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Friday, February 29, 2008

Finance and Friendship: Chernomyrdin Draws the Line

We’re working, we’re already finishing up February, and we still have no deal. Things don’t work this way. It’s unnatural. We can only do this out of friendship, out of accord. Time goes by, and yet our work is such a mess. And tomorrow they’ll say: We didn’t take this. We didn’t receive that.

There’s no confrontation. It’s just that you have to pay for what you take. When you go to the store, you pay. You go to the store, don’t you? The same applies here.

Viktor Chernomyrdin, Russian ambassador to Ukraine since 2001

Seven years on the job, and there’s not a smidgen of clientitis about him!

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Anonymous said...

I see it as intense pressure from Gazprom to get the contracts signed NOW. Wonder what is in them, that it is so crucial to have them signed immediately?


Now Tsushko is on the run and in danger of being arrested.

Taras said...

Don’t forget that Chernomyrdin was Gazprom’s first chairman. Why would the Kremlin keep him in Kyiv for seven straight years unless he kept up the good work?

I don’t think Tsushko has anything to worry about. Big boys don’t get jail in Ukraine.

hans said...

Putin sent Chernomyrdin to Ukraine to get him out of his hair and away from Gazprom. Chernomyrdin had too strong connections to the company, and was running it (with Vyakhirev) beyond the bounds of government control. Putin got rid of Chernomyrdin and inserted Medvedev and Miller and reined it back in.

They didn't get along, and while Chernomyrdin is able to use some of his gas contacts, he's very much of the previous generation and shouldn't be seen as a straight-up proxy for Gazprom at this point (though he certainly has connections to certain aspects of the company).

Taras said...

Your interpretation makes sense.

The assignment indeed appears to be some sort of political exile. It also appears to be a very good match between Chernomyrdin’s background and Russia’s interests in Ukraine.

Otherwise, a person with a glaring lack of basic diplomatic skills wouldn’t have kept such a long assignment. Back at home, of course, Chernomyrdin no longer poses any threat to the Kremlin’s grip on Gazprom, and therefore can be safely repatriated should the need arise.

I just wonder how close his diplomatic longevity will bring him to Anatoly Dobrynin, the Soviet ambassador to the US from 1962 to 1986.