Tag Archives: Lukoil

«Endeavor to change regime in Russia – nearly official explanation for sanctions»

Dmitry Evstafyev, born 1966, graduated from College of Asian and African Studies of Moscow state University and pre-doctorate courses Institute of USA and Canada Studies of Russian Academy of Sciences. Since 1992 – engaged in political and security studies. Since 2001 – actively worked in business PR, risk assessment, and strategic consulting business. Worked with and in major Russian industrial corporations. Since 2013 – Professor of Chair of Integrated communications of National Research University – Higher School of Economics.

Romanian-flag– Mr. Evstafyev, you said in one of your recent article that between Putin’s speech at the Yalta and Sochi (Valdai) are notable differences. But I think it’s normal, also the target audience was different. Am I wrong ? Give our readers some details about you opinion.

Evstafyev– You are both right and wrong. You are right from the point of view of immediate audience. It is definitely foreign politicians and political scientists. You are wrong from the point of view of the major audience. That is Russian “ruling class” and its associates. Everybody in Russia for some time was waiting for “signals” from President. Signals came and they were quite strong. They reflected the new – more difficult – political situation and integrity of the “inner circle”. These are predominantly “internal” messages. They also reflect absence of radical foreign policy plans. But that is also an important “internal” message.
In general one should understand that for current Russian leadership at this point of their political life “domestic” (in a wide meaning of the term) is much more important that “foreign”. That is why the “Valdai” speech was so widely covered in Russia. Much wider than “Yalta” speech.

– You say that Russia should take advantage of the current window of opportunity and initiate a systemic reform of the government and political stage. Do you think that we will witnesses to significant changes in the two plans in the next few months?

– I would draw you attention to my other article – “Chances for development”/ ”Шансы на развитие”  (published in gazeta.ru, November 3, 2014). Some important points were outlined there. If we will not witness a drastic change including reshuffle of the upper echelons, the political crisis in late 2015 – early 2016 is inevitable. The “Valdai” speech shows that Kremlin at least sees that threat. To what extent Kremlin is able and ready to act – that is a big question to which no one knows the answer. But the pressure for “less liberal” and more “industrial” (we call that “anti-Kudrin”) economic agenda grows. The problem is that the worse the economic situation is and the more pressure the West puts on Russia the smaller the chance for liberals in the government to survive.


– In April, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has published an article entitled “Putin should prepare for a long Ice Age period”. Now, the same journal released a column signed by John Kerry, that seems an invitation to calm down the tensions between US and Russia. Course, sanctions go on, but what do you think ? Will have a new Cold War or is time to back the business as usual ?

– There would probably be not a Cold War in a traditional sense since there is little (but some and that is important ideological content) and no global bipolarity. But the confrontation has already started. The West in general does not conceal that its target is to change a regime in Russia with – let’s say – trans-constitutional means. That was an explicit – nearly official – explanation for sanctions. That definitely “means war” (like in Buggs Bunny cartoons). That could be called “hybrid Cold War” but in general the Western idea that it could try to remove regime in Moscow simultaneously trying to cooperate with it where the West wants (jihadists, Iran, non-proliferation) looks ingenuously stupid. War means war. And for Russian economy and policy the “long ice” period (10 years I think) would be not good. It would be great.

– The presence of President Putin at APEC and G20 Summit changed something regarding bilateral relations between Russia and the West countries ?

– No. The mid-term political line is determined and no one seems to be ready to pull back. The earliest time for changes – early spring. I do not think that any chances for dialogue would emerge in spring but who knows…… The starting point is clear – West should unequivocally recognize that the Crimea belongs to Russia, but I do not think that it is ready yet. We can wait…..

– Oil and gas market has been “pretty turbulent” in recent months. Chart.ashxYou also work on the business consulting field. Give me an advice, please: if I am a Chinese businessman, should I buy shares to Rosneft?

– If you are Chinese and you are a businessman – yes, buy. If you are US or EU and you are an “investor” (you are engaged in speculative transactions at the fund market) – sell. If you are real US businessman – buy. If you are real businessman from EU – sell to Chinese or Indian. There will be very little space (if any) for EU-based business in fuel and energy sphere in Russia if the current political trend continues. There will be, though, space for others.

I ask you about because actually, we notice that “Gazprom”,“Rosneft” and “Lukoil” are considering re-placement of their shares on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong in Asian currencies. As the “Interfax” said, the topic was discussed last week at a meeting of Russian Ministry of Economic Development with its counterpart in Hong Kong as part of the APEC summit in Beijing. Do you think it’s a move with medium and longterm impact on oil and gas market?

