Russian State Gas Giant Releases Video Showing Europe Freezing Without Russian Gas

Patrick Goodenough | September 6, 2022 | 4:31am EDT
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A pipeline operator on the Russian end of the Nord Stream 1 Russia-to-Germany natural gas pipeline. (Photo by Olga Maltseva/AFP/GettyImages)
A pipeline operator on the Russian end of the Nord Stream 1 Russia-to-Germany natural gas pipeline. (Photo by Olga Maltseva/AFP/GettyImages)

( – Ahead of a winter that could see a pivotal energy standoff between Russia and the West, a video clip reported released by the Russian state gas giant Gazprom on Monday depicts a frozen Europe after the gas flow is shut off.

The video’s appearance comes as E.U. countries scramble for options after Gazprom reduced flows to Europe, in what is widely viewed as retaliation for Western support for Ukraine and sanctions against Russia.

To a soundtrack of a haunting song, the clip begins with a Gazprom technician closing a valve, sending the gas pressure needle to zero, followed by images of an ice-bound Europe, including European Union headquarters, Paris, and London.

The clip also pointedly shows the non-functioning Nord Stream 2 pipeline – completed in late 2021 but suspended indefinitely by Germany in response to the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine – and ends with a shot of Gazprom’s headquarters in St. Petersburg’s Lakhta Center, the tallest building in Europe.

There’s no commentary, but the melancholy song is based on a poem by Soviet bard Yuri Vizbor entitled, “And the winter will be long.”


President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine accelerated a drive for Europe to wean itself off Russian oil and gas but a number of countries have some way to go to achieve this. Meanwhile the Kremlin, which has a history of using energy supplies as leverage in political disputes, is facing unprecedented sanctions pressure from the West in response to the war. 

On Friday, Gazprom announced that a three-day “maintenance” shutdown of Nord Stream 1, the most important pipeline carrying gas from Russia to Western Europe, would be extended indefinitely.

Even before the three-day suspension – which was meant to have ended on Saturday – flow through the pipeline, which runs under the Baltic Sea, had already been reduced to 20 percent of capacity since late July.

The gas provider has blamed an oil leak in a turbine for the latest problem – citing risks of a fire or explosion if the matter is not rectified – but the E.U. is skeptical.

Vladimir Putin with Alexei Miller, CEO of the Russian natural gas giant Gazprom. (File photo by Alexey Druzhinin/AFP via Getty Images)
Vladimir Putin with Alexei Miller, CEO of the Russian natural gas giant Gazprom. (File photo by Alexey Druzhinin/AFP via Getty Images)

“Putin is using energy as a weapon by cutting supply and manipulating our energy markets,” European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen tweeted on Monday. “He will fail. Europe will prevail. The E.U. Commission is preparing proposals to help vulnerable households and businesses to cope with high energy prices.”

Earlier, von der Leyen spokesman Eric Mamer said Gazprom’s decision was based on “fallacious pretenses,” calling it further “confirmation of its unreliability as a supplier.”

As energy prices continue to climb, French President Emmanuel Macron discussed the situation with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and undertook that France would deliver gas to Germany this winter if needed.

Macron also renewed calls on French citizens to reduce energy consumption in the months ahead, if they were to avoid rationing.

A day earlier, Scholz announced a plan, worth $65 billion dollars, to help German businesses and households cope with rocketing fuel prices.

The German government also confirmed that it would keep two nuclear power stations on standby until next April, delaying long-scheduled plans to shut them down at year’s end.

‘Winter is declared’

On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, maintaining the claims that the pipeline problems are technical, laid the blame for the restricted supply squarely on “the collective West” and its sanctions policies, rejecting accusations that Russia was responsible.

“We see constant attempts to somehow place responsibility and blame for what is happening on us,” Peskov told reporters in Vladivostok, where Putin is traveling to observe joint military exercises and to take part in an economic forum.

“We categorically reject these attempts and we insist that the collective West, in this case the European Union, Canada, and the United Kingdom, are to blame for the situation reaching the current point.”

While Russia officially pushes that narrative, Russian media outlets are being more direct.

Reporting on the Gazprom Nord Stream 1 decision, the Kommersant daily headlined its story simply: “Winter is declared.”

In a separate but related development, G7 finance ministers meeting in Berlin on Friday agreed to set a price cap on Russian crude oil, a long-proposed step designed to keep oil supplies flowing at lower prices but also limit Russian revenues that could be used to fund the war.

Kremlin spokesman Peskov, who said ahead of the G7 decision that such a move would destabilize global oil markets, warned on Monday that Russia would take “retaliatory measures.”

China, among the biggest customers of Russian oil, on Monday indicated its opposition to the G7 price cap.

“Oil is a global commodity,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said in reply to a press briefing question about China’s stance. “Ensuring global energy supply security is vitally important. We hope relevant countries will make constructive efforts to help ease the situation through dialogue and consultation, instead of doing the opposite.”

The U.S. last March banned imports of Russian oil and gas, while acknowledging that some countries, especially in Europe, need time to end their far-greater energy reliance on Russia.

Almost three months later, E.U. leaders agreed to a proposal to end around 90 percent of Russian oil imports by the end of 2022.

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