Last night I blogged that the Russian government was going back to its 2004-style hard power expropriation with its very un-subtle attack on TNK-BP. I complained that despite this daylight robbery, no one was willing to say anything about it. Perhaps I spoke too soon: the Wall Street Journal has quite an aggressively written editorial on the case today:
The likelier explanation is that Mr. Putin is kneecapping another private oil company to secure the goodies for his cronies. Kremlin wolves swallowed whole Russia’s largest major, Yukos, and sent its boss Mikhail Khodorkovsky to rot in a Siberian jail. “Tax evasion” was the excuse. A year ago, Royal Dutch Shell got into trouble for “environmental” infractions and was forced to sell half its oil development on Sakhalin Island to Gazprom. TNK-BP, Russia’s fourth-largest oil producer, is a tasty prize.