Ukrainian crisis, the Italians of Russia do not believe in the invasion: “Don’t worry, it’s impossible”

from Fabrizio Dragosei and Matteo Sorio

Antonio Fallico, president of Banca Intesa Russia, “categorically” excluded a Putin attack: “It is not in his political interest, much less economic”

“I categorically exclude that Putin’s Russia can invade Ukraine.” Antonio Fallico, born in 1945, is president of Banca Intesa Russia, and leads the association Conoscere Eurasia: «It is not in his interest, neither political nor economic. And above all it is not in the style of this Putin’s Russia. Russia defends itself only if attacked ». Fallico was awarded the Order of Friendship and the Order of Honor conferred on him by Putin, and the Medal of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs “for his contribution to international cooperation”. So where do the winds of war come from? “This excessive rhetoric of the impending conflict will certainly have its own logic. But I have faith in Joe Biden and I am sure that the president will prove responsible ».

Isn’t reality as dramatic as it is portrayed? “This whole situation arose after a proposal for a security guarantee by Russia, so that NATO does not expand further east. There are probably some forces in the US, and I’m not talking about Biden, interested in further expansionism of the Atlantic Alliance. Ukrainian President Zelensky himself – continues Fallico – tried to tell his American, British and Polish allies not to create panic because this will damage the economy ».

Speaking of economics: Fallico explains that “Italian companies in Ukraine continue to work quietly and when called by the foreign ministry they replied that they do not see imminent dangers”, adding that “from a banking point of view we are also operating under normal conditions there: so far, there are no signs of adventurism ». And risks on gas supplies? «In 2021, Russian gas exports via Ukraine increased by 10% and directly to Europe by 15%. At this time the gas continues to flow. The only thing we see is that reserves in Europe have fallen significantly: all this has a great impact on prices “. Is there a possibility that, in the event of sanctions, Putin will react by attacking? “I categorically exclude that Russia can take the first step in the invasion of a country that it considers to be a brother.”

From Verona to Moscow, the music of the Italians does not change. “Absolutely no worries”, says with conviction Aimone of Savoy-Aosta who has lived in Russia for more than two decades. Today he is Vice President of Pirelli Russia Region, which produces 8 million tires a year in two factories located in Kirov, not far from the Urals and in Voronezh, south of Moscow, which is no more than 200 km as the crow flies from the border with Ukraine and with the Donbass areas where the two independence republics were born of Lugansk and Donetsk. Factories continue to produce at full capacity and some of the tires are destined for export.

What about private life? Savoia-Aosta, who has also been ambassador of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta to the Russian Federation for just over two years, appears convinced: “I’m completely calm, as is my wife who is here in Moscow with me and our three children”. The marriage with Olga of Greece dates back to 2008. The couple has two boys, Umberto and Amedeo and a girl, Isabella, the youngest, who is nine years old. “We continue with our everyday life,” she adds. “The boys go to school and everything goes on at the usual pace.” The news of the invasion of Ukraine and the NATO-Russia confrontation? “All this is talked about in abundance only in the foreign media. Here in Moscow these hypotheses are not taken into consideration ».

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