Matthew Lynn of Bloomberg does an opinion column about how the Sakhalin grab could backfire and scare away new investors:
Global Investors Should Think Again About Russia: Matthew Lynn Dec. 18 (Bloomberg) — How much provocation does big business need before it has doubts about Russia? Anglo-Dutch oil company Royal Dutch Shell Plc has been threatened with lawsuits from the Russian government, which is tightening its grip on the country’s energy industry. Companies as diverse as Swedish furniture chain Ikea AB and German retailer Metro AG are also finding that Russia can be a tough place to do business. Yet Western companies are still pouring money, energy and expertise into Russia. They are attracted by a high-growth, low- tax economy offering the chance to make a lot of money quickly. It is time they wised up. Sure, you can make a quick buck in Russia. The trouble is that you can lose it just as fast if the government bullies you out of what you have created. Until Russia starts playing by the rules as part of the global economy, foreign investment should be shifted elsewhere. “Investors need to start holding executives to account for giving in to this kind of extortion,” Robert Amsterdam, a lawyer for Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, said in a telephone interview. Khodorkovsky, who says he was targeted for supporting opponents of the Russian government, is serving an eight-year prison term for fraud and tax evasion.
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