Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Statism on the March in Putin's Russia

BBC: "The little-known company which bought the main asset of embattled Russian oil firm Yukos has reportedly been sold to state-owned Rosneft. The Baikal Finance Group picked up Yukos' Yuganskneftegas unit on Sunday. Rosneft's purchase of Baikal would seem to confirm the predictions of analysts who said that Yuganskneftegas would fall into government-controlled hands. According to Russian news agency Interfax, Rosneft bought 100% of the shares in Baikal for an undisclosed sum. ... Baikal's background and its motives for buying the unit, which produces 11% of Russia's crude oil output, for $9.4bn, were unclear. There were widespread suggestions that it was established as a front for other interests."

Putin is not behaving like a democrat or an advocate of the free market. Or an ally to be trusted. He seems to be taking Russia backwards on all fronts: Today in Russia there is less democracy, less capitalism, and less freedom then only a few years ago. If Russia stays on this course, it will collide with the interests of the free world. The USA and the EU need to continue to aggressively assist the former Soviet republics who want freedom, democracy and connectivity with the free world, and help prevent them from being drowned by the undertow of Putin's statist riptide.

UPDATE: "RUSSIA DOWNGRADED TO “NOT FREE” Putin’s Russia Declines Amidst Further Political Restrictions, Increased Authoritarianism: Political rights and civil liberties have become so restricted in Russia that the country has been downgraded to "Not Free," Freedom House announced in a major survey of global freedom released today." HAT-TIP: POLITBURO DIKTAT.

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