Not so fast, Mr. Eisenstat

yukos-houston2.jpgAs noted in a number of these previous posts, the Russian government’s dismemberment and effective nationalization of the assets of OAO Yukos last year has dire implications generally for Western business interests hoping to engage in reasonably free commercial investment in Russia, the recent Rosneft IPO notwithstanding.
In this WSJ ($) op-ed, former Carter and Clinton admnistration official Stuart Eizenstat observes that the Yukos affair has had broad and negative implications to the world economy, and contends that the Bush Administration and other free-market governments’ failure to call Russian Prime Minister Putin to task for his trashing of free-market business interests has contributed substantially to that negative impact. Eisenstat makes a number of good points, including the following:

Mr. Putin should also be put on notice that . . . the continued incarceration of Messrs. [former Yukos CEO Michael] Khodorkovsky and [Russian financier Platon] Lebedev, who is ill and suffering unnecessarily in a prison north of the Artic Circle, limits Russia’s prospects of being viewed as a member in good standing of the world’s group of leading nations.

Unfortunately, based on this and this, Mr. Putin could quite appropriately respond “say what?” to such a notice.

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