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European dependence on Russian energy is already heavy and the pipeline expands dependence. Opponents have seen the pipeline as a move by Russia to bypass traditional transit countries (currently Ukraine, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Belarus and Poland).
Some transit countries are concerned that a long-term plan of the Kremlin is to attempt to exert political influence on them by threatening their gas supply without affecting supplies to Western Europe. The fears are strengthened by the fact that Russia has refused to ratify the Energy Charter Treaty.
Critics of Nord Stream say that Europe could become dangerously dependent on Russian natural gas, particularly since Russia could face problems meeting a surge in domestic as well as foreign demand.
Following several cuts to supplies to Ukraine, and further on to Europe on 1 January 2006 and 1 January 2009, as well as foreign policy towards Eastern Europe, it has been noted that the distribution of gas can be used as a political tool from the Russian state through Gazprom, which it owns.
In April 2006 Radosław Sikorski, then Poland's defence minister, currently the foreign minister, compared the project to the infamous 1939 Nazi-Soviet Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.
...70% will be from external financing by banks...
Originally posted by Freeborn
To what extent are we, The UK, reliant on Russian gas and if the situation deteriorated how would / could it effect us?
Originally posted by pause4thought
On the other hand maybe it's the solution to the transit problem, and will actually improve energy security. New pipelines providing gas from non-Russian sources are being planned, though interestingly not on a sufficient scale to cancel Europe's overwhelming dependence on Russian gas.
But this still begs the question: can Russia be trusted to use Gazprom as a purely economic enterprise? Or will it also be used as a political tool, potentially even as an instrument for blackmail?