February 17, 2019
Once the Roman emperor Vespesian said a catch-phrase “the money has no smell”. Though it concerned taxation of public bathrooms in the Roman Empire, the phrase is still relevant. However, in our time and in our realities the sewage smell was replaced with a gas smell. Construction of “Nord Stream 2” gas pipeline has remained a debatable issue in German society and political circles for several months. The arguments were produced that this project would be unprofitable and would not be justified even in in the distant future. For example, in May, Alexander Fek, the analyst of Sberbank-SIB, pointed out that those who would benefit from implementation of the project are not the companies which would serve the gas pipeline, but construction contracting companies – “Stroygazmontazh” and “Stroytransneftegaz”, owned by Russian oligarchs Arkady Rotenberg and Gennady Timchenko respectively, who are president Putin’s old friends and companions. According to the analyst’s report which by the way caused his dismissal, the construction of the access to the sea for the gas pipeline will cost 74,6 billion rubles (about one billion dollars) only, while estimated cost of the whole gas pipeline is 17 billion dollars. The right for the construction was given to “Stroytransneftegaz” company out of the competition. However, Russia has their own laws and orders. The Russian side generally has rather geopolitical goals than economic interests in this project. The question is, why does the German side is insistently getting involved in such unprofitable project? Evaluation of the allocated resources for this project shows that it may be paid off at least in 25 years, and that is the most promising forecasts and subject to the maximum loads. The answer is simple – corruption is bilateral process and its manifestations may be traced both in Russia and in Germany. Especially when the stake is big money. To make it more clear let’s get to know closer Matthias Waring who heads “Nord Stream” since 2006. He is also one of the chief lobbyists of “North Stream 2” construction. You may think, what is wrong with it? He is a successful businessman who attempts to increase his capitals by creation of new assets. Except for the fact that these assets will bring profit in a quite distant future. Well, here is something behind it. It worth noting that figure of Mr.Waring is quite controversial. Let’s begin with the fact that he is the former employee of the Ministry of State Security of the GDR, known as Stasi (1975-1989). At the end of 1989, during his work in Dresden, he got acquainted with Vladimir Putin who served that times in KGB. However, Waring denied his personal contacts with future Russian leader in every possible way until 1991 when Putin became head of the Department of Foreign Policy Communications at St.Petersburg city council. That was Putin who facilitated licensing of BNP-Dresdner Bank’s activity in Russia in 1993. However, that became a history. As for today, in addition to governing “Nord Stream”, Matthias Waring is a member of the board of directors of a great number of Russian companies. This brings him a good profit – more than 2 million euros a year, plus over 4 million from “Nord Stream”. All the companies in which Waring holds senior positions, are Russian or have a considerable share of the Russian capital. Therefore, he has taken an active part in promoting Russia’s interests in Germany for many years. In return Putin awarded him with an Order of Honour in 2012. Waring, his activity and his income, both legal and illegal, are only a top of corruption iceberg in the field of distribution of energy resources in the European market. As we have already mentioned, the project is primarily of geopolitical nature for Russia. Moscow attempts to lock up gas supplies to Eastern and Central Europe on themselves in order to dictate their political will. The interest of Germany seems to be even more doubtful, especially in the context of the promise from the USA to impose sanctions against the companies involved in construction. If the Russian government may easily take money from their people upon the pretext of pensionary reform or tax increase to avoid inflicting losses to loyal oligarchs, the question arises, what will the German government do to save in turn their companies?
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