Friday, February 18, 2005

What Putin did wrong in Yukos case

More news from the revolutionary Ukraine. The BBC News reports: Ukraine revisits state sell-offs.

The new President, Viktor Yushchenko, has said a "limited" list of companies is
being drawn up. But on Wednesday Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said the
government was planning to renationalize 3,000 firms. The government says many
privatized firms were sold to allies of the last administration at rock-bottom
One of the jilted bidders, Netherlands-based group LNM, said it
welcomed the possibility that the mill might be back on the market. "If the
original privatization is annulled and a new tender issued, then we would look
at it with great interest," a spokesman told BBC News.

Now I don’t get it. It took Putin two years to renationalize Yukos because he wanted the process to be (or to look) formally legal and justified. Actually it wasn’t too difficult as Yukos most probably took a crash course at Enron on how to “optimize” taxes using thousands of faked oil traders. At the same time Yukos was given to Khororkovsky in 1996 through ‘loans for shares’ scheme that was (and is) totally illegal. That was a 100% robbery of the state property covered by Yeltsin. In comparison Krivorizhstal was (at least formally) privatized legally. Now what’s wrong with foreign investors? In case with Yukos they are outraged but in case with Krivorizhstal they are happy. Next time when Putin wants to nationalize another big fat oil company he has to wear an orange scarf and bring a crowd of students. No need for fig-leaves like laws.
Probably the “revolutionary” governments are judged by other standards. It looks like Europe and the US love democracy so much that they are content to give revolutionary troops three days to pillage the city as long as they are “democratic”. Maxim Sokolov was right when he said that every revolution (American, French, communist or anti-communists) after the victory starts with “privatizing” property of evil counter-revolutionaries (Brits, aristocracy, Jews, communists). And only when the revolutionary troops bring back property stolen by the previous government to their heats’ content they decide that it’s time to switch from the laws of revolution to ordinary laws.
That’s where Putin went wrong. He and Yeltsin made a grave mistake. In 2000 Boris had to fire Putin and name some disgusting, unpopular, sleazy and thievish guy as his beloved successor. Mr. Berezovsky could play that role perfectly. Of course, Mr.Berezovsky had to “win” the elections in the second round. Then the process goes by a traditional scenario. The Birch Revolution wins and Putin, being proclaimed by all democracy loving nations as a true democrat, can announce next day that Yukos, Sibneft, Norilsky Nikel, Severstal and a thousand of other companies are renationalized. That’s simple. Unfortunately Putin wasn’t that smart enough in 2000. Actually not everything is lost yet. New presidential elections are due in 2008.


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