This is the prison camp in the desolate uranium mining town of Krasnokamensk near the Chinese border in a far-away part of Siberia where former Russian Yukos-creator Mikhail Khodorkovsky is scheduled to spend the next six years of his life.
He has already served two of the years of his prison sentence.
No one – either outside or inside Russia – really doubts that he is a de facto political prisoner of the Putin regime. He might have meddled in politics, but in a democracy that’s certainly no crime even if you happen to be a succesful businessman.
In the meantime the Russian authorities are preparing the final dismanling of the previously highly succesful Yukos oil company, as well as the take-over of other oil assets, bringing app a third of the country’s oil production back in state hands.
An obvious consequence of all these maneuverings is that we are now seeing oil exports from Russia declining. While exports increased by 14 % last year, this year the figure will be far less than expexted, and likely below 2 %.
Privatization is sent to the GULAG – and state inefficience is taking over key parts of the key oil sector.
It’s not a good story.