German Businesses Block Sanctions and Finance Russia’s War
The world’s largest chemical company, basf, is working hard to prevent Europe from placing meaningful economic sanctions on Russia. basf ceo Martin Brudermüller, in an interview on March 31, called a gas boycott on Russia foolish. Despite international pressure and the murder of thousands in Ukraine, the German government has adopted the same stance. This is just one of many examples that illustrates who is calling the shots in German politics.
The majority of the German population have been in favor of a gas embargo. Many have accurately noted that giving Russia free rein today may cost even more in the future than a gas embargo would cost now. But all the arguments have been in vain; the German government refuses to change course. Every day, Germany pays $433 million to Russia for its gas needs.
It’s becoming more and more evident that Germany’s big corporations are calling the shots.
Germany’s faz.net wrote on April 9 (Trumpet translation throughout):
After the Russian invasion, Brudermüller continued as usual—as if paralyzed. Even in front of investors, he only mentioned a possible gas boycott in passing; instead, he discussed the progress made in the conversion to climate-friendly production.
After a few days, however, his control snapped and he vented his anger in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. In dramatic words, he warned of the destruction of an entire national economy and of the naivety of moralists. The fact that renowned economists consider a gas boycott to be manageable almost makes him burst. The most vocal, he says, are those who bear no responsibility. His interview is still making waves today.
Had basf and its subsidiary Wintershall financed the Russian war by financing Nord Stream 2 and the long-running contracts with Gazprom? No, he rumbles. The company, together with many others, has been building up a competitive energy supply for Germany and Europe for decades, with the support of politicians. No one could have foreseen the war.
Regardless of criticism, Brudermüller has yet to change his mind. Instead, he talks about the naivety of moralists and the support he has from politicians. basf is the world’s largest chemical company and Germany’s 13th-largest company. It’s infamous for its cooperation with and dependence on Russia.
In his interview, Brudermüller said that an economic downturn could “force the German economy into its worst crisis since the end of the Second World War.” If someone disagrees with that assessment, Brudermüller erupts in fury. Yet he fails to explain that the economic ramifications of World War ii came as a result of Russian-German cooperation and that basf’s parent company, IG Farben, was a key player in enabling Adolf Hitler’s war.
The Economist explained: “The government, as well as industrial lobby groups and think tanks close either to it or to trade unions, argue that a ban would lead to high unemployment, mass poverty and a recession. But some independent economists, as well as a number of opposition politicians, insist that the consequences would be manageable, if substantial.” Still, the German government listens to men like Brudermüller. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that leading economists’ studies that a gas embargo would be feasible were “wrong” and “irresponsible.”
But basf isn’t the only German company failing to halt business with Russia. Bayer, another company that used to be part of IG Farben, is Germany’s eighth-largest company. It continued business with Russia weeks into the invasion. It eventually reduced cooperation in areas that are not related to supplying essential products for health and agriculture. But Bayer is a global pharmaceutical and agricultural company, so there is always opportunity for loopholes. Its ceo, Werner Baumann, said: “A gas supply freeze would have catastrophic consequences for industry in Germany and for the people in our country.” Baumann is also the vice president of the German Chemical Industry Association.
Chemical company Henkel, Germany’s 22nd-largest company, announced on April 4 that it will continue its business in Russia. Christian Bruch, ceo of Siemens Energy, told Handelsblatt, “If we cut off Russian gas deliveries, the repercussions will be dramatic.” Siemens is Germany’s third-largest business.
Volkswagen ceo Herbert Diess told the Financial Times that an interruption to global supply chains “could lead to huge price increases, scarcity of energy, and inflation.” The war in Ukraine could thus become “very risky for the European and German economies.” Volkswagen is Germany’s second-largest company.
The Kyiv Independent headlined an article on April 5 titled “Germany’s Software Giant SAP Keeps Its Russian Clients Despite Claims It Shut Down Cloud Services in Russia.” sap is Germany’s largest company. According to Forbes:
sap’s sprawling work with Russian businesses has been chronicled over recent years, with Reuters in 2018 claiming it supplied 53 of the top 100 Russian companies by revenue. Now Ukraine, which is actively working to isolate Russia from international commerce, is accusing sap, one of the top five software companies in the world with a market cap of over $120 billion, of continuing to support its banking customers who are, in turn, fueling the Kremlin’s war machine.
A Ukrainian government official tweeted that sap’s “money murders Ukrainian children.” German business leaders consider the death of thousands of civilians, the rise of a Russian military power, and the shift of geopolitics less important than running their businesses.
All of these companies have formally condemned the war to one degree or another and halted some business operations. But it’s important to realize: The German government has taken their warnings to heart and prevented not only a German boycott of Russian gas but even a European and global boycott.
