Real cost of Russian gas
Few in the West think about the ethics of buying hydrocarbons in Putin's Russia and the real price of such a deal. Let's look at the example of the Nord Stream 2 project - a gas pipeline from Russia to Germany who and how really pays for cheap Russian gas.
Let's start from the place of gas mining- the Yamal Peninsula, where they are going to produce gas for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Initially, Yamal did not belong to Russia, it was inhabited by indigenous peoples - the Nenets, Selkups, Khanty, and many others who were engaged in reindeer husbandry and led a nomadic lifestyle.
The Russian Empire began the colonization of Yamal in the 16th century. The Russian crown was primarily interested in natural wealth - furs, which were actively sold to Europe, a third of the state Russian treas was replenished through the sale of furs to the West. To achieve this goal, lands were seized, local peoples, especially the Nenets, actively resisted colonization, in response, the colonialists brutally killed indigenous people. With the advent of Soviet power, the indigenous peoples of Yamal began to forcibly take away children and take deer. The indigenous peoples of Yamal organized the Mandalada - a movement to save the traditional way of life.After fierce resistance, Mandalada participants were arrested, received 10 -20 years in prison, and died in prison. The discovery of oil and gas fields in the Yamal Peninsula, which promised the prosperity of the region, did not improve, but rather worsened the situation in the region. Gazprom is taking over the lands of the indigenous peoples of Yamal, trying to extract even more gas. As a result, the local population is left without pasture for grazing deer, this destroys their centuries-old lifestyle. The interests of indigenous peoples in Yamal are sacrificed to the interests of oil and gas companies. For the indigenous peoples of Yamal, little has changed since the 16th century, when the empire took away furs from them for sale to the West, now the empire takes away their oil and gas again for sale to the West. At the same time, the lion's share of tax revenues from the sale of hydrocarbons do not remain in the Yamal budget, but are sent to Moscow.
Oil and gas production had a sharp negative impact on the fragile northern nature of Yamal.
One of the serious climatic problems on the Yamal Peninsula is the burning of flaring gas. This is barbarism and wastefulness, when due to the imperfection of the technological process, part of the gas is simply burned and released into the atmosphere, increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the World Bank, Russia is the leader in flaring gas emissions; in 2018, the share of gas flaring volumes in Russia amounted to 21.3 percent of global emissions.
On the Yamal Peninsula, there are about 1,500 such torches burning flaring gas. Gazprom in the Yamal systematically pollutes the atmosphere of greenhouse gas emissions. For example, in 2015, the local prosecutor's office of Yamal recorded an excess of methane emissions by 6 times, and black carbon by 37 times.
Unfortunately, Russian state authorities are not fighting Gazprom’s environmental crimes. The fines and warnings that the Yamal prosecutor’s office imposes on Gazprom do not affect the behavior of this company. Gazprom continues to pollute nature. According to researchers at the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), Gazprom is the second “producer” of greenhouse gases on the planet.
To implement the Nord Stream 2 project, not only the rights of the indigenous peoples of Yamal, but also the indigenous Finno-Ugric peoples are violated.
The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in Kingisepp district passes through the original Finno-Ugric lands. Local Finno-Ugric peoples are concerned that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is destroying their native land - the Kurgalsky Reserve, a habitat for rare plants, mosses, as well as rare species of birds and animals, such as the white-tailed eagle and ringed seal.
Unfortunately, Nord Stream 2 AG hid the true value of Kurgalsky the reserve and neither at the public hearings on the project in Russia and other countries, nor in the Espoo materials, the real consequences of the construction of the pipeline in the nature reserve were not reflected. Greenpeace Austria has received secret minutes of meetings between Russian government members and representatives of Nord Stream 2 AG and Gazprom from a former high-ranking official of the Russian Ministry of the Environment, which discussed the changes in environmental legislation or the boundaries of Kurgalsky nature reserve for the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 project.
Unfortunately surveying work began illegally in the Kurgalsky reserve without any permits. As a result of intervention in the ecosystem of a unique natural area, hundreds of rare plants have been destroyed.
“Double standards" have been applied while deciding on the route of the pipeline in Germany and Russia. In Germany, where the value of the coastal territory is disproportionately smaller than the territory of the Kurgalsky reserve, Nord Stream 2 AG nevertheless considers it possible to use microtunneling method in the construction, justifying this by the advantages of this method. In Russia, under similar conditions and incomparably greater (albeit deliberately understated) value of the Kurgalsky reserve, the "traditional method of construction with an open trench with corridor width of 85 m" is adopted. This last method has major implications on wildlife in Kurgalsky.
The HC2 project not only violates the rights of the indigenous peoples of Russia, it violates the rights of the Russians themselves. The fact is that after the sale of Russian gas to the West, it turns out that it is not enough for own needs inside Russia. Gasification programs are curtailed; 30 percent of Russians live in non-gasified homes.
During the construction of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, residents of the Leningrad region were promised gasification from this pipeline, but they were deceived, and as a result, even in Putin’s native Leningrad region, people live only 50 km from the gas pipeline and, like in the 19th century, go to the street’s toilet and forced to heat a house with firewood.
The Russian authorities are solving the problem of energy supply for Russians in the most environmentally terrible way - they use coal instead of gas.
As a result of the operation of coal-fired power plants, which do not have modern purification filters, real environmental disasters occur. For example, in Krasnoyarsk, the “black sky” effect from emissions of fine particulate dust is systematically observed. On such days, people cannot go outside, because the air is black with coal dust, it is dangerous for them to breathe.
As a result of the Nord Stream 2 project, it will turn out that Europeans will get more climate-friendly gas, and Russians will choke on coal dust, the indigenous peoples of Yamal will continue to suffer from associated gas burning by Gazprom, deprived of the best pasture land, and the unique Kurgalsky reserve will seriously suffer . With the proceeds from the sale of hydrocarbons, the Putin regime realizes its archaic political ambitions, carries out repressions within the country, seizes territories of neighboring states, bribes Western politicians, and carries out propaganda. Obviously, without the demand for Russian gas, this scheme simply will not work. Do Europeans agree with this new reality and the price of “cheap” Russian gas ?!