Red and Black

The Presidential Election season continues along as I write this, and I promise I am not desperate for it to end. In no way do I feel the issues have been beaten to death and all the talk has become an incessant buzz in my ears. I swear none of it makes me want to scream until my throat is sore and my ears deafened. Not once have I considered moving to a remote island in the south Pacific to get away from it all. Not once. Fine, Tuvalu looks nice.

In the tweeting that occurred during the third and final Presidential debate (far more interesting than the debate itself) I spotted some references to Russia and the 1980s. Apparently, it was said that suggesting Russia was a threat to our country was outdated foreign policy. And yes, if we’re talking about Russia in the “could launch the nukes at any time so you better get ready to hide under your desk” sense, that is clearly an expired view from a long gone age. Too bad that’s not what anyone meant. Even worse, it makes a mockery of a nation that, from an energy perspective, is amassing an “army.” The Cold War is indeed over, but the battle for resources remains.

Gazprom’s press department deserves a humanitarian award. The company’s press page is like a spa in a world of public restrooms. Big photos, background information for almost every release, and a written style that reads like an editorial. The company conducts the same type of business as most other major energy companies, but they present it like it’s exciting and inspiring for more than just the shareholders.

Of course, the company isn’t just looking good. It’s currently reaching out in all directions for production and transportation projects, while looking toward all corners of the continent (and beyond) for the next business deal. From South Stream to Chayandinskoye field to the Arctic, it is a company whose growth is hard to ignore.

If Gazprom were the only company making huge gains in Russia, it would be reason enough to watch the country. But, it’s not. Rosneft is gaining major attention right now for its alliance with BP and takeover of TNK-BP. The deal positions it as perhaps the single most important energy company in the country. Analysis of the deal and its major players continually involve actions of the nation’s government, and effects felt in its economy. From a certain perspective, it could be suggested these companies are guiding the future and fate of Russia.

At the Presidential debate, and subsequently its analysis and punditry, Russia was spoken of as a history lesson, a farce, and a sarcastic joke. From where I sit, it looks like a country on the move.


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