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Hovsgaard’s book „Spionerne der kom ind med varmen” (The Spies Who Came in with the Heat) takes readers behind the scenes in the political game of Nord Stream when permission for the first part of the controversial gas pipeline at the bottom of the Baltic Sea needed to be secured in 2010, the author told Biznes Alert.

“I document how the Kremlin and Gazprom, with Putin and a number of former Stasi and KGB agents at the forefront, bribed and blackmailed decision makers and politicians as high-up as the prime ministerial level in Sweden, Finland, Germany and Denmark. It’s a nasty story!” Hovsgaard said.

Read alsoEstonia considers Russia’s Nord Stream 2 possible threat to EuropeMatthias Warnig, the managing director of Nord Stream, is former Stasi-agent in GDR and undercover spy in then West Germany, the journalist claims, recalling that Vladimir Putin who is in full control of Gazprom is former KGB agent. 

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“The two men are old friends and have a shared past as agents in Dresden during The Cold War. And when they needed to secure the permission for the Nord Stream pipeline back in 2009, they drew on former intelligence colleagues and used several tools available from the spy toolbox to put pressure on and blackmail politicians and civil servants in the affected countries,” the author said. “In general, former KGB intelligence officers, so called siloviki’s, have prominent positions in Putin’s Russia and Gazprom. Five out of six top executives in Gazprom are former KGB spies.”

Speaking of currently preparation works for Nord Stream 2, the journalist says that “the world is not the same as in 2009.”

“But Putin,s siloviki system is the same. It has not changed a bit since then. Still, Nord Stream and Gazprom use threats towards governments and generous donations to stakeholders to obtain permission to construct the new branch, Nord Stream 2. In a western objective, Putin and Russia in 2009 was a partner to be. Even if countries like Poland, Ukraine, and the Baltic states over and over again warned the rest of Europe about Putin’s and Russia’s willingness to use gas as a political weapon only a few western leaders paid attention.”

Read alsoGazprom, partners pledge $7.5 bln to Nord Stream-2 - mediaIn his book, the author reveals leaked diplomatic cables and documents showing that the geopolitical consequences of allowing the Russian gas project was neglected in 2009. “For countries like Denmark, danish companies  access to the Russian market was of higher priority than stability in Ukraine. Today the politicians know better, but how to say no thank you to Putin and Nord Stream now when you welcomed them in 2010? That’s the dilemma,” Hovsgaard said.

Read alsoRussian gas transit via Ukraine deterrent against Moscow’s aggression - NaftogazFormer intelligence officers from Stasi and KGB, in cooperation with the former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder who serves as chairman of the board of Nord Stream, have a direct pipeline to decision makers in both Denmark, Sweden, and Finland, according to the author.

“Former Swedish prime minister Goeran Persson is now a well paid Nord Stream lobbyist, and the same is the former Finnish prime minister Pavoo Lipponen. As the first Nord Stream company, Nord Stream 2 is also registered in Zug in Schwitzerland and the management is also the same: Matthias Warnig is CEO and Gerhard Schrjeder chairman of the board,” the journalist said.