End of the line? Alexei Navalny poisoning fuels political fire surrounding future of Nord Stream 2
The Alexei Navalny story has featured regularly in the news over the past month. Here at AcePayMe EPS, we believe the developments have direct implications for our overseas contracting clientele. We have therefore kept up-to-date on all the related news, and have collected the information below so that you remain informed on how the story may impact your employment prospects moving forward.
Brought back in Berlin
On Monday 7th September, Berlin’s Charité Hospital made a statement that Alexei Navalny has been taken out of his medically induced coma, having been kept in intensive care since August 20th after he became ill from poison on a domestic flight in his native Russia.
Neo-Novichok and the inevitable Kremlin link
Navalny was poisoned with a variant of Novichok – a banned Soviet-era nerve agent – according to tests carried out by a German military laboratory. Novichok is the same nerve agent used to poison former KGB spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK back in 2018.
Navalny is well known as an outspoken critic of Putin and the Kremlin, leading to many pointing the finger of blame at the Russian government. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said he “is a victim of a crime that intended to silence him”, while the UK’s First Secretary of State Dominic Raab expressed “deep concern” over the incident and has called for a “full, transparent investigation” into Russia’s potential involvement.
Dmitry Peskov, speaking on behalf of Vladimir Putin, has said: “Attempts to somehow associate Russia with what happened are unacceptable to us, they are absurd”.
The future of Nord Stream 2
The developments in this event have led to questions regarding the future of the Nord Stream 2 project. The project was planned to install a 1230km long natural gas pipeline to Greifswald in Germany, directly from the natural gas fields in Ust-Luga, Russia. The project was arranged between Gazprom, a majority state-owned Russian company, and 5 European energy companies.
In response to the accusations over the Navalny poisoning, it is reported that Germany are increasing pressure on Russia to cooperate with the investigation. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said to Bild Sonntag newspaper that they would need to “change their position regarding the Nord Stream 2 pipeline” if Russia failed to comply. Following suit, Henna Virkkunen, an MEP of Finland, has called for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to be stopped. President of France Emmanuel Macron has similarly expressed concern.
President Trump of the United States has long advised Germany against Nord Stream 2, believing Germany to already be over-reliant on Russian energy. Following a letter from the US senate, which threatened Russia and the 5 European companies involved with sanctions if they continue the project, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline was temporarily put on hold. Additionally, after the developments in the Navalny story, Trump has come out in support of the German government threatening to pull out of the project, but has claimed Berlin to be too weak to do so. Trump said, “They [the German government] are closing their plants, they are closing their nuclear, they are closing their coal . . . very, very bad position”.
What it all means
The Nord Stream 2 project is now 94% complete, so the repercussions of Germany pulling out would involve Russia and Gazprom having to finish the pipeline without the help of the 5 aforementioned European companies, as they are unlikely to be deterred by the threat of US sanctions.
With the number of companies involved in the project potentially dropping from 6 to 1, overseas contractors could be directly affected. The result would be a significant reduction in employment roles available. It is thought likely that Gazprom would primarily hire Russian staff members, although there could be a limited number of roles available for highly qualified foreign contractors.
So, what do you think? Is it likely that Russia were behind the poisoning of Alexei Navalny? Will Germany pull out of the Nord Stream 2 project, or are they using it as a tactic to ensure Russia’s compliance in a full-scale investigation?
We’d love for you to get involved in the discussion on our social media platforms. We believe – whatever the outcome – that the developments in this story will have potentially far-reaching consequences for our expert freelance contractors. We are here to keep you updated and to offer you a helping hand. If you have any queries whatsoever, please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.