Law at the Government’s Service

Breakingviews has a column about the siege of TNK-BP – noting that the rise in the price of oil has eliminated any sense of security for foreign energy investors, as the state feels confident it can buy all the capital and technology inputs necessary for production:

In a country where law is at the government’s service, where a deputy prime minister is the chairman of Gazprom and another one of Rosneft, where tax inspectors, the police and the security services can always been summoned to help convince those who resist – as they were in the case of BP – there’s little that western companies can do when things suddenly turn sour. Cry, maybe.

Case in point, Uri Landesman, a senior portfolio manager at ING Investment Management and a shareholder of TNK-BP tells the Wall Street Journal today: “We’re betting that they [BP] basically throw up their hands and sell their stake to the government at some point.”