If you were just playing an accountant, then the bill that life has given Berlin would be simple. Cost of constructing two lines of the Nord Stream gas pipeline1 amounted to approx. 9 billion euro. His twin Nord Stream 2, due to delays and sanctions, required the spending of more than 10 billion euros. By the way, at the beginning of this century, it was calculated that the construction of the Yamal II gas pipeline running through Poland, with a capacity similar to the two Nord Streams, would cost only USD 2 billion. However, neither Moscow nor Berlin were seriously interested in such a solution. And who forbids the rich to spend ten times as much, if it makes them feel really good.
The purgatory stage before the advent of paradise
The gas transmission pipes laid at the bottom of the Baltic Sea were to guarantee the Germans exceptionally well-being. In the first place, it was believed that they ensured that if the Kremlin decided to pursue a more aggressive policy towards: Ukraine, Belarus or Polish, gas supplies for Germany will remain unchallenged. At the same time, Germany had a chance to become a key distributor of “blue fuel” on the Old Continent. Finally, the Nord Stream project insured the energy transformation commenced in Germany at the same time. Before the advent of the dream paradise, where by some technological miracle all energy would be provided by renewable sources, the stage of purgatory was necessary. There, German nuclear and coal-fired power plants were gradually replacing the gas ones, powered by cheap Russian gas.
A course set by the chancellor Gerhard Schrödershe held on with iron consistency Angela Merkel. Under her rule, Berlin broke the resistance of Central European countries, persuaded all Western Europe to complete the second Nord Stream, waited out the sanctions of Donald Trump and bought President Biden’s approval for promises of cooperation. The Chancellor was ready for a lot to complete the investment. Including lying without blinking the eyelids of journalists asking her about the political threats posed by the gas pipelines. After all, this is a business project Merkel insisted regardless of the facts. Anything just to achieve a strategic goal. Without looking at the costs of Germany’s eastern neighbors, especially Ukraine.
Nord Stream an important element of Putin’s plans
The whole venture was doomed to success, if only Vladimir Putin behaved as expected in Berlin. There he was seen (no matter how many crimes he committed) as a reliable, honest partner for great business. Meanwhile, he had his own plans, and the Nord Stream pipelines were an important part of them.
All in all, we could watch a new installment of the same story. Another one since the partitions of the Republic of Poland “cordial” rapprochements between Berlin and Russia (made invariably at the expense of the countries between them) ended with a game of who will outplay whom. Since the times of Bismarck, they have usually been better at canting Germany. This time it was Putin who deceived his partners and, to their utter amazement, started a war. This alone undermined the entire eastern policy of the two previous chancellors. However, this is how he dodged Olaf Scholz, admittedly supporting Ukraine, but so as not to overdo it, showed that the hope of returning to the former course did not die in Belina. Until this week.
The most symbolic sea disaster since the Titanic
Two underwater explosions near both Nord Streams, observed by measuring stations in Sweden and Denmark (and possibly the third in recent hours), have carried out the executions. It seems that all lines of both pipelines have been interrupted. An attempt to fix them would constitute breach of sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU and the US. It is also hard to suppose that Washington and the international community would easily swallow one taken by the German side. But what would happen in the media and in German politics, if only Chancellor Scholz decided to patch the torn pipe.
In turn, the Russians do not have the appropriate technical means to be able to repair Nord Streamy. Meanwhile, as the Tagesspiegel rightly pointed out yesterday, the leaky pipeline will begin to fill with seawater. This – against its influence – only protects the outer shell. To sum up: pipes on which 20 billion was spent euro, the inside will be rusted. I think since it sank Titanic The West did not see an equally symbolic sea disaster.
This time it is not British imperial pride that is going to the bottom, but the German phantasmagoria that has been built over twenty years.
A radical change in the system of force
This is because the key branches of German industry, including the chemical one, were based on cheap energy resources from Russia. At the same time, the entire country became dependent on gas from the east Energiewende. Thanks to him, Berlin could afford to decommission almost all nuclear power plants, except for the last three. Back in July, Chancellor Scholz stated in the Bundestag forum that their operation longer than until the end of the year “is technically impossible”. A few hours after the perforation of both Nord Streams, preparations began so that the two nuclear power plants would be operational by spring. This will not end the crisis. The floating gas terminals, which are ready to be launched at an impressive pace, will also only minimize it.
The thing is that the whole, complicated structure that has been built on the foundation of close cooperation with Russia is collapsing. In such cases, the number of side effects must always be enormous. At the same time, half a year the procrastinating rule of Olaf Scholz it did not provide the Germans with an answer – something to rely on. How is the economy of a country where energy is expensive because it depends on … the weather to guarantee a safe future for itself in troubled times. That’s exactly what it was brought in without cheap gas from Russia. It was crucial that the sun and the wind blows over Germany.
When there is a dark silence, the electricity necessary for the industry begins to become fragile (unless more coal-fired power plants are reactivated). Although there may still be other gas pipelines connecting Germany with the East, including the “Yamal” running through Poland, the sinking of Nord Streams is a breakthrough. He says that there will be no return to what it was before the invasion of Ukraine. Germany will not regain gas connections with Russia, bypassing its neighbors. Only this radically changes the balance of power in this part of the world. Two decades of German eastern policy have just started to rust.