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Russian ex-minister: Nord Stream 2 is 100% political

According to the expert, the Hanhikivi power plant project also has silent features.

Russia’s former deputy energy minister, Vladimir Milov, is a stranger to his approach to the Baltic Sea under the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline as a purely commercial project.

– Of course, Nord Stream can only be viewed from a commercial point of view if, for some reason, it does not want to recognize its obvious political dimension, Milov says to Web News .

In addition to the post of Deputy Minister, Milov has also served as Director of the Strategic Department of the Russian Energy Commission and has established an Institute for Energy Policy, under the leadership of which he currently operates. He is one of the most prominent critics of President Vladimir Putin’s administration in modern Russia.

No business grounds

The views on the nature of the Nord Stream 2 project strongly divide the member states of the European Union, which was clearly highlighted, among other things, by the recent visit to Estonia by Foreign Minister Timo Soin (sin.) .

However, Vladimir Milov’s message is clear.

– When analyzing the entire economy and financial chain of Gazprom, one can observe, among other things, that the company pays very low taxes. In addition, Gazprom is exempt from the general rule that Russian state-owned companies will pay 50% of their net income under IFRS in the state.

“It is also noteworthy that when oil companies pay compensation for the use of mineral resources for about $ 100 per ton of oil, Gazprom does not have to pay about its natural gas for about $ 30 per thousand cubic meters for some reason,” he points out.

According to Milov, exceptional treatment of Gazprom is due to the heavy investment costs that are practically applied to the gas pipelines. He therefore considers the construction of Nord Stream 2 to be based on a special position for the Kremlin company, for which there are no real commercial reasons.

Logic is lurking

Nord Stream has been justified by Gazprom, among other things, with lower transmission rates. The reasoning is included in Milov’s big question marks.

– First of all, we do not know what the transfer tariffs actually are. It may well be that they would rather rise, he says.

– Of particular interest in Gazprom’s argument are the frequent references to high tariffs charged by the Ukrainian state gas company. However, Gazprom does not mention that the tariffs were the most recent in Europe and Ukraine was the most reliable partner until Russia stopped its gas supplies twice and attacked the country. The rise in tariffs to current levels is therefore the result of Russia’s and Gazprom’s own efforts. Gazprom has been one of the tools by which President Vladimir Putin has tried to tighten Ukraine, Milov says.

– On the basis of all this, I dare say that Nord Stream 2 is actually a 100% political project, he concludes.

Hanhikivi alarm clocks

In the Hanhikivi nuclear power plant project, Vladimir Milov sees features that he believes should be identified in good time in Finland.

– This project has also been marketed as a purely commercial project. At that time, however, it is forgotten that the project is financed by the Russian National Welfare Fund, the formal purpose of which is to ensure the functioning of our country’s pension system. Now pensioners do not get anything but the state-owned Rosatom borrows a huge amount of money for fifteen years at a rate of 3%. Of similar conditions, ordinary citizens or businesses can only dream of, Milov says.

“Rosatom’s way of operating is otherwise characterized by the fact that it prints the price of all the projects it has done at an early stage artificially as low as possible, but the various hidden costs are flowing as they progress. I would be amazed if it did not happen in Finland as well, he estimates.

This is the English translation of a Finnish article published on the Verkkouutiset news website.