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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Making of a Minister

Nezavisimaya Gazeta interviews Pyotr Rodionov, Russia's new fuel and energy minister.

Pyotr Ivanovich, allow me to ask: How did you become a minister?

I was on vacation in Estonia. There, I received a call from the state apparatus and was notified that Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin wished to invite me for a talk. What he wanted to talk about, however, they didn't tell me, and I wasn't going to ask by telephone from a different country. Before the meeting with Chernomyrdin, I dropped by to see [Gazprom head] Rem Ivanovich Vyakhirev -- under his command in the Gazprom office is Lentransgaz [of which Rodionov was former director]. Rem eventually told me that I would be offered a minister's portfolio and recommended that I not refuse the offer. After meeting with Viktor Stepanovich I gave my assent, although the president has the final say in such matters.

Is it true that your predecessor was offered the position of adviser to the prime minister and that, according to Chernomyrdin, the position was actually equal to the rank of minister?

Although I have personally never really looked into questions of rank, I know that Viktor Stepanovich certainly made such an offer to Yury Konstantinovich (Shafrannik). Whether or not Yury Konstantinovich agreed, I do not know. In any case, I believe that Yury Konstantinovich should continue in his career. He is a professional, he knows his job well, he has broad experience. And I will not be embarrassed to go to him for advice, and I don't think I will be refused (at the beginning of the week, Yury Shafranik was appointed the chairman of the board of directors of the Tyumensk oil company).