Vladimir Litvinenko: There is an urgent need to improve mining efficiency in the country

Владимир Литвиненко
Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад /

As in 2018 Saint-Petersburg Mining University, the oldest higher technical educational institution in Russia, celebrated its 245th birthday, "Forpost" has conducted an interview with Vladimir Litvinenko, the Principal of the University, on the topic of international cooperation. Some details on the ongoing international projects have been provided in the interview.

Russian-British relations

- At the annual press conference Russian President noted that Russian-British relations are at an impasse. Unfortunately, it is true. However, Vladimir Putin also said that both our countries are interested in restoring fully fledged cooperation, especially business structures. Thus, at the level of "people's diplomacy", i.e. if we are talking about interaction between companies, universities or scientific communities, then the need for partnership still remains.

Let me give an example. A year ago, we held a Russian-British Raw Materials Dialogue here, at the Mining University. Many politicians, businessmen and scientists came to discuss prospects for development of economic relations, as well as trade, investment and scientific cooperation between our countries. Among other things, specific joint projects had been discussed as well. It was not only raw materials that became a topic of discussion, but stock markets, services sector, waste management, introduction of new technologies – all these and many other topics had been discussed at the meeting.

In October, the second forum took place. This time it happened in London. From this we may derive that our suggested format was acknowledged by British partners, which is, in fact, true. In December, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Great Britain to Russia Laurie Bristow visited St. Petersburg Mining University. He pointed out that the Government of the United Kingdom supports the idea of holding the III Russian-British Raw Materials Dialogue in Saint-Petersburg.

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Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Андрей Кучеренко

Russia is a raw material country. The fact that we are in possession of a rich resource portfolio, combined with intellectual potential, makes for our biggest competitive advantage. London, in turn, is a post-industrial financial center that is interested in investing in our energy companies.

Again, there is another reason why British entities put attention to the problem of downturn in bilateral relations. Today about a half of global stock trading takes place on the London Stock Exchange. Among other things, one can buy or sell there stocks traded by listed companies. Russian companies are also on the list - Rosneft, Lukoil, PhosAgro and many others. Unsurprisingly, the stock exchange management stands for preserving stability of the market, but the pressure exerted on Russian companies through sanctions does not benefit this stability.

The Nord Stream 2 project

- In November, the eleventh conference of the Russian-German Raw Materials Dialogue took place in Potsdam. The Dialogue itself was established upon an initiative of Freiberg University of Mining and Technology and Saint-Petersburg Mining University. The event was in particular attended by Peter Altmaier, the Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy of Germany, as well as by eight other Federal Prime Ministers. In my opinion, it says that the attitude previously acquired by politicians towards our country has been changing. Major German politicians openly admit now that Germany needs to establish mutually beneficial relationship with our country and rebuild the format of cooperation with the United States.

Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Мария Сулимова

Indeed, we have discussed the implementation of Nord Stream 2 project as well. Peter Altmaier said that the project is very important for Germany, because reliable energy supplies are essential for economy development of any state. At the same time, the Minister also stressed that Russia is an important gas supplier for Europe. The situation will hardly change in the coming years, as gas reserves in the Nordic countries have been constantly diminishing, and renewable energy sources have not yet become efficient enough.

The Russian-Ukrainian issue had been raised as well. According to the Minister, gas should be transited through the territory of Ukraine. On the contrary, other participants of the event from the German side did not support him. They also do not support the idea of building a LNG terminal in Northern Germany. After all, everyone understands clearly that it is a matter of politics. American gas is not needed in Germany, it is not competitive with the Russian one neither in terms of price nor quality.