Skip to content
Opinion
Javier Blas

Putin’s Gas Strategy Gives Germany Only Bad and Worse Choices

Chancellor Olaf Scholz must either pay for Russian gas on Vladimir Putin’s terms or face the painful economic fallout of a cutoff.

Berlin demonstrators last week didn’t mention the economic costs of an embargo of Russian oil and gas. 

Berlin demonstrators last week didn’t mention the economic costs of an embargo of Russian oil and gas. 

Photographer: Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images Europe

In 2018, German government officials war-gamed a massive natural-gas shortage. With the real thing looming, the lessons are sobering. Some hospitals, nursing homes and jails were forced to close; companies shut; livestock was left to die; hundreds of thousands of jobs vanished; rationing for households was imposed, according to the official account of the crisis-management exercise. 

In just a few weeks, Germany will face the same dilemma that Poland and Bulgaria encountered a few days ago: pay for Russian gas on Vladimir Putin’s terms, effectively breaching European sanctions, or see the Kremlin close the valves.