Political scientist, historian, former adviser to Boris Yeltsin Sergei Stankevich
Photo: Ivan VISLOV
… – Sergey Borisovich, in recent months you have made several business trips to Turkey. On Thursday, January 5, a telephone conversation took place between Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan. What do you think of this communication? Articles already published…
– Alexander, I pay attention mainly to peaceful things, as you know, and I am very attracted to the formation of a powerful energy center through the joint efforts of Russia and Turkey.
It will supply power to the Middle East and at least southern Europe.
Let me remind you that the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant is already in full swing.
– That’s just what she was talking about. I already talked with Dmitry Peskov, and he said that it was a rather long conversation, and this is due to the fact that there were a lot of topics that needed to be discussed.
– Yes, yes, but by the way, I have already visited this site, where 25 thousand people now work, almost without a break.
And in the coming year, the delivery of nuclear fuel to the first unit of the nuclear power plant is already beginning, and in 2023 this first unit should be launched.
– How much will it be?
– Four blocks – 1200 megawatts each.
– Where does the fuel come from?
– Russia is a contract fuel supplier, and will also take spent materials for further processing.
And the future staff of this station is already in training in Russia.
– In the message of the Kremlin press service about the telephone conversation of the presidents, separated by commas, the gas hub is also mentioned.
– At first, a wave of comments spread -both in the foreign press and in our press- and, above all, skeptical, ironic…
We didn’t have those.
– I am only judging by the international press. And in our networks I saw replicas of this type.
– No, I mean, there was no such thing in Komsomolskaya Pravda.
– You are still the elite of the press.
But now, when the details are cleared up, the idea looks very promising.
– What is it about?
– As it turned out, now, according to the annual results of Gazprom’s work, the main market for us (until last year, such a premium one) has seriously “sunk”.
It is true that we are now partially switching to liquefied gas, but this is unmatched in terms of volumes.
– What are the prospects?
– If we create a serious storage base in Turkey, and we are talking about underground storage facilities with sufficient capacity, then gas from Russia will come in larger volumes.
– And we also discussed the issue of the grain agreement several times, and this was discussed again in today’s negotiations. He has always been somehow not just skeptical, but critical of what is happening. Do you have any confidence today that Russia’s position will be supported?
– I am an ardent supporter of this agreement from the very beginning, I supported it in every possible way. And I continue to affirm that it arose with great urgency and on time, as a visible alternative to military action.
That is, Russia and Ukraine interact in such a completely peaceful and noble food project. And the very existence of this alternative is the right incentive for the construction of peace.
But so far, unfortunately, I have much less optimism here.
On the one hand, everything seems to be successful: Ukraine has already passed the milestone of 12 million tons since the start of this Black Sea food initiative and 12 million tons of food have already been exported from three Ukrainian ports. About a quarter of food is exported to really needy and hungry countries, through the UN.
However, the flip side of this deal is the possibility of Russia exporting food as well, and we are primarily interested in…
– Oh, of course. And here is the situation: I will not say that it is at zero, but not far from zero. Here are a couple of ships shipped late last year with fertilizer, but this is a drop in the bucket.
But the EU has yet to issue a directive on this matter, despite the fact that both the UN and Erdogan have been personally pushing for such a step for a long time.
– Are you going to go to Turkey in the near future?
– Yes, right now I am planning a trip to Istanbul in January, a very interesting initiative is planned there – they invite me to discuss it.
– What is its meaning?
– We are talking about the creation of an expert council – the center of the Eurasian dialogue “Bosporus”. (For now, it’s a working title.)
And the point is that experts from Russia, Turkey, European countries, including Ukraine, could meet and have some kind of exchange of views. On how to resolve conflicts, avoid their aggravation.
In my opinion, the idea is interesting, a natural place for such a forum of peacekeeping experts. And I will gladly talk to those who are ready to join this forum of Eurasian experts.
– Good luck then. And, thank you very much, Sergey Borisovich. As always, clear, different and with optimism, however.
– Thanks. And all the best in the New Year.