Question: Could you share your impressions of what you have seen. What is the importance of the event?
Vladimir Putin: The question of the necessity to get rid of the pressure and diktat on the part of our partners arose immediately after the change of the geopolitical situation in Russia, when it lost many of its port facilities in the Baltic. Discussions about building additional port facilities, including oil terminals, began in 1992 and lasted a long time.
After some of our businessmen settled down in some Baltic countries it became clear that they were not particularly interested in it. But the country has been interested in it from the very beginning. A good deal of work has been carried out with our oilmen and partners to reassure them that Russia is not moving away from other countries, including the Baltic countries and Finland. Russia’s only concern is to ensure its own security and independence.
Russia is not only acquiring its own “window” in that part of Europe for the transportation of oil, but we are getting an opportunity to strike a flexible balance between the Mediterranean market and the market in Western and Northern Europe.
It opens up additional opportunities for our partners in the CIS countries. I have already talked with some CIS leaders about it. And many are very positive about what we have done here on the Baltic. Among others, we discussed it in some detail with Kazakhstan.