Sanctions policy: Who will give in first?
According to scientists at Yale University, the sanctions have caused massive damage to the Russian economy. At the same time the EU, and Germany in particular, are facing the prospect of major gas shortages in the coming winter - with significant socio-economic consequences. A look at Europe's press shows that it is not yet clear who will lose most in the end.
Cooperation or catastrophe
The pro-government daily Izvestia sees two possible scenarios for the coming months:
“Either we fully restore cooperation on natural gas, including the commissioning of the fully operational Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would benefit Russia as well as the EU. Or entire industries in the EU will be left without the raw material that is critical to their operations, and the population will be put on an energy diet. For Russia this would pose serious difficulties, but for the EU it would mean a socio-economic catastrophe. Of course, we want to ultimately avoid the second variant, but it cannot be ruled out entirely.”
Energy alternatives already in place
Europe doesn't need Russia's gas anymore, Novaya Gazeta Europa explains:
“Norway, Europe's largest oil and gas exporter, is already trying to replace Russia in the pan-European energy mix. ... Other energy sources that offer alternatives to natural gas in the production of green electricity should not be ignored. A recent protocol signed between Germany's Vice-Chancellor and Minister of Economic Affairs Robert Habeck and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Støre focuses on the launch of exports of a relatively new energy source: hydrogen. Habeck said when signing the protocol that such deliveries mark the beginning of the development of a pan-European hydrogen infrastructure.”
Commenting in his blog Jinov Svet, Sašo Ornik is baffled by the sanctions policy:
“This sanctions war is strange and it is difficult to understand the Western politicians and businessmen. What are they trying to achieve? So far they have done more damage to themselves than to the enemy. This is very similar to the persecution of Russian oligarchs. For the last thirty years, these oligarchs have been happily draining their homeland and bringing money to the hubs in the West and the Middle East, but now they prefer to keep this money and invest it in Russia out of fear of confiscation.”
A pragmatic Germany will succeed
Germany has shown an ability to make compromises in the crisis, Le Monde comments with approval:
“As far as nuclear power plants are concerned, the decision to extend their operation, if adopted, is likely to provoke heated debates, particularly among the Greens. Yet, several party officials have already indicated that they are not opposed to this in principle. As with the additional 100 billion euros for the German Bundeswehr (armed forces), the government could once again count on the support of the conservatives. When it comes to energy and defence, Germany is paying dearly for its past mistakes. ... But thanks to the pragmatism of the politicians and the solid culture of compromise, even difficult decisions have been made - without slipping into demagogic rhetoric.”