Interview with former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov (excerpts)
Q: How can we help Russia?
A: Help from our foreign partners can be expressed in a very simple way. All politicians with clear principles, whether they are now holding office or not, must stick to those principles. They must understand that although according to its constitution Russia is a democratic nation, those currently in charge in Russia are not democrats and do not carry out those responsibilities.
It is imperative for our foreign partners to direct the attention of their own supporters to the fact that the current leaders of Russia are not fulfilling their duties to their own people or to the European Union. That is the main thing. In other words, not to shut their eyes to what is happening, to stand up for their principles and to demand that the Russian Federation fulfill its obligations.
Q: What is your position on the NordStream gas pipeline?
A: Today it is clear to everyone that this project does not have any kind of economic basis or economic effect for the simple reason that there is no gas to pump through the pipeline. Perhaps in the future this project might become economically feasible, but the necessary calculations need to be made and explained publicly.
For this project to become useful it is necessary to have the resources which can be used as well as demand. The deposits have to be developed and the product which is to be pumped must exist or has to be obtained at the same time as the infrastructure is being created.
Since no investments have been made so far and in the near future no big gas supplies are to be expected from either the Yamal or Stokman gas fields, today this project is not justified economically.
Right now we can treat this project as purely a way of exerting political presssure. The gas which currently flows though Poland and Ukraine can be redirected to bypass those countries, giving another way to exert pressure politically. It is not necessary to wast billions in order to have one more method of political manipulation.
I believe that this topic [of the pipeline] should be postponed in order to see how the situation might change and on what basis long term energy relations between Russia and the EU will be built – whether these relations are developed at all.
Source: Põhjarannik, 10 Feb 2009
Translation: Mari-Ann Kelam
Full article: http://rus.pohjarannik.ee/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=8739