“Mechanical Piano”

“Mechanical Piano”

Alexander Khabarov

In Vonnegut’s “Mech-anical Piano” people become hostages of the machines they invented. One of them even fires its creator. Those who in-vent various anti-Russian sanctions today are at risk of finding themselves in a similar situation. In an effort to strangle Russia economically, they gradually find themselves in their own noose.
London’s The Telegraph financial commentator Matthew Lynn accused Berlin of undermining the general sanctions war: “If Germany does not stop buying Russian gas, sanctions should be imposed against it. This is completely unacceptable. If the Germans do not want to make sacrifices, that is their business. But why enter into their position should the rest of the world?”
He proposes to ban the import of goods from Germany until the final shutdown of the Russian gas pipeline: “If it doesn’t work out, then you can arrange a consumer boycott. Anyone who buys a new BMW or Volkswagen indirectly finances Putin’s army – it’s worth considering.” Following this logic, in response, the Germans should abandon the Land Rovers. It is not clear what to do with the British “Mini”, the production of which has long been owned by the auto giant from Bavaria.
The immediate rejection of Russian gas for the German economy is a bullet fired in the forehead. The Bundesbank estimates losses at 165 billion euros. BASF CEO Martin Bruder-müller predicts an economic crisis for the Germans not seen since 1945. Ger-many is already in recessi-on. 49 percent of the country’s population is dissatisfied with the policy of C-hancellor Scholz. The rapid drop in the ratings of the c-oalition cabinet is associated with an even more rapid drop in living standards.
Inciting its neighbors to turn off the valve, London itself is in no hurry to refuse gas from Russia, although its share here does not exceed five percent. This week, the British financial regulator issued a general license for payments to Gazprombank. Local energy companies will be able to pay off Russian contracts until May 31. If necessary, the license can be renewed.
A new energy strategy has been announced in London – Britain should become a key hub for pumping gas to the continent. It comes to the island from Norway and from its own fields in the North Sea, in addition, the British receive liquefied gas and send it through pipes to Belgium and Holland. British ministers are now actively wooing US partners. American companies have set out to send an additional 15 billion cubic meters of LNG to the European Union this year.
All of these are projections. In reality, the price of gas for ordinary consumers has increased by 54 percent since April in Britain, and this is not the limit – another increase is expected in the autumn. As a result, up to 40 percent of the country’s population may fall below the “energy poverty” line. Experts predict actions of disobedience. The leaders of the largest British energy companies are demanding urgent action from the government. “We’-ve reached a point where our industry can’t handle the scale of the challenges,” says Scottish Power CEO Keith Anderson.
Fertilizer prices rose sharply after gas. Ammonium nitrate has risen in price by 350 percent: if a year ago a ton of ammonium nitrate cost 280 pounds, then this is already 1,000 pounds. On top of that, British farmers are facing increased fuel costs. All this cannot but affect their performance and, acc-ordingly, the price of the fi-nal product on store shel-ves.
Following political directives and fear of fines for violating the sanctions regime is forcing the financial sector to lose an extremely profitable business with clients from Russia. British oil giants have already appreciated the flash mob organized by their own hands to withdraw from Russian projects. BP’s losses could be up to $25 billion. Five billion risks losing Shell. The company is now trying to sell its 27.5 percent stake in the joint Sakhalin-2 project with Gazprom for the extraction and transportation of liquefied gas to the countries of Southeast Asia. The Chinese are ready to buy a share, but at a big discount, far from the real market price.
The Danish group Carlsberg, which received up to nine percent of its total profit in Russia, will lose almost one and a half billion dollars by selling its assets in our country. The Belgian brewing concern Anheuser-Busch InBev, formally withdrawing from business in Russia, also runs the risk of parting with $1.1 billion. Turkish Anadolu Efes claims to be vacant profitable place. What is the deep meaning of the flight of European brewers, no one can explain – and consumers in Russia certainly will not suffer from this in any way.
But even against the already familiar Russophobic background, individual initiatives are still surprising. The sports world is shocked by the decision of the British not to allow Russian and Belarusian tennis players to the Wimbledon tournament. English journalist Janet Street-Porter called it “a new kind of racism.”
The sanctions fever is clearly not in the interests of people, but the “political asset” in the West creates such conditions that few dare to object, fearing that they will not stumble at all later. The leadership of the same Shell in early March had to publicly repent for the proceeds of $ 20 million as a result of the purchase of Russian oil for its refineries.
The most perspicacious now calculate in advance what restrictions may arise, so that later they do not fall under the punishing swords of omnipotent regulators. They are trying to guess what other tune the mechanical piano of sanctions will play.

The post “Mechanical Piano” appeared first on The Frontier Post.