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Why Russia's Gazprom "does not make money", or the secret of the old thesis 10. 12. 2021 |  Karel Doligsi

Why Russia’s Gazprom “does not make money”, or the secret of the old thesis 10. 12. 2021 | Karel Doligsi

10. 12. 2021 / Karel Doligsi

Reading time 4 minutes

  • The main task of the director of a Russian gas company is not to make profits, but to carry out strategic political tasks.

Although there has been a significant shortage of natural gas in Europe since the spring of this year, with a sharp rise in raw materials, which gave Russian suppliers a unique opportunity to make huge gains from increased supplies, they have acted just the opposite. Gazprom has even been emptied of European storage tanks, exacerbating the energy crisis. At the same time, it is reported from Moscow that the increase in supplies will take place only after approval of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

But wouldn’t it make sense for a business to act in such a way as to increase its profits, leaving other priorities somewhere in the second plan?

Could. But not in Russia, where Vladimir Putin argued in his 1996 thesis that Russia’s energy resources are so important that major decisions about them should not be left in the hands of private companies because it is a matter of long-term political strategy.

So, while German industrialists and businessmen have been shouting contempt at Angela Merkel for years to let them “do business” and not confuse politics, the Russian side has never been without politics — and not since 1996. Quite the contrary.

Managers of Russian energy companies are, in fact, in the position of some managers or, let’s say, tenants, whose task is limited to monitoring the internal efficiency of the company within the strategic parameters established by a long-term policy strategy with a view to managing the state “as a company”.

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However, it must be admitted that the legendary German average sensitivity to cultural differences is perhaps the lowest in Europe, neither the French nor even the arrogant British ever came close to it. That is why, after 2008, many Germans literally revolted against the Greeks, because they did not even imagine that a person in a political position could commit such extensive accounting fraud. Such things were completely beyond the reach of the German imagination. And still others are behind, because everyone – this is the most honorable aspect of German cultural blindness – usually has the same motivations as they do.

While in German business circles, there is a belief that it is possible to carry on the old Policy Vladimir Putin has invoked “mutually beneficial trade that overcomes political differences” out of resentment because it has been hampered by such pragmatic trade, at least since 1996 that there would be no such thing as a “mere business” in energy — and even if it were It is possible, it should not.

What this man subsequently declared or did not say before a German audience, which, as a former Soviet agent in Germany, knows well, and knows what applies to them, is not decisive in assessing his true intentions.

If Europe ever wants to become a truly independent player on the international stage, it will not be just a matter of “overcoming dependence on the United States” (which would be a much more difficult task than it might seem at first glance). At the same time, it must also continually eliminate its energy dependence on Russia at every step, either by diversifying suppliers or by switching to renewables. Otherwise, she will fall from one “subordinate” to another, even worse.

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It remains to be seen whether we will see a sincere and conscious effort for an independent European energy policy. At the moment, we are only watching “robot” Olaf Schultz in the role of the new Federal Adviser and he assured the Russians and the Chinese that “business” will remain fine, because he will decide foreign policy, not the Green Company – President Annalena Barbock in the Secretary’s chair …