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oil embargo – new “Berlin Wall” for Germany – EADaily – Russia. Oil. Embargo. Market. News. 05/14/2022. Russian embargo. Embargo on oil. Oil embargo. Embargo on oil from Russia. Trade embargo. World News.

If Germany stops importing Russian oil, the economic consequences of the embargo will be felt primarily by East Germans. The decision supported by the German government could become a factor dividing the two parts of the country. The journalists of the German edition come to this conclusion. Der Spiegel.

The authors state that the future of the oil refinery located in the city of Schwedt is at risk due to the planned oil embargo. According to Reuters, the capacity of the refinery in Schwedt reaches 11.6 million tons per year, according to this indicator, the plant ranks fourth in Germany. The company receives Urals oil through the Druzhba pipeline and supplies the east of Germany, including Berlin.

At the beginning of this week, the plant was visited by the Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection Robert Habeck, emphasizing in his speech that his main goal is to “save the enterprise”, which employs 1,200 employees. As likely alternatives, the change of the owner of the refinery or the transfer of the asset to the trust management of the German regulator, the Federal Network Agency, was named. It should be noted that until recently, Rosneft (54.17%) had the main share in the project, and in November 2021, the Russian company reached a decision to acquire Shell’s share in the amount of 37.5%. On Friday, Rosneft announced its readiness to supply raw materials not from Russia to the German PCK refinery.

Nevertheless, whatever the final decision on the fate of the RSK refinery, current discussions testify to a number of domestic political problems that Germany faces against the backdrop of the Ukrainian crisis. Until now, the country’s authorities have focused on how Germany can help Ukrainians, believing that the impact of the conflict on the daily lives of Germans is manageable. However, in Schwedt, the situation is different. According to the authors of the article, the oil refinery could become the “first German casualty” of the conflict in Ukraine, since its closure will call into question the very future of a small town of 30,000 people.

In addition, the federal government was unable to explain to the East Germans the need to abandon Russian oil. “The oil embargo is a West German decision taken by a government made up of West Germans,” said a member of the Bundestag from the Left party. Soren Pelmann. The prime ministers of the federal states located in East Germany have repeatedly criticized the intentions of the German government to cut off the supply of Russian energy resources. “If it depended on the will (of the Prime Minister of Thuringia) Bodo Ramelova or (Prime Minister of Saxony) Michael Kretschmera different decision would have been made,” notes Der Spiegel.

“A government dominated by West Germans sometimes does not even understand how great the need is for explaining politics in the east,” emphasizes against this background the commissioner of the German government for the eastern federal states Carsten Schneider. According to him, the federal authorities have not been able to convince the East Germans that “the rejection of Russian oil is necessary to end the conflict in Ukraine.” Including because the embargo will harm East Germany rather than Russia. This, in particular, was stated by the head of the regional branch of the Left Party in Brandenburg Sebastian Walter. “The embargo is a disaster for the east,” Walter stressed.

As Der Spiegel points out, many in eastern Germany don’t understand the federal government’s hysteria over the conflict in Ukraine. “There have been 31 wars since the turn of the century, why didn’t anyone care about them?” – said a pastor from Brandenburg in a conversation with the authors of the article. “I refuse to be forced to take sides,” he added. “Why should the people of Schwedt make sacrifices for something they may not understand?”

Moreover, the disagreement of East Germans with the decisions of the federal government is not limited to the issue of the oil embargo. Sociological surveys show that the majority of citizens living in this part of the country are against the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine. “Many in eastern Germany cannot imagine that decisions to ban imports of Russian energy resources will isolate the largest country in the world,” Der Spiegel journalists say. The head of the administration of the city of Schwedt, in a recent interview with the Berliner Zeitung, said that she still hopes for the restoration of relations between Germany and Russia.

In addition to historical factors, such hopes are explained by the continuing economic disproportion between east and west. As Der Spiegel points out, rising prices in Germany have hit East Germans particularly hard, who on average earn less and don’t have enough savings. Especially in rural areas, the words that residents will be forced to give up the use of personal transport are not just words.

Thus, the issue of imposing an oil embargo forces the German government to seek a compromise between the political demands of the West Germans and the economic demands of citizens living in the eastern federal lands. As Der Spiegel notes, now the challenge is not only to Robert Habek, but also to the German chancellor Olaf Scholzwho would not have been able to lead the government without the support that the SPD managed to garner in the east.

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