– In a mid-term perspective – yes. In a sort term – no. At this time too little of operational and financial infrastructure in the Far East exists for these companies despite the fact that the recommendations to develop it were put on the table in early 2000s. It would take 2-3 years under current circumstances to develop it. After that the impact could and would start to grow.

– Finally, but not least important thing: how is perceived from Moscow the recent result of Romanian presidential election ?

Hardly noticeable. Interesting. Absolutely opposite situation here. At the local Moscow elections all who used “I-ph”, Facebook, Vkontakte as well as administrative resource lost. Heavily. Grass-roots. Interesting result. Much more attention to Moldova election. Moscow is not enthusiastic about Moldova division. In my understanding Moscow would prefers to maintain status-quo. But considering other issues – one more Moldova, one less Moldova – no big deal. People in Europe do not understand that they pushed Russians (most of them, excluding not very many selected personalities) beyond the “threshold of pain”. People think that the crisis and confrontation would be anyway. Than why we should be “nice”?

interview made by Gabriela Ionita

SPIEF 2012 – Overview of the Russian Davos

Varianta în limba română o puteți citi pe site-ul powerpolitics.ro.

Geopolitics and business

Many flaws can account for the Russian leadership agenda in last decade. But there are also some clear gains. Among them – the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg (SPIEF) – become a top event in the field and not by chance called Russian Davos. Until 2006 the Forum was conducted by the the Inter-parliamentary Assembly of Member Nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Federation Council of Russia; from 2006, in accordance with Presidential directive, the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation has been responsible for the organization of the Forum.

The 16th edition of St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, the annual conference dedicated to economic and business issues that draws several thousand political and business leaders, leading scientists, and public figures from around the world, is held under the patronage of the President of Russia and runs June 21 to 23 2012. The forum’s theme of actual edition – “Leadership That Works.”

The program of SPIEF 2012  focus on the following key topics:

  • Securing the Future
  • Realizing Russia’s Potential
  • Leadership in Focus
  • Responding to Impact Technologies

Business round-tables: Arab World, CIS, EU, India, Turkey, USA, focus on the role of emerging economies in global governance, highlighting the strengths these promising economic powers can use to shape the international agenda. Also offer the global business, political and media community the opportunity to engage with the new Russian government and examine its modernization agenda.


Of course, investment in organizing such an event is not a minor, and earnings (not just those of the image) to match. Noticed: 39 agreements were signed during the first day of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, of which nine agreements/contracts were valued at a total of 292 billion, 218 million roubles. Among the agreements signed are: LUKOIL and the Italian company Enel signed a memorandum of co-operation in the gas industry. Vagit Alekperov, head of the largest section of the Russian gas company OAO LUKOIL, and Fulvio Conti, general manager and chief financial officer of the Italian company Enel, signed the memorandum of mutual understanding and co-operation in the gas industry according to the Russian company. OAO Sberbank of Russia and Bank of America Lynch signed Framework agreement on trade financing. Co-operation between Russian and US banks expands the opportunities for organizing financing of foreign trade turnover and promotes further development of a comprehensive proposal for corporate clients of Sberbank involved in foreign trade. Also, in the presence of Herman Gref, president, chairman of the management board of Sberbank of Russia, and Fred Hochberg, chairman of the management board, president of the US Export-Import Bank, an agreement was concluded on mutual understanding and implementation of a medium and long-term financing programme for Sberbank, as well as on guarantees and insurance of export credits in favour of third parties for financing export transactions from the USA with the participation of Sberbank clients.

Rosneft and Norwegian Statoil signed an agreement on participation in tenders on the Norwegian shelf and development of difficult reserves in Russia. Also Rosneft signed agreements with General Electric and Italian Company Eni.

Rosatom is prepared to invest in the construction of the third phase of the Temelin nuclear power plant in the Czech Republic, and Inter RAO has already sent specialists to discuss possible investment options in the new units, Rosatom head Sergei Kiriyenko said Thursday, Interfax reported.

…and not just business

Economic growth is impossible without a mature civil society, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin stated when addressing the St.Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on June 21. He added that the government is open for a dialogue as the interests of the majority should not hurt the rights of the minority. According Itar-Tass, Putin pledged that Russia will continue to further improve its democracy and the goal of any reforms is to improve people’s living standards. He also said that any politician shouldn’t forget about the rule of law as a desire of change is a driving force for progress but becomes counter-productive and dangerous if it threatens civil peace.

“Wealth is not what it is in your pocket; it’s what is in your head.” – Kamran Elahian, Chairman and Co-Founder of Global Catalyst Partners.

“Business is people. Business is human relationships, the ability to create a team around you that think the same way.” – Victor Vekselberg, president of Skolkovo Foundation

“We probably do need to see an adjustment by the Government toward 21st century standards.” – Andrei Shleifer, Professor, Harvard University