The Nord Stream-2 dilemma : a review of Italian and German pro-Russian media outlets
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The Nord Stream-2 dilemma : a review of Italian and German pro-Russian media outlets

Photo: ua.depositphotos.com / hlalex
6 April 2022
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Germany and Italy are among the EU’s most dependent on Russian gas supplies: 55% of Germany’s gas comes from Russia and 45% in Italy. In general, the EU’s energy consumption consists of 40% of Russian gas. Therefore, the joint German-Russian Nord Stream 2 project is presented in some German and Italian media more in terms of local preferences and duplicates the manipulative rhetoric of the Kremlin, thus promoting its own political interests.

Fake: Delays in Nord Stream 2 lead to crisis in EU

Pro-Russian German and Italian media, such as RT and SNA, relay Moscow’s version that Nord Stream 2 is a mutually beneficial project for Russia and the EU to address rising gas prices and shortages. Construction work on it was completed in September, but there was a delay in the certification of the pipeline, which, among other things, contributed to a sharp rise in prices for European gas. Against this background, as well as the decline in wind energy production in Germany, the shutdown at French nuclear power plants and geopolitical risks in Belarus and Ukraine, there was the most serious gas crisis in European history. Germany needs the start of Nord Stream 2 to the most significant measure, because it has nothing to heat the homes of citizens.

  • Moscow has repeatedly emphasized that the ‘Nord Stream 2 is a project that will bring mutual benefits to Russia and the countries of Union Europe, struggling with gas reserves that are in short supply and prices on the rise. (Mosca ha più volte sottolineato che il ‘Nord Stream 2 è un progetto che porterà mutui benefici alla Russia e ai paesi dell’Unionne Europaa alle prese con with gas reserves che scarseggiano e prezzi in aumento.) – Reset Italia Blog .
  • So there we are, we poor Germans, would like to have a warm apartment in winter and electricity that is as reliable as it is affordable, and not only have the Greens on our hands, who want to drive up CO2 taxes even further instead of because of them the prices come from, as in France. No, behind it stands the witch of the Maidan, waiting to freeze us in US interests. (Da stehen wir also, wir armen Deutschen, hätten gerne eine warme Wohnung im Winter und Strom, der so verlässlich wie bezahlbar ist, und haben nicht nur die Grünen am Hals, die die CO2-Steuern noch weiter nach oben treiben wollen, statt sie wegen the prices come from, as in France. No, dahinter steht die Hexe vom Maidan und wartet darauf, uns im US-Interesse zu frosten.) – RT.DE. _

How is it really?

The energy crisis in the EU was provoked not by the delay in the implementation of Nord Stream-2 , but by the excessive dependence of European countries on Russian gas and revenues from its transit. The sharp rise in gas prices in 2021 is due to both global growth in post-pandemic gas demand and its artificial restriction by Gazprom by cutting supplies to a minimum. As a result, EU countries have not been able to fully fill their gas storage facilities and prepare for the winter challenges: low temperatures and Russia’s launch of a full-scale war with Ukraine.

Nord Stream – 2 is the second stage of the German-Russian submarine gas pipeline across the Baltic Sea with a total capacity of up to 27.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The owner is Gazprom , which has invested 9.5 billion euros in the project, half of its value. The rest of the costs were financed by the British oil and gas company Shell, the Austrian OMV, the French Engie and the German Uniper and Wintershall DEA. The launch of Nord Stream 2 was aimed at doubling gas pumping capacity from Russia to Germany, bypassing other countries’ gas pipelines, which would violate EU competition principles and deepen Russia’s monopoly on gas supplies to Europe.

As of March 2022, the project was suspended due to Russia’s recognition of the DPR and LPR and its subsequent invasion of Ukraine, and the Swiss company Nord Stream 2, responsible for construction, has declared bankruptcy . Against the background of intensifying Russian aggression on the territory of Ukraine and destabilizing Russia’s economy through a series of mass sanctions, gas prices reached a record high of 345 euros / MW on March 7.

Fake: US as a colonialist tries to prevent the launch of Nord Stream 2 to maintain its influence in Europe

German pro-Russian media RT.DE, Uncut news and Report 24 spread the narrative of the US desire to eliminate Nord Stream 2 and use the Ukrainian crisis to maintain political influence in the EU and increase its own gas supplies to the region.

  • The USA act like colonial rulers. In their relations with the EU, they are abusing the German-Russian gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2 for their politicized manoeuvres. With this kind of foreign policy, they put German legislators on high alert. (Die USA agieren wie Kolonialherrscher. In ihren Beziehungen zur EU missbrauchen sie das deutsch-russische Gaspipeline-Projekt Nord Stream 2 für ihre politisierten Manöver. Mit dieser Art der Außenpolitik versetzen sie deutsche Gesetzgeber in Alarmbereitschaft.) RT.DE. _
  • The crisis in Ukraine has nothing to do with Ukraine. It’s about Germany and specifically about a pipeline called Nord Stream 2 that connects Germany to Russia. Washington sees the pipeline as a threat to its hegemony in Europe and has sought to sabotage the project at every turn. (Die Ukrainekrise hat nichts mit der Ukraine zu tun. Es geht um Deutschland und insbesondere um eine Pipeline namens Nord Stream 2, die Deutschland mit Russland verbindet. Washington sieht in der Pipeline eine Bedrohung seiner Vormachtstellung in Europa und hat versucht, das Projekt auf Schritt und Tritt zu sabotieren.) – Uncut news .

