Views of Russian parliamentarians concerning the Russian-American energy summit differ

Opinions differ in the Russian parliament with regard to the Russian-American energy summit. Vice Speaker of the Russian State Duma (Lower House) Vladimir Zhirinovsky said in a RIA Novosti interview that this summit "is very timely, important and necessary." According to him, prospects of Russian-American cooperation in the sphere of energy "can be very great, especially in view of the sharp change of the situation in the Middle East and with regard to Iraq, with regard to Iran and with regard to the Caspian Sea." The Vice Speaker believes that "it is advantageous for Russia and the United States to have a reserve variant - that is, the energy resources of Russia should not go simply to the world market, they should compensate the US for possible losses, because the situation may deteriorate, and the scenarios may be upset." Vladimir Zhirinovsky explained that "it may be impossible to use the resources of the Middle East - Iraq, Iran, the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia." From his point of view, "the ideal variant" would be to create in the next few years energy reserves and to start delivering to US market great amounts of Russian oil.

In his turn, a State Duma deputy, Yevgeny Ishchenko, urged Russia not to believe the United States as far as oil trade is concerned. Commenting on the Russian-American energy forum in Houston, the parliamentarian told RIA Novosti that "unlike some Russian oil magnates and officials, he cannot call the summit "an epoch-making event as a result of which Russia will receive tremendous investments, and new possibilities will open for Russia to get access to the American market." In the opinion of the independent legislator, the advantages of the possible increase in the exports of Russian oil to the United Stated are "so far vague, while the deprivations are quite possible." As Yevgeny Ishchenko believes, "for the umpteenth time the United States shows us 'a carrot' to tempt us to support its aggression against Iraq and in this way to put us at loggerheads with the OPEC and with the Arab oil sheikhs, and also to enlist our support in case of an oil boycott on the part of the Arabs." "The Americans will forget their promises as soon as they achieve their aim," said the State Duma deputy. "This happened more than once in the history of our relations." "Russia and the United States have absolutely different interests with regard to oil," underscored Yevgeny Ishchenko.

The chairman of the committee of the Federation Council (Upper House) for natural monopolies, Mikhail Odintsov, believes that the American energy market is promising, however, he gives preference to Asian markets. From the point of view of energy exports, the American market is "very attractive," he said. "Maybe the transportation is not so advantageous and payable, but the American market is also prestigious," said the senator.

At the same time he gives preference to the Asian markets. According to Mikhail Odintsov, especially attractive for Russia are the markets of Korea, Japan and China. "In this region transportation expenditures will be minimal," he concluded.

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