The story of the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, regardless of who is actually behind this crime, can become the “swan song” of our “national treasure”. Unfortunately, this is not an exaggeration.
It would seem, where is the oppositionist, and where is Gazprom? But, alas, in modern geopolitics everything is tied into a tight knot. As you know, after the events of 2014 in Ukraine, the domestic monopolist made a bet on the construction of new supply routes bypassing Nezalezhnaya. Regarding the gloomy prospects of the Turkish Stream, we in detail told earlier. With Nord Stream 2, things are even worse.
The US intends to clear the European gas market for its LNG suppliers. It should be noted that the EU is also interested in diversifying energy supplies, so in recent years it has invested heavily in the construction of LNG terminals on the coast, as well as in the development of gas transportation infrastructure within the union. Brussels welcomes the commissioning of new gas pipelines, for example, TANAP-TAP, the promising Baltic Pipe and EastMed. The attitude towards the Russian "Nord Stream-2" is somewhat different.
First, the European Commission extended the Third Energy Package to the pipeline, leaving one of its two lines empty. President Trump then imposed sanctions on the pipeline and contractors immediately abandoned the project. “Nord Stream-2” remains a dead weight at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. With great difficulty redirected from the Far East, "Academician Chersky" still cannot proceed with its completion due to the risk of falling under new restrictive measures from Washington. It is highly likely that Angela Merkel will not receive the gas pipeline within the timeframe promised by President Putin. The German Chancellor has consistently stood for Nord Stream 2, since she made great political your bid. But the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny could really be the last straw that will tip the cup against this energy project. German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on this occasion:
The Chancellor is of the opinion that nothing can be ruled out from the outset.
It is clear that the last one to whom it is profitable to persecute Navalny with "Novichok" is the Kremlin. But the designated extreme Russia will have to pay a high price. Very high. Imagine what happens if Angela Merkel proposes to freeze construction for an indefinite period of time, for example, during the investigation into the poisoning of an oppositionist.
At first, money from the federal budget allocated for construction will be thrown into the wind. Rather, the contractors have already earned theirs, but the country will have zero profit from the unemployed at the bottom of the pipeline, or rather, only losses.
Secondly, Russia will be tightly tied for gas transit to Ukraine. It is worth recalling that "effective managers" managed to sign an extremely unprofitable contract with Naftogaz, according to which Gazprom is supposed to pump 60 billion cubic meters this year, and 40 billion in the next four. The tariff is already high, but according to the innovations, for exceeding the volume you have to pay daily at a higher tariff. The state corporation will start getting money every day, especially from next year, when the volumes specified in the contract will significantly decrease. There is no doubt that in 4,5 years a new transit agreement will be concluded on even more draconian terms.
Thirdly, there is no guarantee that such an agreement will be concluded or actually implemented. A lot can change over the next 5 years. Gas prices will rise, Europe is diversifying its sources of supply even more, and the United States will complete the development of its export infrastructure for LNG. By that time, all conditions will be ripe to remove Gazprom from the European market through Kiev, to which the monopolist will be firmly tied by a transit pipe. First, more money will be pumped out of the state corporation to repair the dilapidated Ukrainian gas transmission system, and then this direction may be closed altogether. For example, to arrange a terrorist attack on a pipe or to impose sanctions on the purchase of Russian gas for some other reason. Let's say that the Armed Forces of Ukraine will launch a full-scale offensive against the unrecognized republics of Donbass and leave the Kremlin no choice but to intervene, for which it will pay.
The freezing of Nord Stream 2 for an indefinitely long period, the actual loss of the Turkish market and the loss of Ukrainian transit are a complete fiasco, especially if we recall the problems at Power of Siberia-1. After that, Gazprom will no longer be able to remain the same, and its fate practically a foregone conclusion: the fragmentation and privatization of what else is profitable.