in St

Petersburg for drner bankk both in local government and at a new company gazprom they needed someone in the St Petersburg government who could look after them and open doors for them that was why the the sort of Putin vanik connection was so interesting because essentially Putin

Was Van’s Kisha he was his roof Putin became more and more influential over the years receiving dignitaries and growing his Network meanwhile the remnants of the Soviet Union were being Bartered away claims were being staked it was a sort of time of No Holds bar wild capitalism it was the wild East

Essentially Russian natural resources was passed to a small cery of oligarchs or sort of extremely rich individuals in highly dubious privatization auctions it was a really really rough ride for Western investors but the potential rewards were just so P that they just kept their hand in the game while the Russian people scoured

Empty supermarkets for food and lived through freezing Winters International investors were ringing up cheap Russian companies especially those in raw materials one object of speculation was the former gas Ministry renamed gas prom in 1989 and a corporation since 1992 gas fromom was the most undervalued company in Russia at the time the reason

It was so inexpensive was that everybody assumed every last cubic meter of gas was being stolen out of the company a lot of assets were being siphoned off and given to friends and relatives of CIA management this did not deter German companies one of the biggest shareholders of gas from outside the the

Government of Russia was Roar gas the German company had already sold C natural gas in Germany during the Soviet era but other investors criticized the conditions at gas prom every year we would run a candidate for the board of gas prom which was one of our people who highlight the

Corruption they sat on the board didn’t of course vote for our candidate and didn’t say a word they wanted the gas to flow and they were absolutely unwilling to say a word about criminality rur gas dominated the European market thanks to Siberian gas this did not sit well with

B ASF its largest customer 19 BF was essentially blackmailed in 1993 by R gas through prices that were so high we saw our ludvig’s hoffen complex at risk we decided we needed an alternative we set up a joint venture with gas prom to build the necessary infrastructure in

Germany we built a large Network alongside the existing one including a large storage facility the biggest in Germany it was a big deal it was ultimately co-financed by gas prom the German government under Helmut Cole favored such projects partly because they propped up beler Russian president Boris yelson

The the idea of a partnership with a Russia that had made German reunification possible was that the heart of German foreign policy be it left right or Center and for large stretches of the 1990s there was nothing wrong with that the other objective was not to

Leave Russia behind as a sort of failing State and you didn’t want a nuclear power sort of going off on its own in some other world Cole forgave the debts of yelton’s Russia and the natural gas flowed Putin noticed Putin drew the conclusion very early on that Russia’s greatness was based on its

Extraordinary oil and gas wealth and that needed to be deployed strategically in order to enhance Russia’s great power status Putin wrote a doctoral thesis in 1997 on energy dependencies and how they could be instrument ized in foreign policy from the very beginning he had developed a strong personal interest in

The issue I myself had talks with German intelligence officials who had also read it we talked about what it actually meant if German intelligence knew the Chancellor’s office did too the domestic political Trends were relatively clear more State control of the energy industry managed directly by the Kremlin

Such policy has its routs thousands of kilometers away at the ban in kovo gasfield in Western Siberia an invaluable resource reindeer herder M sereto has led his herd through the tundra for 25 years like generations of Nets before him but since the development of the gas field gas prom’s infrastructure has made

Life difficult for these indigenous as people M’s herd is moving to the Cara sea in the north that’s how it’s always been but the closer they get to the gas field the more pensive these Tundra Nomads Become look at the roads that’s a dead end they also built a railroad soon we won’t have any land left and what happens if they close this Crossing too we won’t be able to get to the other side we’ll have to spend the summer somewhere here we’ve already had a bad three years

In a row the snow cover was too thick the reindeer was so weakened but half of them died they extract lots of Gas and sell it abroad for big money what about us the fate of the Nets has always been a side issue for gazprom while a single man in 2000 reached a level of power no one Expected Vladimir Putin became president of Russia in the first year of the New Millennium he had already served as prime minister and director of The Secret Service the FSB he had connections throughout the state there were major things that Putin had to do one was to solidify the power

That the Russian government had over these industries and it wasn’t just in in natural gas and oil it was across the board Putin went out of his way to put his cronies into these companies Putin also took power economically Company by company position by position then you

