Friday, December 17, 2004

A Friendlier Venue
It's not terribly surprising that Yukos was able to find a court in Texas willing to involve itself in the battle over its dismemberment, even though a couple of years ago Yukos convinced another Texas court that it didn't have enough activities in the state to be sued there.

At this stage, it appears that the goal of Yukos's management-in-exile has shifted from preventing the sale of their largest subsidiary--which appears to be a foregone conclusion--to making it as politically costly as possible for President Putin. Taken together with Russia's heavy-handed, unsuccessful meddling in Ukraine's recent election, this has produced the worst patch in US/Russia relations since the collapse of the USSR.

At the end of the day, though, too much of Russia's financial future is bound up in trade--especially mutually-beneficial energy trade--with the EU and US for the rift to be allowed to worsen and become permanent. The outcome is uncertain, but pragmatism should still win out over pride to keep Russia at least nominally in the Western camp, rather than striking out entirely on its own, again.

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