What is the truth?

No US hegemony in Europe exists at either the political or commercial levels.

Firstly, not only the United States but the EU itself opposes Nord Stream 2 as a potential threat to the European security. The European Commission has recognized that it is contrary to the objectives of the Energy Union and creates additional benefits for individual suppliers. But the final decision is made only by Germany.

Secondly, gas exports from the United States to the EU actually doubled in January 2022 compared to November 2021, from 1.02 billion cubic meters. m per day to 1.95 billion cubic meters. m per day. But this was due to the fact that Gazprom minimized its own supplies against the background of global demand growth. The share of Russian gas still remains dominant: the average monthly gas supply from Russia to the EU is 7.47 billion cubic meters. m per day.

Fake: Nord Stream 2 is not a political project, but absolutely commercial one

Russia has repeatedly called for an end to the politicization of Nord Stream-2. According to them, it is the EU that benefits from its launch, especially economic ones , as Russian gas is the cheapest, as is its transportation across the Baltic Sea. The overland route is longer and more expensive, and requires additional transit costs. Ukraine is simply afraid of losing its share of revenue from transit, so it actively opposes the project, and US sanctions are nothing more than a means to promote its own product on the European market and undermine the market position of Russia’s competitor. These are the arguments used by the analyzed media:

  • This is a solely economic, commercial project. For those who think that some other carriers are bypassed in this way: This thesis is true, because the route through the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany is – I would like it to be heard again – shorter than through European countries: Ukraine, Slovakia, Austria and so on. It’s shorter and cheaper – that’s the first thing. Second: There are no country-specific, political risks here. And there is no need to pay money for transit. That makes more economic sense. (Dies ist ein rein wirtschaftliches, kommerzielles Projekt. Für alle, die denken, dass damit einige andere Transporteure umgangen werden: Diese These entspricht der Wahrheit. Denn die Strecke durch die Ostsee von Russland nach Deutschland ist – ich möchte, dass das noch einmal gehört wird – kürzer als durch europäische Länder: die Ukraine, die Slowakei, Österreich und so weiter. Es ist kürzer und billiger – das ist das Erste. Zweitens: Hier gibt es keine länderspezifischen, politischen Risiken. Und es gibt keine Notwendigkeit, Geld für den Transit zu bezahlen. Das ist wirtschaftlich sinnvoller.) – Anti Spiegel .

What is the truth?

Current events prove that any economic benefits from such an alliance are short-term and offset by political and geopolitical threats.

In recent years, Russia has gradually taken over the European energy market, offering the cheapest price for gas. Under the guise of economic benefits, the Russian government formed a political lever of influence on the EU, part of which was Nord Stream-2.

Fake: Ukraine is stealing Russian transit gas

Italian media mentioned an eight-year-old Russian fake, when Russia first accused Ukraine of stealing gas and then denied it itself.

  • Kyiv had plans to extract the Russian gas pipeline to Europe through the territory of Ukraine in 2014 and 2015. (Kyiv nel 2014 e nel 2015 aveva in programma di estrarre il gasdotto russo verso l’Europa attraverso il territorio dell’Ucraina.) SNA.IT. _

What is the truth?

Ukraine did not steal Russian gas. Similar accusations were made by the Russian side in the 1990s, in 2008 during the gas conflicts, and in 2014. In the latter case, Russia later admitted that the alleged withdrawal of Russian gas from Ukraine was a technical oversight.

But Russia is stealing Ukrainian gas. From 2014 to 2020, Russia extracted from deposits in the occupied territories belonging to Ukraine 12 billion cubic meters. m of gas .

Fake: The Ukrainian gas pipeline is worn out

This is also another example of Russian propaganda picked up by foreign media.

  • Due to the course of the pipeline, Ukraine loses the role of a transit country due to the old pipelines on the mainland and feels disadvantaged. However, it was Ukraine that years ago prevented modernization of this transit line by the same consortium that later built Nord Stream 1 and 2 as a way out. (Durch den Verlauf der Pipeline verliert die Ukraine die Rolle eines Transitlands durch die alten Rohrstränge auf dem Festland und fühlt sich benachteiligt. Es war jedoch die Ukraine, die vor Jahren eine Modernisierung dieser Transitleitung durch das gleiche Konsortium verhinderte, das dann später als Ausweg Nord Stream 1 und 2 errichtete.)RT.DE. _

How is it really?

Modernization of the GTS continues . In the first half of 2021, the Gas Transmission System Operator of Ukraine LLC invested UAH 3.5 billion in the repair of maintenance and capital construction of the GTS (twice as much as in 2018 and 60% more than in 2019). Over the next 10 years, it is planned to invest $ 1.5 billion in the capital construction of 10 new compressor stations.

Instead, the director of the GTS Operator notes that in 2021 Gazprom kept gas transit through Ukraine to a minimum and refused additional transit capacity offered by Ukraine.

Attention

The authors do not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have no relevant affiliations