Compliance with Russian payment demands in rubles for gas deliveries: Western reporting falls on its own sword
It is widely assumed in the general public that all Russian news sources are propaganda, which justifies the banning of these sources from the airwaves, or to put it into simpler English, justifies the unprecedented Western censorship about which none of our human rights activists seems to care a fig. So much for European values!
However, in the The Financial Times reporting today on the unraveling of Europe’s supposed unified stand against payment for Russian gas in rubles we see that censorship is destroying not the Russia media but the Western media which, in the absence of competition and challenge, is printing and disseminating every ignorant and self-contradictory utterance that comes out of the mouths of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Charles Michel and Co. without exercising the slightest logic check.
Let me be specific. The article in question is entitled “EU energy groups prepare to meet Vladimir Putin’s terms for Russian gas. Germany’s Uniper and Austria’s OMV plan rouble accounts while Eni of Italy weighs options”. This piece has been slapped together by Sam Jones in Vienna, Andy Bounds in Brussels, Guy Chazan in Berlin and Marton Dunai in Budapest. Going through the text and encountering the whoppers I will discuss below, you have to wonder where is the editorial staff of the FT to keep their feature articles at a level worthy of the world’s business elites who are their subscribers.
In line with the overall propaganda line set by the United States in the ongoing vicious Information War, cause and effect are systematically reversed. Every dastardly intention and act laid at the door of Russia is, upon a moment’s reflection, actually being initiated by the West. This game starts early on, in paragraph five: “The preparations [for payment in rubles as demanded by Russia] show the impact of Russian efforts to weaponise gas supplies and challenge the EU’s ability to maintain a united front against Moscow.”
The authors have not gone one step further in their reasoning: they do not suggest that the evil intention of the Kremlin is to sow discord among European states. That is the subject of another feature article in today’s online edition of The Financial Times entitled “‘Divide and rule’: Russia’s rationale for halting gas flows to Poland and Bulgaria.” Apparently the authors Harry Dempsey and Neil Hume have forgotten or never heard the remark attributed to Sigmund Freud that sometimes ‘a cigar is just a cigar,’ meaning that there is no need for exotic explanations of a simple fact.
Wouldn’t it be more logical to say that the unprecedented freezing of Russian Bank dollar and euro assets in the West had the effect of “weaponizing” gas supplies? If the existing contracts calling for payment in euros were to continue, the effect, as intended by the European policy makers, was to deprive Russia of the proceeds of its sales, all of which would be frozen in turn.
In the next paragraph the FT authors quietly acknowledge that “the EU sanctions against Russia’s central bank” prompted Vladimir Putin to impose the new rules for payment in rubles purchased on the Russian currency market. Of course, no conclusions are drawn from this fact regarding who is acting and who is reacting.
Then the FT cites Ursula von der Leyen’s description of the Russian cutoff of gas to Poland and Bulgaria over their refusal to sign up to the new payment scheme as “being tantamount to blackmail.” Blackmail? No deliveries if we get no money is blackmail? Or is it rather just the application of normal rules of international business?
The FT writer group then opines that compliance with Russia’s new payment procedures “would result in Russia being able to access billions in gas revenues to support its currency and its economy…” But why else does one country sell its wares to another country? Out of charity? With no cash receipts expected or demanded?
I will not belabor the points made above. The FT can make its pitch to schoolchildren who have never studied business or economics. But how they dare to feed this nonsense to the company directors and bank presidents who comprise their readership defies comprehension.
©Gilbert Doctorow, 2022