Warsaw (dts news agency) – Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has asked Germany and the EU to end the Nord Stream 2 natural gas project agreed with Russia as a consequence of the poison attack on Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. “You can’t threaten Russia from afar with your index finger and then get entangled in the Nord Stream 2 project with the Gazprom group,” Morawiecki wrote in a guest article for the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” (Monday edition). “The only rational way out would be to put the Nord Stream 2 project on file.”
The attempt to poison the main activist of the Russian opposition with a banned chemical, two days before the scheduled debate on EU-Russia relations that was to take place in Berlin, was “a challenge for the entire democratic community in Europe”. The construction of Nord Stream 2 also breaks EU energy policy from the inside. The pipeline makes Europe dependent on Russian gas supplies and is giving the Russian oligarchs a substantial injection of funds.
The most dangerous thing, however, is that Russia, under the guise of economic cooperation, can influence Germany’s behaviour as one of the most important economic and political partners in the EU and NATO. Morawiecki accused Russia of using “precisely calculated violence” up to and including the murder of opposition members against neighbouring countries and its own society. The list of instruments used is terrifyingly long.
It ranged from the politically motivated murder of critical journalists and dissidents to meddling in election processes, attempted coups and the stirring up of regional conflicts to open military aggression, such as in Georgia in 2008 and in Ukraine in 2014. For Russia, the only argument is strength: violence, intimidation and repression. These attacks are taking place in front of our eyes and, increasingly, also on the territory of EU countries.
Poland’s head of government demanded that the West must meet this challenge in a responsible manner. It is not enough just to acknowledge that Russia does not accept democracy and freedom of expression in the western sense. With a state that violates international standards and international law, not only at home, but also on the territory of the EU and NATO member states, one can “not have a constructive dialogue”. Russia openly violates the right of states and peoples to self-determination. Moscow will only change its stance if it loses the financial scope for projects that will allow it to keep Europe in check.