Another Russian Gas Pipeline to Europe Down

Winter is coming to Europe, just as supplies of Russian natural gas are being choked off. Is this an unfortunate coincidence, or do the geopolitics of Putin’s bloody war on Ukraine have something to do with it?

For years, mainly under former Chancellor Angela Merkel’s watch, the country became hooked on cheap Russian gas, which covered industrial and household needs. With Europe now trying to push back against Russia in the wake of the Ukraine war, President Vladimir Putin is using gas as his crucial bargaining chip.

The pain inflicted by Putin is beginning to hurt ordinary Germans. “Utility companies are passing on the increased costs of gas to their customers. Gas heats more than half of the homes in Germany, and many residents will struggle to pay for it,” German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported last month.

Since then, the prices have soared even further, with the German newspaper Bild noting on August 12 that the “electricity and gas prices are going through the roof. The electricity already costs more than four times as much as it did a year ago, and gas seven folds as much.”

Days after Russian state-owned energy Gazprom announced that it was temporarily halting its main natural gas pipeline to Europe (Nord Stream 1), another gas pipeline — this time the one that brings gas from the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan via Russia — has gone out of operation “due to damage.”

Bracing for Winter

Meanwhile in Ukraine, the Game is Attrition and Logistics Degradation

Ukraine’s strategy: “To cause the Russians to have as many casualties as possible rather than defending specific pieces of terrain. And then what we see around Kherson is that Ukraine has figured out a way to accelerate that attrition among the Russians by luring them into a trap where they send reinforcements into an essentially undefendable area.” So the frontline isn’t moving, but “the Ukrainians expect them to run out of supplies eventually, and then it will be easy.”

Another Logistics Failure

Who Killed Daria Dugina? Who Usually Kills Inconvenient Russian Journalists?

Multiple unlikely scenarios of how the killing came about, but who is the likely culprit, and why?

Her murder came via the FSB and the Putin camp. Of that much I am fully convinced. Putin needs something to rally the people, to overcome the reluctance (and even possible mutinies in the armed forces) to mobilize more fully if not fully to deal with the Ukraine. A pretext for that and/or crackdowns in Russia.

Ms. Dugina had become problematic in terms of her presentations to the West, discussions in public of what she would do if she was the defense minister versus her cynical reversals in private, and even attempts to usurp her father. Neither are the close Putin allies they portrayed themselves as being, as I noted yesterday that is a thing of the West, not Russia.

Putin Kills Everybody in Russia!

By murdering Daria Dugina, Putin kills three birds with one stone. He gets rid of a troublesome journalist, he forces Alexander Dugin to toe the line or else, and he justifies his own brutal and unprovoked attack against a sister nation. Only in Putin’s mind . . .

Russian losses edge toward 50,000 deaths, and three times that in wounded/captured/desertions.

Russian progress slows drastically in Donbas

The beating that Russian forces are taking can only get worse. If Putin survives this fiasco, he may not be able to hold the dangerously fragmenting Russian state in one piece.

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2 Responses to Another Russian Gas Pipeline to Europe Down

  1. Snake Oil Baron says:

    Russian comment trolls often repeat similar sentiments within a day or two. Recently they moved from “Russia is wining! We are so strong!” to “the West is prolonging the bloodshed by helping the Ukraine.” Today the sentiment was back to Ukrainians are loosing forces too and Russia keeps taking a few meters here and there so they are winning”

    The interesting thing is this:

    If they could wave their magic wand today and have a well functioning logistics system, a military production and repair system not hampered by sanctions and corruptions, a sudden influx of well trained and enthusiastic volunteer infantrymen like Ukraine is producing, a front line that is moving in km per day instead of meters per week at best, a leadership that is really competent and coordinated… if they could have all this, if they took all of Ukraine this year… how much would it profit them? Would the people added to the Russian Federation improve their demographic problem? Would people start moving back to Russia? Would Russia be more powerful?

    Is there any best case scenario where Russia does better by pursuing the colonization and assimilation of Ukraine than by cutting their losses? A *victory* for them is massive casualties, massive financial losses, a destroyed and enraged neighbouring country on their border and the hatred of the world. The closest thing to a prize is a bunch of depopulated fields and burnt forests riddled with bomb craters. A Bronze/Iron Age empire can take land, treasure and slaves from neighbours and make a bit of a profit out of in the short term. This isn’t the Bronze/Iron Age. Babylon, Rome and the Hittites aren’t the epicentres of civilization. This isn’t a winning strategy.

    There has never been a clearer illustration to the saying “play stupid games, win stupid prizes” than what Russia is doing.

    • alfin2101 says:

      Well said.

      Peter Zeihan presents the best theoretical justification for the invasion and attempted conquest. It is based on the psychological need of Russians to feel themselves a part of a great empire, which is almost impossible to invade by hostile forces. It requires Russia to keep going beyond Ukraine and to conquer all or part of Poland, Romania, Moldova, all of the Baltic countries, and to solidify control over Belarus.
      But Russia has its hands full right now controlling what it is already occupying inside Ukraine, to say nothing of its inability to gain new ground in any timely fashion. What are the odds that Russia can exhibit the massive power that Peter Zeihan expects from them to conquer the entire region beyond Ukraine?

      Russia already controlled all of that area once, with the combination of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact. The collapse of that arrangement happened just over 30 years ago, and memories in the region are fresh of Russian abuses between the end of WWII and the collapse of the USSR/Warsaw Pact.

      If Russia wants to get all of that territory and control back again — just like 1946 — it will need a lot more than threats of nuclear war and natural gas embargoes. The people of the area, and the people inside Russia who still have working brains, will not stand for it. Russia does not have the clout to reverse a history and a demographics which are stacked against it.

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