A: The question should perhaps rather be how economically directed the Kremlin is by Gazprom. That both Russia's president, Dmitry Medvedev, and on of the country's previous Prime Ministers, Victor Chernomyrdin, have been chairmen of Gazprom should be a clear indicator. Despite privatization attempts during the 1990s, Gazprom has remained a state gas monopoly with great influence on political power. With increasing political control over so called strategic resources, Gazprom has served as a tool for quasi nationalizations of remaining private gas and oil companies, why its position has been all the more strengthened. The question about Gazprom and the Kremlin is like tha classical question about the hen and the egg: Which one came first?
What is interesting is, however, to look at how Moscow indirectly uses energy as a means of strategic manipulation. With the help of energy, foreign policy advantages and concessions are simply achieved in other areas than exactly the one that each conflict focuses on. Energy is used indirectly rather than directly as a foreign policy tool, where domestic politico-economic considerations often determine foreign policy action.
Q: What do you think about the Swedish debate about NordStream? Is it substantially mostly correct or is it mared by antiquated Swedish fears of the Russians?
A: When Nordstream is addressed in Swedish debate, it is not hard to make up an image of a security policys establishment, where old realist political views are mutually confirmed and reinforced - no matter whether it is about security policy reservations or pretexts for the very same kind of perspectives. The interesting thing is not what is actually said, but what is not said.
A: We, basically, pose the wrong questions about NordStream, and consequently get all the wrong answers. As long as the Swedish political and security policy establishment is dedicated to self-binding about the question of our relations to Russia - regardless of whether it concerns NordStream or general approaches - we risk ending up with the wrong conclusions. As 20 years have passed since the fall of the Berlin wall, it is possible that we as little now as then might predict fundamental changes in Russia. Still, the invasion threat from the East returns in various forms. From military threat to criminality, from criminality to refugee invasion, from refugee invastion to epidemics, from epidemics to energy. The list is long, but what has become reality?