EDITORIAL: Another Black Eye for Russia


Another Black Eye for Russia

Russia got another black eye on the international stage last week when British Petroleum appointed Bob Dudley to oversee the cleanup of its infamous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  He’s the same fellow who got kicked out of Russia for daring to stand up to the Kremlin in 2008. And now the international press is placing that event before the eyes of a slack-jawed world.  What goes around, comes around, you see Mr. Putin.

Talking Points Memo reports:

In 2003, Dudley became CEO of TNK-BP, BP’s joint venture in Russia along with Russian company AAR, a group of four Russian billionaire oligarchs. Over the years, tensions mounted between BP and the oligarchs. According to news reports from 2008, the oligarchs wanted more bang for their buck in the form of higher returns on their investment, while BP wanted to invest more profit back into the company.

The 50-50 venture became a fierce power struggle, with BP executives alleging harassment by both AAR and the Russian government, charges that the Russians denied. According to one report in the Times, Dudley was regularly sweeping his office for bugs and taking phone calls on his balcony to avoid being recorded.

It came to the point, in July 2008, where Dudley fled the country. His visa was set to expire, and it seemed that the Russians weren’t keen on renewing. BP was so paranoid at the time that they didn’t announce his departure until he was airborne, and refused to disclose his location.

You see, Mr. Putin:  What goes around, comes around.  Russia’s neo-Soviet efforts to seize private property not just from Russians like Khodorkovsky but from hapless foreigners as well is becoming more and more widely known by the day, and there is nothing the Putin regime can do about it.

Can anyone be surprised, then, that foreign direct investment in Russia plunged by over 40% last year, 75% less than what Russia had before the 2008 financial crisis?  As soon as the price of oil falls, even the most insanely pro-risk foreigners drop Russia like a hot potato. The country’s stock market collapses and Russia is left holding a big back of stink.  The economy has absolutely no life of its own, it exists solely as a gambling casino for those who like to bet on the price of oil rather than roulette wheel — and Putin’s policies are doing everything possible to worsen the situation until it leads to national collapse.

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