Nord Stream 2 Positions: Berlin and Moscow

The leader of the Russian opposition, Alexei Navalny, came out of a drug coma. Health conditions are therefore gradually improving according to the press release of Monday 7 September, from the Charité hospital in Berlin, where the dissident was hospitalized since 22 August following the poisoning which took place on 20 August in an airport in Siberia.

Navalny was in fact hospitalized in the hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk from which he was later transferred to Berlin. The Russian dissident was in Omsk to meet his allies with the aim of running for the regional elections next September in Moscow.

Beyond the fact that the Kremlin has obviously denied any kind of responsibility and regardless of the fact that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Berlin has not yet shared the results of the toxicological tests with Moscow prosecutors, it constitutes a fact in fact it has been established – as written on these pages – the use that Russia is making of special units to eliminate its opponents.

We come now to the German political reactions. Predictable, and at the same time taken for granted, were the reactions of Angela Merkel for whom Moscow must give clear and rapid answers on the circumstances of the dramatic accident and on her responsibilities otherwise punitive measures could be implemented by Germany precisely against Moscow.

In order to legitimize the words of Angela Merkel, the German foreign minister, Heiko Maas, stressed that the EU could discuss possible economic sanctions against Russia if the Kremlin does not give clear and unequivocal answers.

Even more explicit were the claims of Norbert Roettgen, head of Germany’s parliamentary committee on foreign affairs, that the Kremlin should be hit in its most vital interest – the completion of Nord Stream 2.

Even more explicit was the German political opposition together with authoritative leaders of the CDU and, among these, the current Minister of Defense Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer who even expressed the opportunity to stop the project.

If the gas pipeline were to be effectively blocked – a gas pipeline that has cost about 9.5 billion euros up to now – this would have a significant impact on the German economy – we are talking about hundreds of millions of euros – and above all on two German companies. that is, Wintershall and Uniper, which are part of the consortium of the ten companies that are building the Nord Stream 2. Equally significant would be the economic damage for Gazprom.

If it is conceivable that American pressures may be behind some tough stances by the German political class strongly opposed to the completion of Nord Stream 2, it is a fact instead that if this project were not to be completed, the multinationals themselves Americans would be the first to profit, also for the hoped-for sale of US shale gas to Germany.

Paulo Bentu

Visiting Fellow

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