Every once in a while, it looks as though the Russian anti-trust authorities appear as though they are a normal, independent institution tasked with protecting the integrity of markets from monopolistic practices of business. On the other hand, this a country whose state-owned energy giant Gazprom has a monopoly over the country’s gas transit network written into law. Today’s news was one of those funny moments:
Russian anti-trust authorities on Tuesday ordered the state-controlled gas giant Gazprom to allow independent gas producers access to the pipeline network it monopolises or face legal action.
In a rare move by a Russian state body against the powerful energy company, the anti-trust agency threatened to “open inquiries into the violation of anti-monopoly legislation if it receives information to that effect from independent companies.”
I wonder who could be behind this one? It has been a while since Igor Sechin and the boys at Rosneft went to war against Gazprom, but I suppose with the economic crisis it was inevitable that some of the siloviki outside the Gazprom grouping made a move. Has Medvedev lost his mole in the company, or was this expected?