Gazprom is the Kremlin's economic weapon, Igor Volobuev, Vice-President of Gazprombank, who was dismissed from his post after he left Russia on March 2, 2022 and subsequently moved to Ukraine, is convinced.
"Political events have always been the basis, and Gazprom has been the economic club," he said in an interview with Denys Kazansky's YouTube channel.
According to him, for the period of his earlier work as the head of the press service of Gazprom, the company worked out an agenda to discredit the gas transmission system (GTS) of Ukraine, in particular, groundlessly accusing Kyiv of stealing Russian gas.
"We had the main thesis – to show that Ukraine is an unscrupulous transit country for Russian gas. I'm putting it mildly now. We didn't pick up the wording very much, saying that Ukraine is stealing gas," Volobuev said.
In his opinion, the Kremlin-initiated gas wars between Moscow and Kyiv in 2005-2006 and 2008-2009 were the result of politics, in particular, in response to Ukraine's plans to gain NATO membership.
Volobuev said that the constant discrediting of Kyiv allowed Moscow to convince Europe of the need to build gas pipelines bypassing Ukraine, worsening its economy and increasing the dependence of a number of European countries on the supplied gas.
He also believes that Europe has sufficient potential to move away from buying "bloody-smelling" Russian energy, in particular, by revising its attitude towards nuclear energy and saving energy in the winter.