New Europe: How do you assess the recent G7 summit in Brussels
Vladimir Chizhov: Well, nothing dramatic.
New Europe: Aha. Are you disappointed?
Vladimir Chizhov: Not at all. I think the G7 drifted away from the traditional G8 agenda, focusing on totally different issues. The G8 agenda, formulated by the current Russian presidency of the G8, was sidelined.
New Europe: Sidelined because Russia was not there.
Vladimir Chizhov: Of course. And the G7 chose to discuss totally different issues. So I would not mix the G7 with the G8 at this point.
New Europe: So it was a totally different event for you?
Vladimir Chizhov: It was. And hardly impressive.
New Europe: Hardly impressive — we know that. How would you assess the logic of not having Russia in Brussels, but inviting Russia the following day at the D-Day commemorations in Normandy?
Vladimir Chizhov: Well, you should ask those who sent out the invitations, of course. Let me clarify this: Russia was never part of the G7. The moment Russia was invited, G7 became G8, 17 or something years ago. As far as the D-Day commemorations are concerned, they would’ve looked ridiculous without Russia being there.
New Europe: As for the claims that founded the non-invitation of Russia to the G7: we know that Russia does not admit its involvement in Ukraine…But others claim there are Russians there.
Vladimir Chizhov: There are many Russians living in Ukraine. There are also many Ukrainians living in Russia.
New Europe: Yes, we don’t have Russian guerrillas in Ukraine, we’ve heard this. But how about the recriminations about Russia applying different measures when it sells gas to Ukraine, and when it sells gas to other countries? Why is Russia applying different tariffs to foes and friends?
Vladimir Chizhov: Tariffs are something that exist internally in each country. What we are probably talking about are gas prices. And prices for gas, as for any other commodity, are subject to negotiations between companies — the company that sells the gas and the company that buys the gas.
New Europe: But the Russian state has a huge stake in Gazprom.
Vladimir Chizhov: 51 %.
New Europe: So it’s a political decision.
Vladimir Chizhov: On prices? No.
New Europe: No? Is it then a market decision?
Vladimir Chizhov: It is indeed a market decision. Of course every deal in energy also involves taxes, both on the supplying side and on the consuming side. And I will not reveal any secret if I say that up to 70 % of the end-price that a European customer pays for gas in this part of Europe goes to the state coffers of his country.
New Europe: Will Russia recognise officially the new president of Ukraine?
Vladimir Chizhov: You know, you are not the first person asking me this question. And I am a bit puzzled. What do you imply by “official recognition”? The Russian ambassador went to Kiev, he participated in the inauguration ceremony. What else would you expect?
New Europe: An official announcement.
Vladimir Chizhov: Countries recognise each other as countries. They do not recognise governments or presidencies.
New Europe: So you’re not bothered by having someone in power in Kiev who wants to claim back Crimea?
Vladimir Chizhov: Well, everyone is entitled to make mistakes.