There’s no doubt that in laying down the Nordstream line, Russia has proved its critics wrong. It has laid a pair of 48-inch 1,224-km pipelines through minefields political and literal, tackling the environmental concerns of at least some of the Baltic states on the one hand, and carrying out long-overdue mine clearance of World War II debris on the other.
In doing this, it has achieved a major objective, reducing its dependence on what it considers to be dubious transit states, notably Ukraine and Belarus. It has also freed itself, should it so choose, of reliance on using Poland as a gas transit route.
So, at a cost estimated at anything from $5billion to $15 billion, Russia has given itself considerable room for manuever in terms of how it gets its gas to market.
But just what is the price of this achievement…and who will pay it?
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