This made me chuckle:
Gazprom is “a bit disappointed” by protracted talks with BP’s Russian venture, TNK-BP, about taking a controlling stake in the Kovykta gas field, the Russian gas giant’s deputy chief executive Alexander Medvedev said today.
“The ministry of resources can call the licence back if conditions are not executed. The ball is not in our court. We are a little bit disappointed,” Reuters quoted Medvedev as telling a briefing.
The ball is not in Gazprom’s court, but if “conditions are not executed”, i.e. TNK-BP doesn’t sell them a controlling stake, then Gazprom will ensure the ministry of resources shuts them down.
There was a time when Russians used to deliver speeches – Khruschev was good at them – as if nobody was around to hear them. It looks as though those times have returned. Either they really don’t give a damn what the world thinks about property rights in Russia, or there were some meaty slaps to foreheads partway through Medvedev’s briefing.