Russian Stability Critical to Western Energy Security

By Belgrade Forum, PRNE
Thursday, June 9, 2011

BELGRADE, Serbia, June 10, 2011 -

Energy security is one of the most critical issues facing European
governments as Russian presidential elections approach, experts and
politicians warned yesterday in Belgrade.

Recent developments, including the Arab Spring uprisings and fears about
instability in the Caucasus and Russia have driven the issue of energy
security to the top of the political agenda.

The outcome of the presidential elections in Russia in 2012 will have a
major impact on the West's ability to rely on reliable energy supplies,
diplomats, politicians and Balkan experts agreed, with the need for stability
in Russia paramount.

They had gathered in the Serbian capital for the one day conference,
'European Security in the light of the 2012 Elections' organized a week in
advance of the NATO summit in the city.

Jan Mladek, Secretary of the Czech Social Democrat Party, said: "The West
will be looking to Russia for reassurance about stability and security of its
energy supply.

"If Mr Putin returns as president we hope it would help with the
reconstruction of the oil and gas pipelines which help ensure energy security
in Europe."

Energy security was one of three topics under discussion at the
conference, organized by the Belgrade Forum, alongside political and economic
cooperation and European stability.

Other speakers included Charles Crawford, former UK ambassador to Poland,
Dr Alessandro Musolino from the governing European People's Party and the
Russian ambassador to Serbia, Alexander Konuzin.

Addressing the issue of stability in Russia after the 2012 elections,
Dragutin Matanovic, senior adviser to the Interior Minister of Serbia who was
at the event said: "If Mr Putin is re-elected as president of Russia he will
continue to do what he has already done in making Russia strong again.

"The West need not be afraid of the return of Vladimir Putin - he means
stability for Russia and this means stability for Europe."

Speaking about the 2012 elections, Dusan Bajatovic MP, chairman of
Serbia's Committee for Defence and Security, said: "Russia has a clear leader
in Vladimir Putin and he's considered exactly that by the elite and the rest
of society."

Notes to editors

The conference was organized by the Belgrade Forum. For more information,
including a full conference programme or images from the event please contact
the Belgrade Forum Press Centre via or telephone


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