Deutsche Welle asked on February 4, “Are German Companies in Russia War Collaborators?” On March 6, the New York Times headlined, “For German Firms, Ties to Russia Are Personal, Not Just Financial.”
“Business, academic and cultural ties run deep, making the rupture deeply personal for many,” the Financial Times wrote in “Germans Steel Themselves to Sever Links With Russia.”
According to the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry around 3,650 German companies were active in Russia before the war in Ukraine. Volker Treier, the association’s head of foreign trade, told journalists in March that despite the sudden large-scale commercial losses, “we have not heard a single critical voice from the German business community arguing that the sanctions are wrong.”
They must not have talked with Brudermüller. There may be a reason why many companies haven’t complained about the sanctions: They can always negotiate a way around them. What’s more, it appears that they have a bigger say in the political decisions than many would like to admit. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry highlighted a recent example that proves this point. In “Rising From the German Underground,” he wrote:
Angela Merkel retired as chancellor of Germany in December. Just before finishing her 16 years in power, she made some statements that ought to shake the nations! But most people don’t understand German history, and these statements mean almost nothing to them.
Donald Tusk, former president of the European Council and former prime minister of Poland, said he had a private conversation with Merkel about the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Much of Europe and the United States (especially under Donald Trump) have criticized this project, which benefits Russia and Germany but endangers Eastern Europe and could lead to a major war. Tusk called Merkel’s public support of the pipeline her “biggest mistake.” But the most revealing thing he said was that she privately admitted to him that she was “helpless” to do otherwise because of pressure from German businesses.
“Ms. Merkel has consistently defended the controversial gas pipeline in the face of intense opposition from the U.S. and Germany’s EU allies,” the Telegraph reported. “But Mr. Tusk claimed she had told him privately that she had no choice because of the pressure she was under from German business leaders” (Nov. 29, 2021; emphasis mine throughout).
“Dependence on Russia Began With Nord Stream,” Germany’s Bild wrote on April 12. To take it a step further, Russia could not have invaded Ukraine without Europe’s constant flow of financial support, and thus Russia couldn’t have started the war without the Nord Stream pipelines.
The question arises, did the German companies behind the deal know what they were doing?
basf and its subsidiary Wintershall were directly behind the Nord Stream project. If you understand the company’s history, you understand what’s happening in the news.
In The Nazis Go Underground, published in 1944, Curt Riess drew attention to a meeting between the leaders of German industry at the time, Krupp von Bohlen-Hallbach and Baron Georg von Schnitzler, in May 1943. Von Schnitzler was the chairman of the board of directors of IG Farben—the parent company of Bayer and basf. At the meeting, the two agreed to formally cut all ties with the Nazis in order to continue their business after the war. “German industrialists have been just as imperialistic as German generals—perhaps even more so,” Riess noted.
Mr. Flurry highlighted another example of an underground meeting, writing:
Toward the end of World War ii, in August 1944, representatives of massive German companies like Krupp, Messerschmitt, Volkswagenwerk and Rheinmetall met with senior Nazis at the so-called Red House meeting. A U.S. intelligence document, declassified in 1996, says that these business leaders were told they must “prepare themselves to finance the Nazi Party, which would be forced to go underground ….”
By 1944, these leaders knew they would lose World War ii. So they were already planning for the next round! This document says, “Existing financial reserves in foreign countries must be placed at the disposal of the party so that a strong German empire can be created after the defeat.”
Prior to World War ii, Germany and Russia cooperated heavily. Is it any wonder that German and Russian ties are now enabling another war?
In a broadcast on May 9, 1945, Herbert W. Armstrong warned: “We don’t understand German thoroughness. From the very start of World War ii, they have considered the possibility of losing this second round, as they did the first—and they have carefully, methodically planned, in such eventuality, the third round—World War iii! Hitler has lost. This round of war, in Europe, is over. And the Nazis have now gone underground.”
This prediction parallels a prophecy in Revelation 17:8, which reads: “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” Mr. Flurry explained:
“Bottomless pit” is not the best translation here. It is referring to a pit that goes on and on, as if no one can ever deal with the problem in that pit.
This is referring to Germany, which will form the heart of a coming European superstate. After World War ii, the elites who had caused that war went underground. Their underground activity continues to this day. This prophecy describes this German-led power as a beast that “was, and is not, and yet is.” It appears to be gone—but it is just underground!
Are we seeing Germany’s underground movement enabling Russia’s war and planning for its own? Mr. Flurry wrote his article weeks before the war in Ukraine erupted, but it is more relevant today than it was back then. For more information, I encourage you to read “Rising From the German Underground.”