Really saw the rise of the sil ke the strong men the guys from the security services who then began to occupy key positions in U Putin’s Administration Putin also set his sights on gazprom at the time still a massive and unmanageable company then at the annual general

Meeting Putin stepped into the fry and he fired vakarev who is the CEO of gas prom who was doing all the stealing along with his six or seven compatriots and he replaced him with a new guy whose job it was not to do any stealing his name was Lexi

Miller he was a guy that Putin knew from St Petersburg I remember what saying to somebody in gas prom and a little bit irritated who is this guy what does he know about anything God you know these the only people that can run gazprom people from St Petersburg and the answer

Was no these are the the only people that Putin trusts but Alexi Miller was not the true gazprom boss 9 of course not he couldn’t decide alone he could decide for gas prom but it still had to be voted on and that’s why certain deals took longer we’re talking about a state-owned

Company gas prom followed Putin’s orders and bought a critical television station NTV and brought it into line we’re asking everyone both NTV journalists and all those who incite them to stop putting up hurdles critical journalists were dismissed protests ignored I just wonder how our people could elect a president like that it’s

Horrible gas prom still owns its own glitzy broadcasters 20 years later a dominant Force in Russian media a dedicated line leads from the station boss directly to the Kremlin and Putin through gazprom also controls private radio stations like echo of Moscow When Vladimir Putin came to power

In 20 000 he wanted to get control of Independent Media he started with television of course but also one of our shareholders with a majority stake Vladimir guzinski had his share seized in order to take out a loan from gazprom that’s why I always say that Miller isn’t our shareholder Putin is gazprom

Isn’t our shareholder the presidential Administration is the station was banned from operating in March 2022 just over 20 years earlier Vladimir Putin had shown a very different face on a visit to Berlin many German politicians saw him as a symbol of Hope today we must declare firmly and definitively the Cold War is

[Applause] Over objective problems aside beneath everything beats the strong living heart of Russia which is open to full-fledged cooperation and partnership thank you [Applause] done when I saw the response to that speech back then I thought it was a bit naive how people were so uncritical of a

Man who had been in the KGB for years Putin won the unconditional support of German Chancellor Gad shter this supposed opportunity for democratization didn’t really exist but that didn’t change the fact that Russia was the second most powerful nuclear power on Earth then and now whether you

Like it or not you have to live with Russia my attitude at the time was that we had to try to somehow integrate them on an international level but you didn’t need to have any Illusions about Vladimir Putin’s character back in Russia Putin was having the first offices and houses of

The oligarch searched a new power struggle was emerging it was very humiliating for Putin and all the KGB guys um to watch a bunch of nobody’s in their minds people who weren’t part of the system become so spectacularly wealthy all these KGB guys were basically you know paid $50,000 a

Year by these oligarchs to go and arrest you know enemies and to drum up fake criminal cases against business competitors and so they had been diminished to paid servants for the oligarchs Putin summoned the oligarchs in 2003 questioning them on live TV one was singled out that frustration and

That bitterness came through very very strongly in the campaign against kovski that was where it really crystallized because you saw you know the sort of the strong men in the Kremlin and in the government really Target someone who for them symbolized this oligarch class someone who had come from virtually nowhere to

Amass staggering wealth and to take over one of the biggest oil companies in the country M kovski was then head of the oil company yukos the market number two behind gazprom kovski was regarded as a Putin critic with suspicions of State corruption Putin’s reaction was to have cordovi arrested yukos was accused of

Tax evasion you could see in in the kind of the campaign to destroy kovski there was real there was a sort of Vengeance there for all the humiliations that they had suffered uh with the collapse of the Soviet Union kovski was publicly tried we were at the time following this process

Extremely closely because it was really the first big attack by Putin’s Kremlin on private business he was sentenced in May of 2005 to 9 years in a penal Camp yukos was seized and auctioned off for less than its value Putin’s associ IES took over the oil company an expropriation in all but

Name with the expropriation you have to ask how did certain people get their hands on these resources in the first place you could say they might have had something that didn’t belong to them at all kovski was taken to a siberian prison camp in Russia’s Far East near

The border with China criticism from abroad fell on deaf ears and German Chancellor Gard shuder picked a Side these reforms ladies and gentlemen have put Russia on a path of stable economic growth there’s not the slightest reason to engage in debates which would shake that confidence based on this or that event German energy companies were in difficult negotiations with Russia in 2004 over access to its gas reserves

