News out of Davos that the Moscow regime has struck mega mega oil and gas deals with BP and Exxon Mobil has heightened a sense among other potential investors that Russia may not be worth the risk. In their agreement with Igor Sechin’s state-controlled Rosneft, BP even turned its back on long-time Russian partners TNK, which took action yesterday in a London court to protect its interests.
Exxon Mobil also doesn’t seem to have a problem in doing business with Sechin and others who built Rosneft by stealing the assets of Yukos and sending its chairman Mikhail Khodorkovsky to a Siberian prison.
Despite an attempt by President Medvedev at Davos to promote investing in Russia, the corruption tax on investment flows directly to the Kremlin. As these two deals demonstrate, the Kremlin orchestrates deals to enrich themselves, adding resonance to Medvedev’s own words to Russian business leaders on December 29 that the country’s investment climate is “very bad.”
As Mikhail Khodorkovsky recently said to the International Herald Tribune and others,
It is obvious that those who can truly be called “oligarchs” – those who have combined state power and big business in one individual – were created by none other than Vladimir Putin and are his comrade-in-arms. The rest of the “Forbes faces” – and indeed a significant part of small business as well – have agreed to pay tribute to the bureaucracy in one form or another…Russia is a sovereign state, but to support deception to demonstrate respect for its corrupt officials, is amoral.