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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Adviser Says Poland 'Hysterical' Over Pipeline

MTGleb Pavlovsky
WARSAW -- Poland's opposition to the gas pipeline Russia is building under the Baltic Sea to Germany is "hysterical," said Gleb Pavlovsky, a political adviser to President Vladimir Putin.

"I understand that a hysterical atmosphere has prevailed in Poland, and in this situation it's difficult to use rational arguments, it's difficult to explain anything at all," Pavlovsky wrote in the Polish newspaper Dziennik on Thursday. "However, this isn't Russia's problem."

State-owned Gazprom, the world's biggest gas producer and Russia's largest company, is building a $10.5 billion link between Germany, its biggest customer, and fields in Western Siberia. The project, overseen by former German Chancellor Gerhard Schr?der, will bypass Poland and Ukraine, which earn transit revenue from Russian gas shipments to Western Europe.

Polish Defense Minister Radoslaw Sikorski compared the project to the pact Stalin and Hitler made to divide Poland at the outbreak of World War II. That comparison is "grotesque," wrote Pavlovsky, who runs the Foundation for Effective Politics in Moscow.

Gazprom owns 51 percent of the project, called the North European Gas Pipeline, and Germany's E.On and BASF split the rest. Putin said during a meeting last week with German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the link would increase Europe's energy security.

"We have succeeded in establishing a sensible dialogue with Germany -- Chancellor Angela Merkel has turned out to be an unusually level-headed politician," Pavlovsky wrote in Thursday's opinion piece.

Russia is seeking closer relations with Germany to keep the European Union from having a single negotiating position at the G8 summit in St. Petersburg in July, analysts said.