Just as Putin was desperate to build a pipeline to Germany so Western technology and Partnerships were very important in terms of bringing Russia to the point where it once again became really a an energy superpower Putin needed technical help from Germany Russia’s pipeline network was in disrepair they had discovered enormous

Fields in places like Western Siberia but they couldn’t develop them because they didn’t have the capital but German Chemical Company BASF did we’ already converted the first power plant from oil to natural gas in 1997 because the Kyoto Protocol pointed very clearly towards CO2 reduction in Kyoto Japan the International Community reached its

First binding agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions we adopt this text it’s so decided the and gas has an advantage with gas you can run a combined heat and power plant in other words you can exploit the resource much much better compared to Pure oil or coal burning Putin was directly involved in

Negotiations between Russia and BASF each side needed the other he was always very well prepared for meetings some go into talks without preparing I never saw that with Putin so many Western Executives who dealt with Putin felt they were dealing not only with the president of Russia

But the CEO of Russian energy because of his knowledge his detailed knowledge and interest and focus on energy so he’s I mean he’s an energy guy as well as a political guy I’ve actually met Putin 16 times what impressed me at most of those Gatherings was his knowledge of all the

Statistics he doesn’t have to turn to any of his assistant and ask them so he really loves energy this guy knows about energy in a way that leaders of most countries have have no idea he was more the CEO of gas prom than he was President Putin was driven by one thing above

All we’re pleased to have reached an agreement with the Paris Club and especially with our German Partners on an early repayment of part of this debt to the Paris Club was the German government present at negotiations with gas prom and Moscow no representatives of the German government were not there it was really

Negotiated between gas prom and BASF and other partners it also took quite a long time but Matias vck the exi agent working for Dresner bankk was always present these were former guu people and on the German side in for as stazy people and that seemed very strange and

Very suspicious it confirmed us in a negative uh Instinct about this thing Andre KV boss of Ukraine’s oil and gas company knew gas prom better than anyone I was born in USSR and I clearly St that a company of such importance can never be just a simple company this is

Part of the state I was member of Delegation from NAFTA gas that went to Moscow to negotiate a new gas Transit contract the person who was hosting us was gaspro middle manager who after having couple of shots of vka he revealed himself as a former uh special agent of uh Soviet intelligence service

When I was kind of talking to myself like Andre you have to be very careful most people around here they are not business people they are not gas people these people were uh taught and developed to spy and to steal data if you talk to top level Russian officials

From the very very top they will tell you there’s no such a thing as former KGB guy the British news magazine The Economist wrote in 2005 that Putin had two means at his disposal to restore Russia’s former influence nuclear weapons and gas I think those still are the two

Major levers that Putin has he’s quite shrewd and he did realize that gas is one of his two main tools tools for coercion for leverage for influence then NATO analyst Richard Anderson wrote realistically without serious concerted efforts on the part of the EU States Russia will have the upper hand

In this relationship quite simply demand will remain constant almost without regard to price given the choice of a cold dark home or paying exorbitant prices Europeans will do the latter construction began on a Baltic Sea pipeline at the end of 2005 the project was eventually christened nordstream an event like that is always

Done for show but it was still important today we’re beginning the North European gas pipeline project noram 1 is a big deal no question about it I don’t regret it one bit either I don’t have a problem with it at all it was the right thing to do

It was right for BASF and it was right for Europe we should reserve gas from Western Siberia for Europe whenever possible vce Alexi Miller introduced Gard truder as a new head of nordstream shareholder committee on a cold day in December just 17 days after he left Germany’s chancellory

Did you know he would do it no I didn’t I talked with Angela merel directly and told her schroer had taken the job I told her that was the intention what did she say she didn’t make any other comment angco became Chancellor in 2005 the appointment of her predecessor by a

Russian controlled company raised eyebrows when he took that job I mean there was considerable I think surprise in the United States because and in in other countries because it really was very unseemly for a chancellor who had negotiated the deal then when he’s defeated in in an election to

Immediately take a job and profit very handsomely from from it so I think that was certainly uh it was received very negatively in the United States and uh you know a lot of Suspicion about it the sentiment in Germany was similar Of course it was something I would have preferred to have resolved differently the more political a situation is the more conflicts arise and I didn’t want That I don’t think it’s right to have a leadership role with gas problem when an exi major is chairman of the board in Germany’s own interests Gad has taken over the supervision of a project that’s in our own interests in terms of energy shudder did not become a gas prom

