Germany’s dependence on Russia is a ‘political failure’

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to: Luke Rugala

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Green leader Omid Nouribur demands that Gerhard Schroeder resign from Marcus Lanz.

HAMBURG – Russia on Wednesday (April 27, 2022) shut down gas taps in two European Union countries, Poland and Bulgaria. Will Germany soon be affected by such a measure? In the case of Germany, the decision to stop the supply of gas overnight will be much more difficult for the Kremlin. Otherwise, Russia will lose significant income – it is currently said that €30 billion goes to Moscow each year, we learn from the guests at the start of Markus Lanz’s talk show on Wednesday evening (April 27, 2022).

One of these is Omid Nouripur, who has been the national leader of the Greens for a few months. The host on ZDF would like to know from the politician why Bulgaria is really affected. He can’t find an answer, but Nouribur and the other two guests – economist Rüdiger Bachmann and journalist Claudia Cady – agree that Russia’s move is symbolic in nature and should be understood as a signal toward Germany. From the Polish and Bulgarian point of view, it is easy to deal with the interruption of Russian gas supplies, since there is not much dependency. In Germany, on the other hand, there is intense debate about whether the economic damage caused by the interruption of delivery can be dealt with.

Markus Lanz (ZDF): Gazprom’s empty gas storage facilities in Germany

Quite controversial in his role as an economist, Rüdiger Bachmann assumes that Germany can survive without Russian gas. Then there will be a deliberately induced recession, similar to the situation in the first coronavirus lockdown in 2020. At that time, the importance of the economy had receded somewhat in favor of health and human life. And now? Germany largely finances the Ukraine war by buying gas. Russia wants to sow uncertainty and thus raise gas prices. Germany has put itself in a difficult position through its dependence on gas.

Guests with Markus Lanz on ZDF (April 27, 2022) a task
Rudiger Bachmann economic
Claudia Cady journalist
Omid Nouribor Politician

It soon became apparent that Nouripour, Bachmann, and Cady did not contradict each other at almost any point, but did share many opinions. There is hardly any discussion. The program is an illustrative lesson by Marcus Lanz, who is trying to understand German energy policy. What especially impressed the broker: until recently, part of the German gas network and the country’s largest gas storage facility in Rieden was owned by a subsidiary of Gazprom. Previously, this storage facility in Lower Saxony belonged to the subsidiary BASF until two months after the annexation of Crimea in 2014. It was recently discovered that the storage facility was almost empty – and it appears that Russia caused this on purpose. Nuribor claims that the war against Ukraine was also prepared in the middle of Germany in this way.

In return, the aforementioned subsidiary of the German group BASF acquired the rights to produce Russian gas in Siberia in order to sell it directly to Russia. Lanz was surprised, even stunned. How was such an agreement reached? Nouripur has no idea. Even the economist Rüdiger Bachmann cannot understand the purpose behind this. Although cooperation with Russia was basically a good idea, there was no protection. For Norebor, the business model of interdependence is now “in ruins” – “there will be no more business with Russia for the foreseeable future.”

Marcus Lanz (ZDF): German politicians are “fully asleep” when it comes to gas supplies

Claudia Cady, a journalist for the Welt newspaper, advocates classifying the chemical industry as a vital infrastructure in terms of gas supplies. German politics is “fully asleep” on this point. For example, there was no legal minimum for filling quantities. As Omid Nouripour rightly says, “pure private enterprise” is behind what is actually a vital infrastructure. At the beginning of the war, many state leaders did not know how much gas was actually stored. The chemical industry itself bears a responsibility that it has failed to fulfill. They have made themselves dependent on Russian gas. And now the head of the BASF is asking if they would want to “totally destroy our economy” if there was a ban. Despite the industry’s self-reliance, Nouribur talks of a “political failure” – which he also sees in former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

On 27 April 2022, Marcus Lanz (ZDF) hosted Omid Nouribur, Claudia Cady and Rudiger Bachmann. © ZDF

The leader of the Green Party “expects by a minute” his resignation from the supervisory board of the Russian energy company Rosneft. Schroeder had announced his resignation if Russia cut off gas supplies. “There are people who disappoint you, and there are people who make you wonder how they can still look in the mirror,” Nouribur says clearly of Schroeder. “Then there are people who make me wonder if there’s a mirror hanging there.”

But not only Gerhard Schroeder, but also the work of the state government of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania in connection with the Nord Stream 2 line and the “Climate Foundation” for which it was created must be examined in detail. Nouribur and Kade suspect that the so-called “climate foundation” was created solely to circumvent potential US sanctions and to advance the construction of Nord Stream 2. The foundation received €20 million from Nord Stream 2 AG wholly owned by Gazprom. Qadi talks about an “endless pit” and an “incredible interdependence”. The Kremlin “leads the pen”.

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“Marcus Lanz” Starting Wednesday 27th April 2022 – Media Library Link

But Green Omid Nouripour did not want to call on Prime Minister Manuela Schweig to resign. First, the commission of inquiry required should examine the climatic basis.

Marcus Lanz (ZDF): Heavy Weapons for Ukraine – “That’s a Good Thing”

The group also spoke briefly about German arms shipments to Ukraine. Marcus Lanz wants to start a live discussion before the end of 60 minutes of airtime and points out that the topic could split the Traffic Signal Alliance. Nouripur does not interfere. His clear position: Germany will deliver heavy weapons – and “that’s a good thing.” The Bundestag decides on extradition by a large majority. Nor does he want to know anything about the divisions within his own party. Greens are “everything but neutral,” Nouripour explains. All guests find the policy of Russia and the discussion on the delivery of weapons in the SPD most interesting.

It should be noted that serious misconduct in German energy policy, according to the guests, must be urgently dealt with and prevented from occurring in the future. This necessarily means more government intervention in the economy. Can Marcus Lanz come to terms with that? Politics and business, especially in big companies, are inseparable. A company like BASF is allowed to do business. Lanz is also considered a sign of “freedom” and part of Germany’s liberal democracy. (Luke Ruggala)

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