The Sheik in the Kremlin


That's Jim Hoagland's term for Vladimir Putin, because Russia is now such a big oil exporter, and benefitting mightily from high oil prices on its 6 million barrels a day sent abroad. All very true, though I think oil is doing nothing to solve Russia's structural problems like the entrenched gangsterism, high mortality, and hangover from 7 mdecades of communism.

Hoagland also fails to note that much of Russia's oil is in politically unstable outlying regions: those with Muslim populations, or in Siberia. China, which must buy more and more oil, is eyeing the depopulation of Siberia, much of which is closer the Beijing than to Moscow. Russia is going to have to hold onto Siberia, if it wants to collect those oil revenues.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Thomas Lifson  9 18 05