This week, energy market analyst Diane Pallardy was invited to a France 24 live panel to discuss the current Russia-EU relations. The discussion covered, among others, the expulsion of Russian diplomats from several EU countries following the Skripal affair, Vladimir Putin’s re-election and the fire that destroyed a shopping mall in Kemerovo.
When asked why did Sergei Lavrov call the expulsions of Russian diplomats from the UK and several other European countries “blackmail from Washington,” Diane Pallardy replied that the Russian government believes that Washington “is imposing its will on the EU, and that the EU is waiting for Washington’s order to act.”
Several days after Vladimir Putin’s re-election, a fire hit a shopping mall in the South Siberian city of Kemerovo killing dozens who found themselves trapped in the cinemas because the emergency staircases were locked. Russians have been expressing their anger at their government, raising the issue of corruption and the disregard of security norms in public places. Asked whether Russia was a giant with clay feet, Diane Pallardy explained that Russia’s weak spot lays on its perennial corruption “which is present at all levels” of the Russian society and “which Russian people are still trying to tackle.” In Kemerovo’s case, she said that corruption could come from contractors, which do not always stick to public regulations “in order to save money.” Thus, they oftentimes “overlook security norms” such as “not building the number of emergency exits”. Corruption could also come “from inspectors who are often bribed to overlook or avoid the inspection” of emergency systems.
Finally, when asked whether French President Emmanuel Macron should go to the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum which will take place at the end of May, Diane Pallardy emphasised that France “should not cut complete dialogue with Russia,” and that France “would probably be represented [at the forum] not by its president but by Total and Engie’s top directors,” which both have important stakes in Russia. French and Russian companies are cooperating on key projects such as the Nord Stream II pipeline “which is still being built even though US sanctions targeted them,” and will allow Gazprom to no longer rely on the Ukrainian pipeline network to supply the EU.
You can find Diane Pallardy’s intervention by clicking the following link.