The giant German company that engineered the pipeline, Siemens, would normally undertake this regular maintenance work, operating out of Canada. The snag is that Germany and Canada have both signed up to the US economic war against Russia and are bound by their own sanctions regime not to trade with the enemy.
The west has sought to exit this dilemma by crossing its collective fingers and hoping that the pipeline would continue indefinitely to function safely without expert maintenance. Speaking as the only adult in the room, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov pointed out that “the Europeans absolutely absurdly make a decision to refuse to service their equipment”, contrary to their contractual duties (let alone basic common sense).
The result of this accident waiting to happen is that all Nord Stream 1 operations have now had to close down completely until such time as a leak in the main turbine has been sorted out, with potentially disastrous consequences for the supply of gas in Europe.
Sooner than admit that their own economic aggression against Russia is to blame for the plight now facing Europeans, Russia is now being accused of “weaponising” the gas supply. It seems that imperialism wants to have its cake and eat it. It openly conspires to weaken and destroy the Russian economy by the imposition of sanctions, yet when those sanctions instead backfire against their authors they cry foul.
Of course, if the German bourgeoisie had not chosen to sacrifice its own advanced and fuel-hungry industrial economy on the altar of Washington’s proxy war against Russia, things might have been very different, with Nord Stream 2 supplementing Nord Stream 1 in the supply of Russian gas to Germany and its neighbours.
Instead, Berlin is reducing itself to the status of a tin can tied to the tail of a feral cat. As the deputy chair of Russia’s safety council Dmitry Medvedev commented on Telegram, Berlin is “acting as an enemy of Russia” by supporting sanctions towards Moscow and supplying Ukraine with weapons, adding bitterly: “They have declared hybrid war against Russia – and this old man [that is, German chancellor Olaf Scholz] acts surprised that the Germans have some little problems with gas.” (Russia switches off Europe’s primary gasoline line till sanctions are lifted by Mirza Shehnaz, Business Insider, 5 September 2022)
If imperialism was hoping that by prolonging its proxy war it could bankrupt the Russian economy, consider this report of a survey carried out by Finnish think tank Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA).
“Russia has earned more than enough from President Putin’s energy war on the west to cover the cost of the Ukraine invasion, researchers said. The Kremlin has brought in £141bn from oil, gas and coal sales since the Russian leader sent tanks across the border six months ago …
“In comparison, it has spent an estimated £86bn on the war … Soaring energy prices meant that the Kremlin was able to swell the coffers of its war machine even as it slashed gas deliveries to Europe in retaliation for the sanctions levelled against it.” (Putin’s energy war profits dwarf cost of Ukraine conflict by Marc Bennetts, The Times, 6 September 2022)
Meanwhile, China has announced that it will henceforth be paying for its Russian gas in roubles and yuan. Gazprom regularly pipes gas to China through its 1,865-mile Power of Siberia pipeline. The day before Russia began its special military operation, the two countries signed a £32.5bn extension to the deal. Go China.