4,500 Kilometers Around Berlin

TOMSK/MOSCOW/HANOVER/BERLIN | | russische-foederation

TOMSK/MOSCOW/HANOVER/BERLIN (Own report) - The "Siberian Year in Germany" has been inaugurated at the industrial fair in Hanover (located in the German state of Lower Saxony). The promotion and contact offensive is intended to prepare an extension of German/Russian economic cooperation, aimed at the world's most profitable region of natural resources. In the gigantic, in part, unexplored, region of Siberia, 90% of Russia's natural gas reserves are deposited which makes up 30% of the global reserves. Also located in this region are large metallurgic works and significant branches of the aerospace industry. Ex-chancellor Gerhard Schroeder holds the strings to these civilian-military activities in Siberia. Already back in 1992, Schroeder, at the time, prime minister of Lower Saxony promoted the Siberian initiatives of the BASF Chemical Corp. and had the parliament in Hanover pass a "Declaration of Partnership Cooperation." During the course of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and with Schroeder's state assistance, the BASF subsidiary, Wintershall, was able to gain entry in the exploitation of the resources in the area of Tyumen, where the largest portion of Siberian natural gas deposits are to be found. Even today, Tyumen, Wintershall and Schroeder pursue common interests. The natural gas supply to be pumped to Germany through the so-called Baltic Pipeline (North Stream) originates in Tyumen. Gerhard Schroeder is Chairman of the Board of the pipeline consortium.


Monday April 16, at the invitation of the East Committee of the German Economy, the "Siberian Year in Germany" was inaugurated at the industrial fair in Hanover, the capital of Lower Saxony. The promotion and contact offensive can be traced back to an accord between the East Committee and an association of Siberian regional administrations, reached in informal talks on the fringes of the German-Russian summit in Tomsk (Siberia). German economic functionaries point to the fact that in this region "the bulk of Russian natural deposits are to be found."[1] This is in reference to the 70% of the petroleum and coal, and 90% of the natural gas deposits of the country, as well as large deposits of nonferrous and precious metals. On April 16, Anatoli Kvashnin, the Russian president's special representative for the Siberian administrative region, along with the leading regional governors [2] were on hand for talks with representatives of German enterprises in Hanover.


As Kvashnin explained, the Kremlin is seeking a Siberian business transaction based on reciprocity. Accordingly Moscow is prepared to have German enterprises participate even more in the exploitation of the raw materials, than has been the case, but he demands, in exchange, support in the development of a competitive domestic industrial potential. The export of raw materials will be superseded by the export of finished products, "which are, of course, more profitable" says Kvashnin and proposes cooperation with German firms.[3] At the same time, President Putin's representative points to the existence "of many unexplored deposits" of Siberian oil and natural gas - "but their exploitation demands an enormous technological effort, which is why we want to use the most advanced technology, also from Germany."


Russia proposes offering Siberia as a raw materials depot in exchange for the necessary collateral investments. Often in the history of the two countries, a reciprocal intertwining of their economies, in which German enterprises have agreed to obligations to implement long-termed measures surpassing the exploitation of raw materials, have been a failure. Already the Czarist empire had opened Russia up to German enterprises, in the hopes of a technological transfer and support in the development of the Russian economy. Having in mind the lucrative business, that had been made at the time, German managers are pleading for acceptance of the Russian proposal, "There is still too little awareness in Germany of Siberia's potential in the realm of industry and science" according to the East Committee of the German Economy.[4]

"Russian Saudi Arabia"

Germany's Lower Saxony is particularly engaged in the "Siberian Year." The state's minister of economy will accompany a business delegation to the region of Tomsk and Novosibirsk. At the end of March, the Lower Saxony representation in the capital, Berlin, hosted an "Economic Congress" for the West Siberian region of Tyumen. Tyumen, sometimes referred to as "Russia's Saudi Arabia," represents 70 percent of Russia's petroleum reserves and over 80 percent of its natural gas deposits. That accounts for more than one-fourth of the world's natural gas reserves. Tyumen, thanks to its intake from sales of raw materials, is currently the most profitable region of Russia and, in the next few years, seeks to implement 60 investment projects with a volume worth approx. twelve billion Euros. By 2012 nearly 400 drilling rigs must be either modernized or replaced completely. German companies - with the aid of the state of Lower Saxony - see this as a good opportunity.


Already during the period of the collapse of the Soviet Union, Lower Saxony was the leading initiator of contacts with Siberian regional administrations - to the benefit of the Wintershall energy company, a subsidiary of the world leader BASF Corp. Wintershall had been founded in Lower Saxony. In 1990 the state government of Lower Saxony, under SPD Prime Minister Gerhard Schroeder, was helpful in achieving the entrance to Siberia. The contacts led, on February 2, 1991, to a "Joint Declaration" concerning the initiation of partnership relations to the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (RSFSR), which, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, was prolonged in two new regional partnerships with the regions of Perm and Tyumen. In a continuation accord, May 21, 1992, between Wintershall, at home in Schroeder's Lower Saxony, and the region of Tyumen, it was declared that "both sides will dedicate special importance to the cooperation in the petroleum and natural gas industries (...) particularly in the realm of extraction, processing and the marketing of the resulting products."[5] This cooperation was further reinforced, October 2, 1998, with another "Declaration". Throughout the emergence period of this partnership, the current Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier was director of the state chancellery of Lower Saxony.[6]

Baltic Pipeline

Lower Saxony's state assistance facilitated a direct entry to Siberia for the BASF subsidiary, Wintershall. Wintershall was the first foreign enterprise to be given direct extraction access to the Siberian Urengoy gas field, one of the largest cohesive deposits in the world. In Urengoy Wintershall is cooperating with the Russian monopoly, Gazprom, just as it is doing in the exploitation of the Yuzhno-Russkoye gas field, from which originates the major portion of the gas to be supplied to Germany through the so-called Baltic Pipeline. Gerhard Schroeder is chairman of the board of the consortium for the pipes, and other shareholders, besides Gazprom, are the energy giant, Eon and Wintershall.


The continuity in business and in personnel that has brought this German-Russian team work through the past 17 years, and is now embarking on an extension in Siberia, are the foundations of a German East Policy, whose strategic orientation stands in a stress ratio to trans-Atlantic interests. Wintershall's chairman of the board, Reinier Zwitserloot, describes the German source of raw materials in the East as, having at the disposal "a unique starting position in the competition with the other regions of the world." "80% of the international deposits of oil and gas lie within a radius of 4,500 km of Berlin."[7]

Please read also: Visions of Dominion, Munition und Waffen, Energiekraken, Stürmische Entwicklung, Großmachtpläne, Militärkooperation, Unheilvoller Schatten, Mörderische Zusammenarbeit, Kooperation und Konfrontation und NATO im Osten? "Das gibt Krieg" and Drehkreuz Leipzig.

[1] Jahr Sibiriens in Deutschland 2007; www.ost-ausschuss.de
[2] Anwesend waren die Gouverneure der Gebiete Tomsk, Omsk, Nowosibirsk, Kemerowo, Altai und Irkutsk sowie der Teilrepublik Khakassia.
[3] Sibirien lädt ein zum Arbeiten und Erholen; www.sibirienjahr.de 17.04.2007
[4] Jahr Sibiriens in Deutschland 2007; www.ost-ausschuss.de
[5] Gemeinsame Erklärung über partnerschaftliche Zusammenarbeit zwischen dem Gebiet Tyumen und Niedersachsen; Tyumen 21.05.1992
[6] see also Sicherheitspolitisch verzahnt
[7] Wintershall beginnt Gasförderung in Sibirien; Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 29.06.2006