I read with amazement Minister Kudrin's statements over the weekend to US investors and others that the sell off of Yukos assets (presumably Yugansk) will be based on "transparency, competition and commercial results." How the Minister can make such a statement with a straight face is hard to fathom. Perhaps the sell off will meet those standards but it is fatally flawed by the fact that the state has unlawfully engineered the alienation of the assets in the first place and has conducted a takeover battle against Yukos that has been totally non transparant. In other words, an orderly auction of stolen assets does not correct the underlying theft.
Similarly the Minister's pious statement that President Putin has twice said that the authorities have no goal of making Yukos bankrupt rings equally untrue. The state's actions in freezing Yukos' assets and bank accounts have, as a practical matter, rendered the company insolvent, a precondition to bankruptcy. Perhaps the President's statement ranks with his statement in October of 2003 that the authorities were not going after Yukos, simply dealing with alleged criminal activity by a few of its shareholders.
This is all getting surreal.