The situation for British Petroleum in Russia is not looking any better, as this evening the news media is reporting that the company is recalling 148 employees because of alleged visa problems, or as we hear it from the representatives, it is “lack of clarity” about the visas which they expect to “return to normal in coming weeks.” I don’t think that spokespersons from either side of the dispute could really expect anyone to believe that this sudden bureaucratic snafu isn’t part and parcel of the recent office raid, arrest of an alleged corporate spy, back tax claims and a renewed environmental inspection by Oleg Mitvol as part of the state’s efforts to gain control of TNK-BP – yet unfortunately that’s the line I expect we will have to suffer through – kind of insults your intelligence, no? It’s a familiar situation. The Kremlin is breaking the law in full view of the wider world in order to seize control of assets, and no one will say anything about it, or even recognize what is happening. It is for this reason that the Russian government will continue to expropriate from investors with impunity, and why rule of law can’t seem to take root. Buckle your seat belts for some serious spin coming soon about a new, deeper cooperation and series of asset swaps between BP and Gazprom.