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MosNews: Putin Dismisses Cold War Rhetoric About Russia’s “Energy Superpower” Status

President Putin 

Created: 11.09.2006 10:49 MSK

Over the weekend Russian President Vladimir Putin met with a pool of foreign journalists and academics. Answering the question about Russia’s “energy superpower” status, he dismissed the possibility that the country would throw its weight around and hold other nations to ransom.

“The world,” he said, quoted by the British Independent, “has an interest in stability of supplies and in the development of a stable Russia. That’s our goal, too, and reflects our own interests as well.”

Foreign concerns about Russia’s reliability as an energy supplier, following the stand-off with Ukraine last winter, were uppermost in Putin’s mind. While reassuring the West of Russia’s good faith, however, he dismissed the idea of Russia as an “energy superpower” as a “cold war” term.

“We’re not behaving like an energy superpower,” he said. “We just want negotiations that are fair. We don’t need superpower status.” Yes, he said, “we have huge energy potential that is still underestimated … but we have always behaved responsibly and intend to continue doing so.”

Russia wants long-term contracts, he said. Just as suppliers had to pledge continuity for the long term, “so customers should not be able to turn around and say ’We don’t need it now’. Security works both ways. We need assurances, too.”

Putin also criticized European plans to deregulate the transit pipelines, saying that only the middle-men would profit, not consumers, and attacked the United States for failing, as he saw it, to honor a promise to share high technology in the energy sector. “We still don’t get access. There is still a long list of banned exports.”

Warming to his theme, he lambasted foreign media for using the “energy superpower” term to revive the specter of the “evil empire.”

On energy, as on a wide range of other subjects, Putin addressed head-on criticisms often voiced in the West about Russia’s policies. Russia was not, he said, intent on living off its oil and gas for as long as it lasted. It was already working on diversifying power sources, to the point where 30 percent of electricity would be supplied by nuclear power within 20 years.

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