Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, Russia’s top energy official and one of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s closest political allies, offered valuable insight into the nation’s investment climate during a rare interview with the Wall Street Journal. Sechin portrayed the risks that fueled an estimated 25 percent decline in direct foreign investment last year as strengths. Remarkably, Sechin asserted that the controversies involving Yukos, Hermitage Capital Management and the troubled BP/OAO Rosneft deal prove Russia is a safe bet for investors. Hermitage CEO William Browder responded that Sechin’s assessment will further erode investor confidence.
The risk of losing one’s business in Russia today is real. But it is not the greatest risk investors face. Investors in Russia risk losing their lives.