Why it is time to STOP Nord Stream 2

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By FTN Editorial Team

The Nord Stream 2 (NS2) gas pipeline project, which has been planned since 2011, has been criticized for years. Both domestic and foreign policy has been debated for a long time as to whether this expansion of direct gas supplies from Russia to Germany has more disadvantages than advantages. The project led by the Russian state- owned company Gazprom is now about to be completed. The last weeks and months have shown, however, that the Russian government under President Putin cannot be a reliable partner for the Federal Republic of Germany and that the energy security of German households must not depend on the discretion of an authoritarian state.

Human rights: Just a few hundred meters from the German Chancellery, the Russian oppositionist Alexej Navalny is currently being treated in the Charite Hospital. He was the victim of a poisoning attack in Russia caused by the nerve agent Novichok. Direct involvement of the Russian government is very likely since it is a poison that is only available to the Russian military. The murder of the Georgian citizen Zelimkhan “Tornike” Khangoshvili on German soil was another brutal act that was likely orchestrated by the Russian government. The downing of MH17 over Ukraine killed hundreds of civilians and is linked to Russian anti-aircraft missiles. The repeated attacks on Russian opposition members and journalists and the generally poor human rights situation in Russia should be a warning call for the German government. Should you really bind yourself more closely to a state company from such a country given viable alternatives? This dependence on Russian gas could make diplomatic interventions even more difficult in the future.

Energy security: Gas exports were politicized in the past by Russia. A deepening of Germany’s dependence on Russian gas reduces the lever and sovereignty that German politics has towards Russia. An example of this is the interruption of Russian gas supplies to Ukrainian households in 2015. Significantly safer gas supplies can be obtained from countries such as Norway, the United States, the Emirates, or Qatar via liquefied natural gas (LNG). The argument that without NS2 Russia would sell the same gas elsewhere is also incorrect. Certain fields are attached to the pipeline. These cannot simply be quickly connected to a pipeline to China.

Cybersecurity: In recent years, several democratic states have seen direct interference by Russian Cyber trolls in election campaigns and cyber-attacks. Creating further interdependencies with the Russian state through NS2 makes Germany even more vulnerable to electoral interference.

European security policy: With the Nord Stream 2 project, the federal government has made no friends among the Eastern European EU member states. NATO and EU members such as Poland, Lithuania, and Estonia have been suffering from security threats from Moscow for years. The pipeline through the Baltic Sea has cost Germany a lot of trust in these countries. It is time to halt Nord Stream 2 and calmly watch how the Russian government conducts itself over the coming months and years. An investigation into the attack on Navalny, the murder of Khangoshvili, and the behavior of the Russian government towards the freedom protests in Belarus are milestones that will show whether the Putin government can adhere to international norms. We encourage you to actively campaign for a suspension of NS2. The information above will help you to use your press work and social media to promote the international reputation of the federal government of Germany and to stop NS2.

By Fred Roeder

Fred Roeder Managing Director Consumer Choice Center