Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the West of double standards, while gazing across the global economy form his own two pronged approach to standards in business.
Mr Putin wants the West to see things from Russia’s point of view. He says: “We hear statements about a threat of dependence on Russia, about the need to restrict Russian companies’ access to European markets. But you must understand us too, and try to look at things from our position.” And while the world frets over the ever rising cost of energy, Vlad impaled European and US governments when he said: “We are being blocked to the North, the South and the West on any pretext. We have to find outlets, to fit into the global development process. What are we supposed to do in these circumstances, when every day we hear the same thing? We start to look for other markets.”
The Russian gas company Gazprom, which according to Mr Putin is now the second largest company in the energy sector in the world, with only Exxon Mobile bigger, may want to buy Centrica, the owner of British Gas. To say this would be a controversial bid is an understatement. The snag is the British government is caught in a tangle over the affair.
The UK always fights the open market battle, and lambasts France and the US for protectionism, how can it stop a Russian company from buying a British business? – Wouldn’t that really smack of double standards?
But then Gazprom is state owned and last Autumn cut off supplies to the Ukraine. Do we really want to give the Russian government so much power over the UK?
It’s been suggested that the competition commission could step in and save the government’s blushes and stop the purchase. The truth is however that, at the moment, it’s by no means certain, indeed it’s probably unlikely, that Gazprom will make a serious bid anyway.
But while Russia accused the West of double standards, Clara Furse, the chief executive of the LSE, has written to Mr Putin after the Russian government refused to allow entry to one of the key investors in the country.
Tom Browder, head the Moscow-based Hermitage Capital Management, the investment company, is the largest portfolio investor in Russia, but Mr Browder is a big critic of the Russian government, frequently asking probing questions about corporate governance.
In her letter Ms Furse said: “ If the single largest investor in the Russian market can be arbitrarily denied entry into the country, that would send a very negative signal to other parties seeking to invest in Russian companies.”
© Investment & Business News 2013