Monday, September 03, 2007

"Gazprom is a mutant"

I've spent a goodly amount of time here covering the geopolitical chess game over oil resources in Central Asia, a game in which the Russians are handing US interests a drubbing. This story about Gazprom, though, must be read. Fascinating and frightening at the same time, Gazprom, as a commercial entity, is far exceeding the bounds of that description. As the Russians call it, Gazprom is a "state within a state."
How Gazprom turned up the heat on the West

...
But Gazprom is not just a company providing a quarter of Europe's gas supplies. In 2005, it staged the biggest takeover in Russian history by buying the Sibneft oil firm for $13bn from Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea Football Club.

It has gobbled up Russian television stations, major newspapers, a football team and Russia's third-largest bank. It owns an insurance company. It has an airline, and it builds roads. It

has Black Sea holiday resorts. It has controversial plans to build another soaring tower bang in the historic centre of St Petersburg. And, just for good measure, it runs a private army.

Its tentacles spread way beyond Russia's borders, thanks to the purchase of strategic energy assets in countries ranging from Belarus to Germany, where the Gazprom-sponsored FC Schalke football team wear blue Gazprom shirts, and is currently trying to muscle its way into the US market via Trinidad.

Last week, it emerged that a Gazprom associate, the billionaire Uzbek-born oligarch Alisher Usmanov, had bought a 14.5 per cent stake in Arsenal – fuelling speculation of a Russian-led buyout at another of Britain's top football clubs.
More....

4 Comments:

Blogger spiiderweb™ said...

And your point is?

This is going on everywhere. Only now do the Russians realize how to play the US game.

8:08 PM  
Blogger theBhc said...

No point, really. I just found it interesting. US corporations haven't achieved quite the blending with government that Gazprom has with the Kremlin, and they probably intend to keep it that way; it lends an air of plausible deniability to charges of fascism. US corporate influence on government is no less severe, however. After all, Big Oil has the US military at its disposal.

So I would actually disagree. The Russians have not yet figured out to really create that meld of corporate and government power dressed up with a veneer of "democracy" and separation the way Americans have. The US corporatocracy, in which our media is a willing part, is able to maintain the propaganda that they are somehow dissociated from the wheels of the federal government, when, in fact, the corporate elite and the political are one and the same, only under the surface.

9:07 PM  
Blogger spiiderweb™ said...

I see your position. I was being facetious with the first sentence.

My point concerned this:

It has gobbled up Russian television stations, major newspapers, a football team and Russia's third-largest bank. It owns an insurance company. It has an airline, and it builds roads. It has Black Sea holiday resorts. It has controversial plans to build another soaring tower bang in the historic centre of St Petersburg. And, just for good measure, it runs a private army.

Because US corporations are involved in many disparate businesses and many hire Blackwater mercenaries.

Sorry I didn't make myself clear.

3:28 AM  
Blogger theBhc said...

Right. but US corporations still don't have -- yet -- CEOs who are concurrently members of the government. They are CEOs before a stint in government and then immediately afterward. They will, however, own stock in the companies they worked for and implement policies that directly benefit those companies. Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld come immediately to mind.

9:08 AM  

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