Talk about a nice going away present. Just before leaving office on May 6, Russia’s former Prime Minister (now vice premier) Viktor Zubkov sealed a ruling that transferred one third of Russia’s federally owned gas reserves to Gazprom. The transfer, which took place without tender, followed a smaller but hefty one in April, and boosted Gazprom’s wealth by 13 percent.
Meanwhile, “Prime Minister” Putin announced plans for a round of tax holidays for Russian oil prospecting and developing companies. Of course, if I’m a Russian oil prospector, I’ve got to be wondering whether the field I develop will ultimately be nationalized and turned over to one of Putin’s Kremlin kronies. But that’s just me.