Our report shows that Russians are capable to show opinions pretending to be European but are written in Kremlin. It is very delicate, very cunning propaganda campaign. They can interfere in how public opinion is shaped in very unethical way and, by doing so, reach their goals – says Ilya Zaslavsky from Free Russia think tank.
BiznesAlert.com: What is the present Nord Stream 2 economic outlook?
Ilya Zaslavsky: It did look bad in 2019 and this year it looks even worse. Last year the project was driven by political considerations and was not commercially viable. I guess even Russians do not know when it will payback. We have some basic information about this project but no details. From the available knowledge, we could understand that Gazprom is paying money to finish it no matter what the market circumstances are and will continue paying Western partners for gas deliveries even if there is no demand. The market situation is especially bad now for the project. Coronavirus made the gas demand break down so there is even smaller need for a new pipeline. It needs to be underlined that the only rationale behind this project was always political. Putin and his friends wanted to lead policy of ‘divide and rule’ in Europe and to hurt Ukraine, to turn Germany against Eastern Europe and antagonize European Union internally.
Will Nord Stream 2 succeed?
I don’t see Nord Stream 2 finished anytime soon. Russians look for suitable vessel to finish the project but none of them has full dynamic positioning system. It looks like Russians will inevitably need new permits from Denmark which I doubt about. In the end, Americans are likely to sanction any new activity connected to this project and make it stop.
What is the goal of Russian propaganda behind Nord Stream 2 mentioned in the Free Russia report?
There are multiple goals of this PR campaign. It is to show that German business and government is supposedly unanimously in favor of NS2 (which it is not actually). It is to expand Russian propaganda tools in Germany. Russians want to test the capacity of this channel of propaganda. I would not be surprised if those tools are to be used in future.
Could it be used to remove sanctions?
Removing sanctions using the argument of coronavirus is possible. Our report shows that Russians are capable to show opinions pretending to be European but are written in Kremlin. It is very delicate, very cunning propaganda campaign. They can interfere in how public opinion is shaped in very unethical way and, by doing so, reach their goals.
What is the best answer?
It is to spread truth and verified information. Nord Stream 2 is dangerous on multiple levels. Our reports are showing facts about that. This information should be widely known and shared in policy-making circles and in the media.
Written by Wojciech Jakóbik