As the supply shortages and the special situation in Ukraine mounts energy self-sufficiency has risen to high value. Western countries have found themselves heavily dependent on oil and gas imported from Russia. Now many are arguing that for at least a decade Russia has systematically sought to undermine Western energy self-sufficiency, including by funding various environmental organizations and activists. Dominique Reynié, director of the Fondapol Foundation, said in an interview with CNEWS that Fondapol had found indications in its investigations that Russia had funded Western environmental movements, organizations and parties. One of Russia’s goals has been to reduce the use of nuclear power in Europe.
“Gazprom has funded certain environmental organizations, which have become ministers in some European countries, such as Belgium, which have then, in a way, promoted the abandonment of nuclear power in return.”
The Green Minister of Energy is promoting gas-fired power plants
The current Belgian Minister of Energy, Tinne Van der Straeten, represents the Green Party. He completed his first academic degree in the study of African culture. After joining Parliament, he specialized in asylum policy, migration, and climate and environmental policy. He later graduated in law. Prior to becoming Energy Minister in 2020, Tinne Van der Straeten was the second shareholder in a law firm whose major customer was Gazprom, a Russian state gas company. As Minister for Energy, he has sought to shut down Belgium’s nuclear power plants and replace them with gas-fired ones. The transition from nuclear to gas has long been the official line for the Belgian Greens, even though nuclear energy in particular is zero-emission in terms of CO2 emissions.
Allegations of funding from environmental organizations in Russia are not new. In 2011, Polish Mayor Michał Tomasz Kamiński put a written question to the EU Commission on cooperation between the Nord Stream Pipeline Company and environmental organizations. German environmental organizations, such as WWF and Friends of the Earth, which have declared opponents of the Nord Stream gas pipeline, co-founded the German Baltic Sea Conservation Foundation with Nord Stream, to which Nord Stream donated an initial capital of € 10 million.
Water spillage targeted by Russian disinformation campaign
In 2014, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, then Secretary General of NATO, said in an interview that Russia had targeted information-influencing Europe through environmental organizations. According to him, Russia’s goal has been to maintain Europe’s dependence on Russian gas. According to Rasmussen, Russia has sought to increase opposition to the use of European shale gas through environmental organizations. Environmental organizations, for their part, vehemently deny that they were “Putin’s trolls”.
The use of water distortion in particular was aimed at influencing information in Russia. Water cracking is a drilling technique in which gas or oil is removed from shale by pumping water, sand and chemicals into the ground under high pressure.
The Frack Off campaign was successful in the UK
Studies show that there are vast reserves of shale oil and gas beneath the UK that could be exploited by water spillage. Shale gas would be enough to cover up to 20% of Britain’s energy needs by 2050. However, Britain banned the use of water spill in 2019 for the time being because public opinion is against it.
According to historian Guy Walters, the Frack Off campaign against fracking has been one of the most furious and effective environmental campaigns in British history. He sees behind it the influence and funding of Vladimir Putin.
Hillary Clinton: Russian-funded “fake environmental organizations”
In 2017, two Republican MPs sent a letter to the U.S. Treasury Secretary asking them to investigate Russia’s covert funding to various environmental organizations working to curb the use of water spill.
In his letter, MPs pointed out, among other things, that Hillary Clinton, who served as Secretary of State in 2014, had said in a statement to the private public that the U.S. State Department had received Russian-funded “fake environmental organizations” opposed to any oil or gas pipeline projects and water spill.
The price increase “enriched and encouraged” Putin
This year, a group of Republican MPs sent a new request to the Ministry of Finance regarding possible Russian funding for environmental organizations. According to MP Jim Banks, Russia has spent millions on the U.S. energy sector.
– Biden’s war against domestic energy production has caused a 10 percent drop in US oil production. The resulting rise in prices enriched and encouraged Putin before his invasion of Ukraine, Banks told Fox News.