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A Long But Worthy Read

The Moscow Times has been publishing a ten-part series on how Putin’s regime established its authoritarian hold on Russia. No. 10 deals with the energy sector:

One of the most worrisome results of the past eight years, insiders and analysts said, is that Russia may soon face the prospect of failing to produce enough oil and gas supplies to feed growing markets both at home and abroad.

One hallmark of Putin’s presidency was the decision to liberalize gas prices inside the country, due to be achieved by 2011, in order to make the domestic market more attractive for its producers.

Yet, the fact remains that production at Soviet-era fields in western Siberia is dwindling, and political distraction, in addition to unfavorably high tax regimes, means that the Arctic and eastern offshores remain largely undeveloped.

“This is the result of the fact that private initiatives have been curbed and the advantage has been given to state companies, whose interest is not in production, but in the redistribution of control,” Milov said.

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