EDITORS’ NOTE After graduating from
Leningrad State University in 1975 with a
degree in law, Vladimir Putin began a 15-
year career with the KGB’s foreign-intelligence
arm, stationed in Leningrad and
East Germany. With the Soviet Union facing
collapse in the early ’90s, Putin left the
KGB, at the rank of colonel, and began
his political career. In June 1991, he
became chairman of St. Petersburg City
Council’s international relations committee,
and from 1994, he combined this post
with the position of deputy mayor of St.
Petersburg. He was appointed deputy
chief Kremlin administrator in 1996, and
proceeded to serve in a number of senior
administrative positions before being
appointed prime minister in August 1999.
When President Boris Yeltsin left office in
December 1999, Putin took over as acting
president. He was elected president of
Russia in March 2000 and, for a second
term, in March 2004.
Russia is hosting the G8 summit this
year. Many people wonder if the
country is ready for such an event,
and what the agenda will be. What issues
will you discuss?
We think that whatever issues our
partners find interesting will be valuable
and interesting for Russia as well. There
are several such matters, the first of which
is international energy policy, which is
naturally of interest to Russia as one of the
largest energy producers in the world. We
are concerned not just with mineral
resources, but with energy in general.
However, mineral resources are of most
significance today. In Russia, this is an
important topic, especially bearing in
mind the revenues the federal budget gets
from the sale of mineral resources.
However, unlike many other countries
that produce and sell oil, we are
interested in keeping the prices absolutely
fair. One reason for that is we’d like to
diversify our economy, which means that
we’re interested in establishing better
conditions for the development of our
processing and manufacturing...