Igor Sechin, Neo-Soviet Liar

Igor Sechin, Shameless Liar

Igor Sechin, Shameless Liar

Streetwise Professor exposes a classic Russian liar:

The WSJ has a long article based on an exclusive interview with your fave and mine, Igor Sechin.  It is full of the usual his-lips-are-moving whoppers, but this one stunned even me, even as predisposed as I am to snort at pretty much anything old Eyegore has to say:

And he was quick to point out that Russia became a major oil exporter in the 1970s in response to demand in the West amid the Arab oil embargo. “Now they tell us, ‘You have Dutch disease, you’re a resource economy.’ But you yourselves asked us to be that way,” he said.

Sorry, but WTF is he talking about?  Yeah, the USSR was just eager to please the US and the West in the early-to-mid 1970s.  We said “jump”, and Brezhnev said “how high, boss?”  

Please.  The Soviets exported oil because (a) there was money in it, (b) they needed a lot of money, given that the rest of the economy was going to hell (especially the agricultural sector, which couldn’t feed the country), and (c) they had absolutely nothing else to sell that anybody wanted.  

What is it about Russians that they are responsible for absolutely nothing?  It’s always “The Devil (i.e., America) made me do it!”  They are wanna be Masters of the Universe, but everything is out of their control.  Sheesh.

Here’s another one from Putin’s Pinnochio:

Mr. Sechin is Moscow’s point man for warming relations with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. But he said Russia, the largest oil producer outside the cartel, isn’t ready to accept membership in the group, despite its pleas.

It would be irresponsible for Russia to join OPEC because we can’t directly regulate the activity of our companies,” he said, as nearly all are privately owned.  (Emphasis added.)

Spare me.  

First, Russia taxes oil exports.  It is perfectly feasible for Russia to regulate the activities of its companies indirectly through the oil export duty mechanism.  Russia can achieve any level of exports it wants by adjusting the duty.  And it has been adjusting it–downwards, thereby encouraging oil exports.  (Maybe Sechin was quite deliberate in including the word “directly” in his answer, knowing quite well that this is an irrelevance, given the ability of the government to control exports via the tax mechanism, without directing companies to do anything.)  

Second, “nearly all are privately owned”–except the one that is by far the biggest, Sechin’s own Rosneft.  And, does he really expect us to believe, with Khodorkovsky in the dock, Mechel’s CEO Igor Zyuzin contemplating what Putin meant about “sending a doctor” (and given Russian healthcare, that is a frightening prospect), BP-TNK’s Dudley fleeing the country, etc., that if Putin or Medvedev told the owners/managers of these “privately owned” companies to cut exports, that they wouldn’t salute and ask “how much?”  

Sechin repeated his call to segment and “gasify” the oil market:

Mr. Sechin called for a gradual but major overhaul of the international oil trade, adding tight regulation and longer-term supply contracts, eliminating “economically unjustified intermediaries” and reducing speculation. Russia is the world’s No. 2 crude exporter.

Russia doesn’t like open markets and price discovery.  It likes market segmentation and backroom deals.  

In the add insult to injury category, Sechin uttered these Orwellianisms:

Mr. Sechin hailed BP PLC’s TNK-BP Ltd. joint venture in Russia as a sign of Russia’s openness to foreign investment in the sector. But he singled out secretive Siberian giant OAO Surgutneftegaz as “Russia’s best private oil company.”

Investors have criticized Surgut for refusing to release international-standard financial accounts or details of its ownership structure.

Surely, from Sechin’s perspective, black hole Surgutneftegaz is indeed the ideal energy company.  And yes, the whole BP-TNK fiasco is just a shining illustration of how an Investor’s Paradise has risen from the ashes of the former Worker’s Paradise.  Orwellian, like I say.

I actually appreciate the fact that Sechin has become much more open.  By speaking publicly, he reveals his utter mendacity, and in so doing, provides a revealing glimpse at the equally mendacious regime in which he serves.

3 responses to “Igor Sechin, Neo-Soviet Liar

  1. Found this on National Review.
    The Cold War’s Most Dangerous Legacy [Jonah Goldberg]

    Obama says the continued existence of so many nukes amounts to “the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War.” I’m not so sure. Yes, nukes are dangerous, and I would certainly love to see Russia have a lot fewer of them and better control over the ones they have left. Indeed, when you think about it, the main reason Russia’s nukes are scary is that they might not stay Russian for too long. Meanwhile, I don’t feel threatened at all by America’s nukes (I guess I’m in Derb’s you can never have too many nukes camp on that score). I don’t feel threatened by France or Britain’s nukes at all either. I’m more worried about China’s but not that much, for the moment. I’m very, very, worried about Pakistan’s given the troubles over there. Iran’s plans to get one and North Korea’s mischief are also very worrisome. In short, my attitude toward nukes is the geostrategic version of my attitude toward guns. I don’t like super-crazy and/or criminal people owning guns and I don’t like super-crazy and/or criminal regimes owning nukes. If Russia became as stable, prosperous, and democratic as Switzerland, I wouldn’t care one bit if they had a lot of nukes so long as they safeguarded them properly.

    Anyway, what really interests me is the question of what the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War really was, if it wasn’t the existence of nukes.

    Some might say the military-industrial complex or the national-security state. But not me. To me, the most obvious dangerous legacy of the Cold War would have to be the damage the Soviets did to the world. I don’t mean the millions they murdered; those dead do not threaten us now, even if they should haunt us.

    I mean the relentless distortion of the truth, the psychological violence they visited on the West and the World via their useful idiots and their agents. I’m thinking not merely of the intellectual corruption of the American Left (which even folks like Richard Rorty had to concede), but the corruption of reformers and their movements around the globe. Soviet propaganda still contaminates, while nuclear fallout does not. Lies about America, the West, and the nature of democratic capitalism live on throughout the third world and in radioactive pockets on American campuses.

    The Soviet effort to foster wars of national liberation, to poison the minds of the “Bandung Generation,” to deracinate cultures from their own indigenous building blocks of democracy, to destroy non-Marxist competitors interested in reform, to create evil and despotic regimes that are seen as “authentic” because they represent the “true will” of their subjugated and beaten down peoples: these seem to me to amount to the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War. Not least because it was those sorts of efforts that gave birth to North Korea in the first place.

  2. obamayomama, good find, What’s truly depressing is that even in the internet age where facts can be verified and propaganda refuted with little effort, far too many people rely on mass media to tell them what to think. Tell a lie long enough and it becomes the truth.

    • Penny,
      Always enjoy reading your posts. Can’t think of a time I disagreed with you. Keep up the good work. Cheers!

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