Vladimir Putin: I am very pleased to meet you. How are you?
Gennady Gagulia: To put it simply, things are not great, but we hope that your involvement and your attitude towards our problems hold promise that things will improve. I think you are familiar with our problems.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, in a general way, although I don’t know all the details. I have just talked with [Chairman of RAO UES Russia] Anatoly Chubais because yesterday I discussed with Eduard Shevardnadze energy issues and the possibility of restoring the Inguri Hydroelectric Power Plant. I understand that you are familiar with this topic. And one proposal that came up during my meeting with Mr Chubais would restore the hydroelectric plant, expand it and see the construction of a series of power plants to provide electricity for Abkhazia, Georgia and (as was planned back in Soviet times) to export some of the energy to Russia. What do you think about that idea?
Gennady Gagulia: I think it is a good and reasonable decision to operate it together. We have a verbal agreement with Georgia, and we have divided energy on the basis of 60% to the Georgian side and 40% to us. The power plant is located on our side.
The dam is on the Georgian side, but the actual power generating units are on our territory.
Vladimir Putin: And is the control panel also on your side?
Gennady Gagulia: The control panel is on our side. In other words, the main switch is on our side, and we sometimes turn it on and sometimes turn it off, but of course quite a few problems have piled up. The Georgians are trying to solve some of them, they are working with us. We are trying to find a common language because we understand the role and significance of the Inguri Plant for the whole region. We have offered to sell some energy to Russia. I have met with Chubais’s deputy, and I discussed it with him.