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starbucks4ever (89.25)

Why, I can also write good things about Russia (special for AndreylikesMTL)



November 20, 2009 – Comments (6)

Of course, patriotism should take priority over the inconvenient facts - or so some comments on my last posts imply. So, lest I be called a lackey of the American imperialists, I thought I'd do my best to give a balanced picture. I'd still report the nasty events, such as the raider attack on Hermitage Capital Management, but I'd also report any piece of good news that I can find. The problem is that I don't see as many good news as I'd like to - Mr. Putin makes it terribly hard to remain positive on Russia sometimes. But here you go, here's your piece of good news. It looks like downtown St. Petersburg  will after all be spared from Gazprom's corn-on-the-cob. It's not official yet, but once the speaker of the parliament has spoken, you can be sure that his statement was agreed upon with His Imperial Majesty. The winners: long-suffering Gazprom shareholders, Russian government's budget, and every Russian and foreigner who thinks St. Petersburg is a beautiful town and would like it to remain that way. The loser: Gazprom's CEO who will not get a chance to buy himself a new multibillion-dollar office at taxpayers' expense. Not that I think this economy of funds will save OGZPY.PK from eventual bankruptcy. But at least the management will now have to look for some other way to siphon off these billions, and the tourists will still keep coming to Petersburg for the time being. 

6 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On November 20, 2009 at 9:54 PM, XXX222 (< 20) wrote:

That's a spectacular building. Why wouldn't St. Peterburgians want it in their city?

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#2) On November 20, 2009 at 10:35 PM, starbucks4ever (89.25) wrote:

MichaelMolenaar , For several reasons. First, you were quite taken in by the cheap special effects produced with Photoshop. With Photoshop, one can make even the ugliest building look catchy. To judge the concept on its own merits, you should look at the Wikepedia image, stripped of the Photoshop effects:   Second, they wanted to put the "gas-scraper", out of all places, in the middle of UNESCO-protected historic downtown where it would ruin all those famous vistas that you see on the postcards.  Third, economically, it was the most stupid project since Timothy Dexter shipped coal to Newcastle. Gazprom's CEO decided he wanted a new personal office. The old one was in a skyscraper in downtown Moscow, specially built by Gazprom for that purpose. It is one of the most luxurious corporate headquarters in the world, and they could be signing gas contracts in that building for the next 10000 years. But the CEO decided he personally could do even better. Meanwhile, the government had to lower Gazprom's taxes to help it survive the financial crunch. Think AIG buying Empire State Building to give its CEO a 1 acre office 1000 feet above the ground because with such a terrific office he will now conduct his insurance business even better and his decisions will be even more genius than they were up to this point.  Hope this helps.-Z.   

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#3) On November 20, 2009 at 10:45 PM, ChrisGraley (28.73) wrote:

zlog, any perspective about the pipeline problems with the Ukraine last year?

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#4) On November 20, 2009 at 11:43 PM, AndreylikesMTL (94.75) wrote:

Thanks Zloj. I am VERY Honored!

I think one needs to give a young democracy time, and things will get better and better.

There was a Record fish run in Far East, and NW of US. I think it is a link from the same chain. Huge Soviet built polluting factories are closing, and new, modern business is taking place.

Slow, but country is big too. Time to invest in Mother Land

Sorry for the remarks in your post,

Andrey Report this comment
#5) On November 21, 2009 at 12:12 AM, starbucks4ever (89.25) wrote:


The pipeline dispute is more complex. At least Gazprom was legally right in this case, and got some unduly bad rap due to politically motivated coverage from the press (big bad Vlad trying to strangle the young Ukrainean democracy...never mind that the young democracy wasn't paying its gas bill).  However, their response to the crisis was far worse than the original problem. They could give the Ukraineans all the concessions they wanted, and it would still be many times cheaper than building two pipelines to bypass the Ukraine. The cost of transporting gas via these alternative routes make it doubtful whether these pipelines will ever be used at all. Talk of burning the house to have your pigs roasted. 

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#6) On November 21, 2009 at 12:28 AM, starbucks4ever (89.25) wrote:


Your point is well taken. The internet and the mobile phones are two other bright spots in the economic landscape. Things are a lot better with these two components of civilization. But it's still adaptation of foreign achievements. The West develops these new technologies, and Russia is just buying the final consumer product with oil dollars. That's not the way to go. There should be at least some homegrown high-tech industries, otherwise all these local achievements will still come to nothing and will fail in the end.

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