Sir, – Your editorial wrestles with the contradictions of German chancellor Olaf Scholz's policy towards Russia ("The Irish Times view on the Ukraine crisis: Olaf Scholz's big test", January 21st).
His Social Democratic Party (SPD) warns against “politicising” the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
The origins of the pipeline are directly connected to the SPD, particularly with Gerhard Schröder, the last SPD chancellor of Germany.
In 2000, the government of Gerhard Schröder decreed that all Germany’s nuclear power plants would close by 2022.
Shortly before he was voted out of office, Mr Schröder agreed to the deal for the first Nord Stream pipeline with Russian president Vladimir Putin – and then immediately on leaving office became chairman of the board of the company operating the pipeline.
He is now also chairman of the board of directors of the Russian oil company Rosneft.
In 2010 Angela Merkel revised the phase-out date to a more realistic 2032.
However, following the 2011 Fukushima accident, Chancellor Merkel closed eight nuclear power plants immediately and ruled that the remainder would close by 2022, instead of 2032.
The premature closure of these plants made Germany completely dependent on imported gas and the construction of nine coal-fired power stations (burning dirty brown coal, with an expected life of more than 50 years).
Gerhard Schröder is currently chairman of Russian state-controlled oil producer Rosneft, while also serving as chairman of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, a project owned by Russian state-run gas company Gazprom.
You are correct to observe that there is a “credibility gap between some German politicians’ words and actions”.– Yours, etc,
Dr JOHN DOHERTY,
Sir, – Germany isn’t just preventing lethal weapons being exported to Ukraine.
In December, Ukraine’s defence minister Oleksii Reznikov revealed that Germany had vetoed the sale via Nato’s procurement agency of anti-drone signal-jamming “rifles” and anti-sniper systems to his country.
These passive defensive systems are badly needed to prevent drone and sniper attacks on Ukrainian soldiers and civilians in likely combat zones.
After protests from other Nato allies, Germany relented on the former but not the latter.
All the while it continued building the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline designed to connect Germany to cheap supplies of Russian natural gas.
German policy toward Ukraine is not “rooted in history”, as its foreign minister Annalena Baerbock claims, but rather based on selfishness and hypocrisy. – Yours, etc,