Vladimir Putin’s speech at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum


Today’s speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum relieves tension in several areas of the world agenda at once.
SPIEF takes place two weeks before the US-RF summit in Geneva, the very fact of which is perceived by many as a kind of stabilizing factor in international security issues. Speaking about this, Putin clarified that he does not expect any breakthroughs from the meeting with Biden, but a constructive conversation is not bad. He called the US President a person “experienced, balanced and accurate” and gave a clear signal to his American colleague: “We must try to find ways to normalize relations.” “We will discuss strategic stability, disarmament, pandemic, conflict resolution and the environment,” Putin said. That is, all those topics that, in one way or another, have a projection not only on bilateral dialogue, but also on global processes.
Another signal aimed at detente is an assessment of the situation with the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline. Despite the opposition of many countries led by the United States, construction is coming to an end. The laying of the first string of the gas pipeline has been completed, Gazprom is ready to fill the pipe with gas, now it’s all up to the German regulator, Putin said. The second string of the gas pipeline will be completed in 1.5-2 months. And the United States should not prevent this if it does not want to spoil relations with Germany, the President made it clear.
“The Nord Stream 2 project should be implemented taking into account the US declared intention to build good relations with Europe … German consumers will receive gas through Nord Stream 2 cheaper than through pipes running through other countries,” another quote from Putin.
And one more very important point touched upon by the Russian President in this regard. Gas and Ukraine. It is no secret that many opponents of SP-2, primarily Kiev, feared that Russia, having launched a new gas pipeline, would begin to settle scores with the Ukrainian leadership and curtail transit. Putin put all the accents: it is Ukraine with its Russophobic policy that is to blame for not receiving 3-4 billion for gas transit, but 1.5 billion. “In the case of normal relations, Russia could still pump 200 billion cubic meters of gas through Ukraine , and not 40 billion, as it is now, ”he said.
Gas supplies to Europe, according to Putin, will grow, in 2021 they may exceed 200 billion cubic meters, the prospect of loading the Ukrainian gas transportation system in these conditions exists. Kiev just needs to behave decently and think about its economic interests, and not yell about the “aggressor country” on business and without business.
Two more countries could, if desired, cooperate more closely with Russia economically. We are talking, of course, about the United States and the Czech Republic, which Moscow has included in the list of unfriendly countries. Investments from these states can come through those companies that do not consider Russia an enemy, the Russian President said.
And one more nuance. You frighten us by disconnecting from SWIFT, but we also have something to answer. This is what Putin may have meant when he said that “if the oilmen refuse to settle in dollars, it will be a serious blow to the dollar as a reserve currency.” So let’s not look for enemies where there are none, justifying the policy of containing Russia. It’s best for everyone! It seems that this was the leitmotif of Putin’s speech at the SPIEF.

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