Putin: Energy routes avoiding Russia are 'stupid'

15 February 2008

[RIA Novosti, Thomson Financial, 14 February; Reuters, 15 February] Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual press conference at the Kremlin, described Western efforts to find alternative routes for energy supplies that avoid Russia as "incorrect", "stupid" and "unprofessional". He said that Europe and the USA were "trying to find new routes for delivery of energy resources, bypassing Russian territory, and correspondingly put pressure on these countries." Putin added, "I think this is an incorrect policy, stupid, not to mention unprofessional." He said: "NATO is looking at questions of ensuring energy independence in a way that is obviously not friendly towards Russia." Putin also expressed his support for a plan developed by Russia's Federal Medical-Biological Agency to create four regional nuclear medicine centres, saying "the idea is good." Valentin Uiba, head of the agency, said earlier this week, "The project is planned for implementation in 2010-2015 and includes construction of four nuclear research centres – in Dimitrovgrad (Ulyanovsk Region), Tomsk, Yekaterinburg (Urals) and Dubna (Moscow Region)." Meanwhile, Russia launched the first of a new generation of nuclear-powered submarine on 12 February. The Yuri Dolgoruky was launched at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk. The vessel - of the new Borei (Arctic Wind) class - took more than 12 years to construct. It can carry 107 sailors and remain submerged for up to 100 days without surfacing.