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The annual “big” press conference, which was held the day before by Russian President Vladimir Putin, remains in the focus of attention of the Russian media, social networks and experts, causing controversial assessments. In particular, this refers to the statement of the head of state that Russia has begun to “get off the oil and gas needle”.
As a reminder, the President said: “70% of the Russian budget is already formed not from oil and gas revenues. This means that we are not fully, but nevertheless, starting to get off the oil and gas needle. And if someone still wants to represent us as a gas station, then this no longer has any real reason “.
What is the real situation with filling the budget The Russian service of the Voice of America spoke with well-known Russian experts in the field of economics.
Former Minister of Economy of Russia Andrey Nechaev believes that in this way a wide audience is presented with “an unenviable product in colorful packaging.” In his opinion, in reality, everything is much more prosaic and depends on how much oil and gas cost..
“If they become cheaper, the share of oil and gas revenues in the budget decreases,” he explained. – If they become more expensive, then this share increases accordingly. Everything is elementary “.
Among other things, the available physical volumes of oil and gas resources in the country are quite limited, noted Andrey Nechaev.
“We sell (oil and gas) exactly as much as we can profitably export, depending on demand. For example, why have gas sales revenues been declining lately? Because prices fell sharply, and a number of countries refused Russian supplies. Therefore, it is not an active factor, but a resultant one. What’s more bad – there is, in fact, nothing to replace the lost income. Unfortunately, we have not yet seen any serious measures to stimulate non-resource exports, if we are not talking about verbal, as I call them, investments (that is, all kinds of declarations), “the former Minister of Economy of Russia summed up.
In 2010, the share of oil and gas revenues reached 50%.
Oil & Gas Analyst Mikhail Krutikhin I agree that the “slipping off the needle” effect is explained by two factors – a decrease in prices and demand for Russian hydrocarbons. In fact, since spring, their prices have been very low, he recalled.
“The demand for Russian resources has also dropped sharply,” the analyst added. – We see that, for example, the loading of the Druzhba oil pipeline is decreasing, the shipment of Russian oil through ports is decreasing. The purchases of Russian gas in Europe are decreasing. So the revenues of the Russian budget from the sale of oil and gas have noticeably shrunk, that’s the whole trick “.
Moreover, these revenues decreased faster than revenues from everything else, so an impression or an illusion was created that Russia, allegedly, not in the same way as before, depends on revenues from the sale of hydrocarbons, said Mikhail Krutikhin. “In this case, talking about“ getting off the needle ”is at least inappropriate,” he stressed. – Objectively, it turned out that we were forced to get off this needle. Everything else is verbal camouflage. But what else could one expect from Putin – he has been in power for more than 20 years and only did what he promised and lied, lied and promised again ”.
In social networks and in the expert environment, the statements to Putin on the “Nord Stream – 2” also caused bewilderment. According to him, the project meets the interests of “all of Europe”. And this at a time when a number of EU countries are hostile to Nord Stream 2. In addition, Putin expressed the hope that the new US administration will not interfere with the construction of the gas pipeline and that the project will be successfully completed..
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This absolutely does not correspond to the real state of affairs, Mikhail Krutikhin is convinced: “It is not the administration that is opposed to Nord Stream 2, but the US Congress. And the administration will have to comply with the decisions of the Congress, which are formulated in the form of law “.
The oil and gas analyst also believes that because of the US sanctions, there is absolutely no reason for optimism about the completion of the gas pipeline..
In the United States, many experts and senators call the Kremlin’s claims that Russia will be able to implement the project as bluff and disinformation..