The evolution of the bilateral relation between Romania and the Russian Federation depends on the Romanian politicians' attitude, said on Thursday Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the Russian State Duma's International Affairs Commission and Sergey Markov, a Duma member and director of the Civic National Council on Foreign Affairs, on the occasion of the Trans-Atlantic Forum held on the sidelines of the NATO Summit.
'There aren't big problems in the relation between Romania and the Russian Federation, Romania's accession to NATO and the EU hasn't created big problems. I hope Romania will make a contribution to the relations between NATO, EU and Russia. We need several countries in NATO and the EU that should try to help the collaboration of these organisations with Russia. Romania has such a potential, but it is for the Romanian authorities to use or abuse such a potential', Kosachev said.
He underscored that Romania's having been left outside the gas pipeline project South Stream had not been influenced by the political elements of the Russian-Romanian relation.
'A commercial agreement is concluded if it is mutually beneficial to both countries. There is no political dimension of this situation, any pipeline includes or excludes some countries; choices were made and I hope that Romania, in future, would be included in these projects. I cannot say when, as I am a politician and it is a matter of the experts', the Russian parliamentarian said.
Kosachev openly voiced his belief that the Nabucco project, in which Romania is involved, will not have success and commercial value, since it is a political project and it will not manage to find the required gas to be carried to the European beneficiary countries.
'Azerbaijan, with which we have very good relations, has made many statements in the recent years related to the gas and oil resources it has available, but not all of them have been confirmed', he added.
With respect to the price of the gas delivered by Russian company Gazprom to Romania, Kosachev stressed that Russia always tries to introduce a price in keeping with the market and said such market price depends on the cases in which Gazprom is an owner of the distribution networks or holds shares in the distribution companies.
Sergey Markov was blunt in saying there is a connection between the Romanian politicians' attitude towards Russia and the economic cooperation relations between the two countries.
'There is no political support for our economic relations, it is the politicians' duty to draw the lines for the economic cooperation, which the Romanian politicians clearly do not do', he said.
'We are ready to continue our relation with Romania, but Romania has focused too much on the relation with the West, with the United States, with the Western markets. We are open to cooperation, but Romania has forgotten Russia and it thinks of us only in the context of the Republic of Moldova and Transdniester. It is a too narrow approach, that should be opened', Markov stressed.
He said Romanian President Traian Basescu's policy towards Russia hasn't had too much influence or a negative influence on the bilateral relation, since the Romanian head of state's policy towards Moscow is not too well defined.
'The Romanian politicians have a provincial-like approach, they wait too much from their chiefs in Washington. This psychological complex should be overcome', Markov said.
He also stressed that the Romanian Black Sea policy is a huge mistake as far as Bucharest's support for Georgia is concerned, and explained Russia needs Romania's help to warn over the danger of the arms race started by Tbilisi.
Markov, who didn't know Bucharest's position on the Kosovo issue and when he learned it said it was caused by the Hungarian minority in Transylvania, stressed Romania can draw the attention of its EU allies and partners – Estonia and Latvia – where the Russian minority's democratic rights are not respected.
On the South Stream project, Markov underscored Bulgaria wished and did many things for its cooperation with Russia.
'The Bulgarians have been more intelligent and more rational than you have, they have moved better and won the competition with you', he said.
'The Bulgarians are better than you, maybe Gazprom answers only those who are the best. The Russian high dignitaries don't have too much time, you need to knock (on their door – editor's note) more and louder and maybe you'll get an answer', Markov said when asked about remarks by Romanian Economy Minister Varujan Vosganian, who said he had sent several proposals to Gazprom, but he simply didn't get an answer because the doors in Moscow are closed for Romania.
Former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, an open opponent of the current Moscow power, said the bilateral Romanian-Russian relation is first of all influenced by the issue of the different values currently existing in the West and in Russia.
'There is a problem in the relations between the West and Russia, due to the differences in values, due to Russia's policy in the last years and hence the problems between NATO and Russia and the bilateral problems with some countries, such as Romania. But on a human level, the relations between Romania and Russia have always been warm', Kasyanov stressed.
He recalled the good economic relations that Romania and Russia had during his tenure, when Russian investments were made in the Romanian industrial and energy sector and said South Stream and Nabucco are not two competing projects, since each has its own role.
With respect to the price of Russian gas for Romania, Kasyanov pointed out that the very existence of intermediaries is 'strange' and that there should be a direct contract of Gazprom with the relevant Romanian companies. Asked whether he had been aware of the existence of such intermediaries during his tenure, an embarrassed Kasyanov answered: 'I can no longer remember'.