Nord Stream 2 sponsors athletes to gain in the eyes of Western societies. It does so, however, to pursue the political goals of the Kremlin, which allows a slow starving death of political prisoner Oleg Sencov, writes Wojciech Jakóbik, editor-in-chief of BiznesAlert.pl.
Nord Stream 2 has become popular again in Poland. This time due to the confusion caused by the fact that the handball game at the European level, in which Polish teams will be sponsored by Polish state-owned companies will be sponsored by this company. This is not the first partner in a row and it is worth citing the facts about it to a less familiar recipient.
The Nord Stream 2 company is a 100 percent operation to the Russian Gazprom. This is the main gas supplier to Poland, which in the past repeatedly surprised PGNiG with breaks or limited supplies. They ended with image and financial losses of Poles. Nord Stream 2 is also a project of the second gas pipeline from Russia to Germany that bypasses Poland, which has the potential to consolidate Gazprom’s dominance in our region, despite expenses, including Poles, to reduce dependence on this supplier in the form of a gas port and others like it.
For years, it has been pursuing a policy of warming the image with the use of patronage over sporting events, e.g. in Germany. Support for Russian capital for sport in Europe is an ethical problem and a risk of corruption, the best example of which could be the World Cup, which distracted attention from problems in Russia. It was interrupted only by a short protest by the organization Pussy Riot, whose representatives ran into the field of the Croatia-Russia match. The act was quickly removed from the vision. The controversial activities of the FIFA football federation acquire a special context in the case of the Kremlin regime. A recent symbol of West’s involvement in relations with the regime may be Vladimir Putin’s dance at the wedding of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Austria. It is also an ethical problem that can cause pathologies in various areas, ie it has a purely practical dimension. Nord Stream 2 patronage over matches is a problem for state-owned companies like PKN Orlen or Polska Grupa Energetyczna, which sponsor Polish teams. PGE Vive Kielce and Orlen Wisła Płock taking part in the EHF Velux Champions League matches will cover the Nord Stream 2 stamps during the match. A purely business conflict of interest in the industry is possible. There are no free lunches in relations with the Kremlin, I repeat it at least since 2013.
– We fully understand the difficult situation of the club in Płock. We support them and cooperate in solving this problem. This is not a favorable situation for the club itself, sponsors and, above all, fans. That is why, together, we are counting on the common-sense approach of the European Federation – says Joanna Zakrzewska, spokesman for PKN Orlen. – PGE welcomes the decision of the club to cover the Nord Stream 2 logo. In this difficult situation, the company supports and will support the PGE VIVE Kielce club. We hope that the European Federation will approach the issue of the sectoral conflict with understanding – informs PGE spokesman Maciej Szczepaniuk.
My energy interlocutors warn that information on the entry of Nord Stream 2 as an EHF sponsor was delayed. The league’s decision that clubs must promote the logo of this company was made at the end of the summer. Meanwhile, according to the regulations of the tournament information about sponsors should reach the clubs by 17 August. There are protests against combining sports games with politics.
Nord Stream 2 is pure politics that is actually a potentially profitable business for the Russian Gazprom and financial partners of the project from Western Europe. However, this is a problem for Poland and the entire European Union, because without sticking one shovel in the ground, through Russian influence in Europe, it divides and allows the Kremlin to govern the social mood of Europeans. Meanwhile, in the Russian prison, the hunger strike is continued by Oleg Sencow, a Ukrainian director and political prisoner who does not eat more than 100 days. Will we continue to stand aside?