Energy 14 December, 2017 11:00 am   
COMMENTS: Mateusz Gibała

Trust, but check. Poland in the context of German-Russian rapprochement thanks to the deal – deposits in exchange for gas

Poland should strive to get closer to Germany. However, it cannot be done with the eyes closed, not to become a victim of German rapprochement with Russia – writes Wojciech Jakóbik, editor-in-chief of

Gestures and facts

On December 7th, 1970, Willy Brandt laid a wreath at the monument of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. It can be rightly pointed out that this political gesture was part of a wider policy, which is a recognition of the western border of People’s Republic of Poland. This was important for Poles who were under the influence of anti-German Soviet propaganda, an example of which is the popular series “Czterej Pancerni” [Four Tankmen and a Dog]. For Germans, however, it was another step towards getting closer to Russia through Ostpolitik. They needed it to obtain future consent for the unification of the country. Warsaw was only a stop for Berlin on the way to Moscow and one should not approach Brandt’s gesture too emotionally.

The foundation of the rapprochement was the “pipe for gas” deal described many times in It had a political dimension. It was about getting closer by strengthening business ties with the Soviets. It also had an economic element, because it allowed Germany to develop the chemical industry and power engineering based on cheap gas. The development of this cooperation was not stopped by the interference of Ronald Raegan, who wanted to impose sanctions on energy cooperation with Russia, but the Western business entanglement in gas cooperation with Russia, e.g. of the companies producing turbines from the United Kingdom, became an obstacle. Thus, it turns out that Ostpolitik, remembered by Poles by the image of the German chancellor kneeling on the already rebuilt ghetto, served to bring Europe closer to Russia, and its possible side effect was a recognition of the western border of the PRL. However, anti-German campaign is not over.

Economic symbiosis blocks politicians

After 47 years, the economic symbiosis of Germany and Russia also does not allow for any decisive steps towards the latter. Despite the illegal annexation of Crimea, which has not been stopped by involvement in gas cooperation through the Nord Stream project, German diplomacy has spread a protective umbrella on the Nord Stream 2 project, which will deepen this relationship. Russia is again threatened by US sanctions, which President Donald Trump is considering, and European business is again protesting (this time Austria and Germany). Meanwhile, Berlin’s eternal apologists are again present in Poland, explaining that Chancellor Angela Merkel secretly wants to break off gas ties with Russia, but her former and potential coalition blocks her. Enough of this!

Cooperation between Poland and Germany in the European Union is highly desirable. ,Poles are ready for far-reaching concessions, as evidenced by the signature of the Polish Prime Minister under the energy and climate package, which forces the Polish economy to a painful, but probably unavoidable, energy transformation. On the other hand, in the interest of several companies, such as the chemical BASF, Germany continues to pursue particular interests to the detriment of the partner – Poland, but also the entire European Union, delegitimizing its institutions through informal influence and paralyzing decisions affecting Nord Stream 2.

Deposits in exchange for gas

Polish-German friendship is most desirable. However, it should be guided by a proverb from Russia, apparently a still more important partner for Berlin than Warsaw – trust, but check. So far, the test result is negative. The most recent proof is the deposit in exchange for gas deal, the manifestation of which in recent days is the Wintershall merger (BASF’s daughter) with DEA (LetterOne’s daughter of  the oligarch Mikhail Fridman), more about which can be read at