Weekly column: My warm shower supports Russian war machine


Christian Life

Wolfgang Stock, CNE.news

Hot shower. Photo Unsplash, Laura Marques

Last weekend, winter returned to Central Europe. It snowed for two days, and temperatures dropped below the freezing point. We had to turn on the heater again because temperatures were already spring-like the days before.

Our heating system needs gas to produce hydrogen that fuels the heater. And most of the German gas comes from Russia: 10 per cent of Germany's total gas supply comes from Russia.

And at the same time, the horrific war crimes committed by the Russian invaders in Bucha became a reality that is plentifully illustrated.

Wolfgang Stock

Wolfgang Stock was born in 1959 in Hanover, West Germany, as the child of refugees from the Eastern GDR. He studied history and international politics in Würzburg and Oxford, where he also received his doctorate. He is a board member of the German Evangelical Alliance. He worked as a journalist for many years, wrote several political books, including the first biography of Angela Merkel in 2000. He lives in Karlsruhe with his wife. They have five grown-up children and three grandchildren.

The images from Ukraine were and are almost unbearable. And I would have liked to push away the logical connection, but an honest person really can't do that: by using gas for cosy warmth in the apartment and pleasantly warm showers, I financially support the Russian war crimes.

Gas needed for my pills

Financing Russia's war machine does not only happen when I heat my house. I also need medicines every day. And for the production of the active ingredients of the drugs, gas is often required. Likewise, I unconsciously consume many other chemical products or use products made in the gas consuming steel, ceramics and glass industries.

Experts agree that a short-term supply stop would have a massive negative impact on the entire production network of Germany, an industrial country, by autumn at the latest. And because Germany exports an enormous amount of products, this impact would hit many other countries as well.

At the same time, the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia announced that they would no longer buy natural gas from Russia. They took precautions in time and built liquefied gas terminals for gas tankers.

I could remind myself that Bulgaria gets 77 per cent of its gas from Russia. Thus, it is more dependent on Putin than Germany. Italy receives a similar amount of gas as Germany. And Poland, which likes to point fingers at Germany because of the North Stream 2 gas pipeline, gets 40 per cent of its gas from Russia.

But what use is it to look at Bulgaria, Italy or Poland? The only morally correct response to the unspeakable acts in the East would be an immediate boycott of the rulers in Russia. It is unacceptable that we in Germany transfer 660 million euros there every day, even if we get gas in return.

It is wrong to condemn Russian War crimes and still buy Russian gas

Matthew 5, verse 37 often comes to my mind these days: In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says: "But let your speech be: Yes! Yes! No! No!" I know that the context is somewhat different. Still, like many in Germany, I feel that it is wrong to say: We condemn Russian war crimes, but we would like to receive Russian gas; even if our money keeps Russia's war machinery running - well...

My wife and I have decided to turn down the heating considerably at home, and we prefer to walk around in jumpers. And in the mornings and evenings, we heat our house with the wood stove in the kitchen.

At the same time, I am glad that I don't have to govern in Berlin and find an answer to such complex questions for me and the whole of Germany and beyond. And I pray not only for the Ukrainian people, Russian soldiers who have been sent to war against their will, or people who offer shelter to refugees. I also pray for those responsible in the Western world to find wise, morally justifiable answers.



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