Gazprom chief in USSR gaffe

Back in the USSR?: Alexei Miller references Soviet Union

Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller appeared to wade unintentionally into geopolitical territory with his remarks on Wednesday's Russia-China gas supply deal.

As reported earlier on Wednesday, the Russian gas giant has agreed to supply China National Petroleum Corporation with 38 billion cubic metres of gas per year for 30 years beginning in 2018.

In a statement marking the signing, Miller said that the deal was "the biggest contract in the entire history of the USSR and Gazprom", given that more than 1 trillion cubic metres of gas would ultimately be supplied.

While the Gazprom chief may have simply meant to refer to the company's origins in the Soviet-era gas ministry, his remark is sure to raise eyebrows given the current crisis in Ukraine.

Ironically Gazprom itself only existed in the final two years of the Soviet Union when it was separated from the ministry and made Moscow's first state corporation.

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