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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Prosecutors Are Not The Problem

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The idea that a group of the nation's richest individuals, many of whom got their wealth by what we will politely call dubious means, would blame law enforcement agencies for damaging their reputations in the world business community by pursuing clear indications of large-scale theft is nothing short of absurd.

Even more so given that on the same day, one of their own -- LUKoil -- was using law enforcement officials, in this case court bailiffs, to black out a national television station. Despite owning just 15 percent of TV6, a LUKoil subsidiary had managed to bankrupt the station on the basis of an old law.

But in the letter the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs sent to the prosecutor general complaining about its investigations, where was the outrage at LUKoil for damaging Russia's reputation in the world?

You didn't hear the U.S. State Department spokesman expressing concern about the poor Sibur managers in jail on suspicion of major asset stripping at Gazprom. Instead it was the questionable legality of the TV6 decision that he found troubling.

With the criteria for bankruptcy used by LUKoil to steal TV6 away from Boris Berezovsky, we could bankrupt practically every company in the country. Isn't that a concern for industrialists worried about the reputation of Russia's business environment?

And what about the damage the Press Ministry has caused to Russia's reputation? Instead of allowing the TV6 team to stay on the air until a tender for the license is held or at least giving TV6 a chance to warn its viewers, Press Minister Mikhail Lesin abruptly pulled the plug at midnight Monday, catching the person speaking in mid-sentence.

After this middle-of-the night maneuver, what is the world supposed to think about how business is done in Russia?

Lesin still has a chance to redeem himself, though. He can give the TV6 journalists temporary permission to use the frequency, whether or not they "get organized" (read distance themselves from Berezovsky). And he can make sure that when the tender is held March 27, they are given every opportunity to win.