Welcome to the Deathstar

gazpromheadquarters010809.jpg From Llewellyn King:

No building in Moscow says “Soviet Union” so much as the headquarters of Gazprom, the Russian gas monopoly. It is more foreboding than the Lubyanka, the former headquarters and torture emporium of the KGB. The romantic charm of the czarist era, epitomized by the Kremlin itself, is wholly absent. Like the state monopoly itself, the structure is gigantic, threatening and very hard to get into.

It is set back from the road, and there are layers of security a visitor has to negotiate to see an official. It is easier to get into the Kremlin, No. 10 Downing Street or the White House than it is to get into Gazprom. I know, I have gotten into all of them. No wonder that old KGB hand, Vladimir Putin, loves the gas company.

Russia’s natural gas monopoly Gazprom headquarters Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008. Russia’s state gas monopoly Gazpromsaid Wednesday that Ukraine has threatened to seize gas intended forEuropean customers if no deal is reached on gas shipments to Ukrainestarting Jan. 1, 2009. (AP Photo by Sergey Ponomarev)