Alfa’s Preferred Treatment

alphabank060209.jpgHere’s a quick line from an amusing Wall Street Journal piece about Alfa Bank’s undiminished swagger amid the other fallen oligarchs:

Mr. Fridman says Alfa works within the law and dismisses the criticism as “PR” by Alfa’s rivals. The group’s foreign partners, he says, might complain about its tactics, but they’re happy with their investments.

Russian officials say Alfa doesn’t get special treatment.

Riiiiight.  All those other incidents in which it looked like Alfa and/or Mikhail Fridman were getting special favors from government were just routine actions and coincidences that seemed to always contribute to their favor.

Moments like this one must simply conclude that corruption in Russia is largely a Western product.  Nobody cares how the country works or how many rules their investment partners break, so long as it is robustly profitable.  The second in which the business community demanded even the slightest accountability or rule of law, things would dramatically change.