Lobbyist on his own his nomination was approved it should be someone who can represent European economic interests well but also has a rational approach towards the majority shareholder at the time Sher embodied both those elements even the new chancellor who in public was cooler towards Putin did not distance herself from sher’s new Job I think Angela merel actively supported and endorsed it I don’t remember marle ever speaking out against it quite the opposite as far as I remember she frequently made use of the channels that went through G Shuda I think it also provides a sense of you know the important people are important

Countries so it must be something important that they’re doing on behalf of Russia so it does work to both neutralize any concerns uh that citizens would have uh and it also seems that they’re collecting uh this very prestigious crowd to do their business so again it is not just uh Mr schroer

Who has fallen tra into this although he’s become such a a poster child for exactly what this looks like there was no opposition from Germany’s conservatives on this issue why not because the entire German economy and especially the energy industry wanted it there were many supporters not just schroer social

Democrats I can’t recall any significant voices saying it was a bad idea in Ukraine we clearly realized that northstream won from the very stud was a project aimed at allowing Russians to play hard ball against us this is urad in Ukraine one of Europe’s most important gas hubs in

Putin’s mind these pipelines were not something that Ukraine had built they were something that the Soviet Union had built and it drove Russia crazy that Ukraine control these pipelines which was the way that its gas moved to the West Russia tried at one point going to take control of the gas transit system

Going through Ukraine uh but Ukraine resisted it and when that fell apart they they basically decided that the only solution to this situation was to go around Ukraine I mean it was a very clear concerted strategy rational from Russia’s point of view to build pipelines that uh reduced its dependence

And ultimately eliminate its dependence on Ukraine which Russia really regarded or at least Putin and people around Putin did not regard as a legitimate State the gas pipelines run either through Poland or Ukraine a huge network has evolved since 1970 the gas pipeline is not just one pipeline together they have the capacity

To transport more gas than Russia produces for the European market the new pipeline appears to have been designed to take Ukraine and Poland out of the picture as Transit countries while still guaranteeing Germany’s gas supply the whole purpose of nordstream was to be able to pressurize Central and

Eastern Europe there isn’t a single Ukrainian who is not a Russian Ally who thinks that nordstream was anything other than a catastrophic and very thinly veiled attempt to by bypass Ukraine two weeks after construction began on nordstream they have sought this conflict from the very beginning their policy has always been to illicitly

Divert gas or to put it more simply to steal it from European Consumers I hereby limit gas supplies to Ukraine the flow of gas to Ukraine and Europe stopped the 2006 conflict was very very important as a starting point the consequence of a relatively short cut off of Russian gas were much greater than anyone expected we never thought this could happen look it’s happened an

Emergency EU meeting was convened we should discuss what has happened during those 24 hours and happened for the first time in over 40 years of constant and reliable Russian gas supply by turning off the gas Putin was continuing a Soviet tradition in 1991 even former Soviet president M Gorbachev

Hailed as a reformer had used gas as a weapon against St moving to leave the Soviet Union at the time the former Soviet embassador to Germany Valentine Fallin developed the falling Doctrine it named seven instruments Russia could use to enforce its foreign policy in the future and the most important instrument was

The exploitation of energy dependencies in the early 1990s when there was the whole issue of how to divide the black Fleet located in Crimea you had these very heated discussions about what is going to happen with this Fleet how is it going to be divided Russia threatened Ukraine with a gas

Boycott if this cap is put in place then we’ll certainly be forced to curtail power generation you have this perfect situation for that kind of pressure to be exerted there they certainly were using energy as a weapon then different parts of Ukraine’s natural gas debt Visa Russia were cancelled in exchange for different

Percentages of that Black Sea Fleet given to Russia mission accomplished a 2006 publication by a Swedish colleague LaRon looked back at the 1990s saying in more than 50 cases Russia had exploited these exact kinds of energy dependencies for foreign policy purposes effectively politically blackmailing other states that’s what many Europeans heavily missed they simply did not want to

Accept harsh reality that they’re facing new way of Russia of impacting European union and the Western World

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