Running for the Hills

There are many perks to being a Duma member – easy kickbacks, low expectations, and almost no obligations apart from rubber stamping anything the Kremlin puts on your desk. However, the most appealing benefit by far is that much coveted immunity from prosecution. Enter Sergei Bogdanchikov, CEO of Rosneft, who has been identified in reports as the likely United Russia candidate from Sakhalin. Why would a man at the head of multi-billion-dollar state-run corporation, with a net worth of $800 million, with close friends in the Kremlin, want to leave his lucrative post in the private sector for a paltry Duma salary representing a backwater region? It appears that the architects of the Yukos theft are running for the hills – first hustling BP and ENI to serve as window dressing on the auctions of expropriated assets, followed by the attack on PricewaterhouseCoopers, and now Bogdanchikov himself looking to hide behind Duma immunity. This is not the behavior of someone who believes he has done nothing wrong.