Yulia Latynina writes strikingly on the Bank of Moscow takeover today, drawing our attention to processes that have long ceased to seem unusual or shocking as they happen on the Russian stage so frequently, but which, when taken out of context, may give more pause for thought. Bear in mind that Latynina bases her argument on an assertion that president Andrei Borodin was arrested in order to ‘drive down the value of his stake
‘ before it was sold to VTB. The arrest is widely thought to have been politically motivated, but Borodin still insists that he will return to Moscow ‘as soon as the condition of my health allows
‘, and is not seeking political asylum
Here’s Latynina’s take:
Imagine something similar happening in the United States. A senior State Department official holds talks on behalf of a state bank to purchase a stake in Merrill Lynch for pennies on the dollar. To drive down the asking price, the official issues an arrest warrant for the CEO of Merrill Lynch, after which the company is purchased by the official’s son. In the United States, this scam would cause heads to roll among the country’s top officials. In Russia, it hardly raises an eyebrow.
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