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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Viktor Chernomyrdin has left us. This is a great loss for our entire country. He was a symbol of the new Russia. Together with our country – a new country – he made many decisions, sometimes difficult decisions, and devoted his entire life to serving his homeland.
He truly was a people’s prime minister and his life journey was long and full of events. He was one of Gazprom’s founders and devoted much effort to the country’s gas sector. He was prime minister during a very difficult time, a time when our country’s economy was seriously undermined and tremendous effort was needed simply to survive and ensure that our people had at least the basic needs in life.
He served as Russia’s ambassador to Ukraine. This was a difficult and at times contradictory period in our relations, but Mr Chernomyrdin always defended Russia’s interests in clear and well-argued fashion, and with the sense of humour that was such an inherent part of his nature. The restoration of good relations between Russia and Ukraine today owes much to Mr Chernomyrdin’s work over these last years.
He was a warm-hearted man of great charm and simplicity, open to all. We will remember him.