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Gas pipeline from Russia to Germany reveals weakness in Putin's 'energy weapon'

• Christian Science Monitor
On Nov. 8, energy giant Gazprom plans to start deliveries through Nord Stream, the first natural-gas pipeline linking Russia directly to Germany. The 760-mile pipeline under the Baltic Sea is a personal victory for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who pushed through the project despite technical challenges and opposition from neighbors.

The $12.1 billion pipeline has stoked fears in Europe over growing dependence on state-run Gazprom, which already provides around a quarter of the European Union’s gas. Critics maintain that Nord Stream will seal a dangerous alliance between Berlin and Moscow, reminiscent of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

Gazprom is the perfect bogeyman: oversized, greedy, and always lurking around the corner. Rather than fight its image as Putin’s “energy weapon,” the company relishes it. But the monster is illusory.

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