As I’m sitting here on the train from Glasgow to London with my shiny new iPad in front of me, free wi-fi, and little else to occupy the next four and a half hours, I thought I would try a little experiment. So, welcome to the first ever post on Siberian Light written entirely on an iPad…
The big news of the last couple of days, of course, has been the BP-Rosneft deal which has seen BP take a hefty 9% stake in Rosneft and Rosneft, in turn, take a 5%stake in BP. As you can imagine, early reaction from Russia bloggers has been pretty mixed, although almost everyone is agreed that this deal is a pretty big gamble for BP.
- First off the mark was Robert Amsterdam who, while not being surprised at the deal, went on to call it as a big (existential even) gamble for BP that could have an equally big (transformational) payoff. He then went on to note that, as with all gambles, the house always wins in the end…
- The Streetwise Professor also goes with the gambling theme – “The company reminds me of a gambler who has lost several big hands in a row, and figures that his luck just has to change.”
- Vadim Niktin sees this deal as a big win for Russia – because BP is reeling, Russia hold all the cards in this relationship.
- Windows to Russia is perhaps the only blogger so far to see this as a win not just for Russia, but for BP too – because BP gains Russian protection from America.
- And finally, Tim Newman, who has the benefit of actually having worked in the Russian oil industry looks at the potential benefits for both sides before concluding that the real loser in this deal is America, who lose a “reliable, politically safe energy provider”.
Moving on to other blog posts that caught my eye this week:
- Anatoly Karlin develops his own list of the world’s ten most powerful countries. Russia comes home in third, some way behind the USA and China.
- A brilliant info graphic from Russian Sphinx on the state of Russian LinkedIn.
- The Devushka Diaries takes a trip to see Comrade Lenin.
- An intriguing two part analysis of Georgia’s new strategy in the Caucasus.
- Mission to Moscow reports on an unexpected demonstration of human concern by Moscow’s traffic police ( you’ll need to scroll down towards the end for the good stuff).
- Russian Language and Culture analyzes Stress.
- Natale has a detailed commentary of Eugene Ivanov’s recent article about Khodorkovsky.
- A Good Treaty translates an interview with “Maskim Kononenko, an insanely active Russian LJ blogger, journalist, and creator of the wildly funny vladimir.vladimirovich.ru short stories saga.”
- David McDuff of A Step At A Time considers the Mistral arms deal between France and Russia, and it’s implications for Swedish (and Baltic) security.
- Remember the houses that Putin insisted were rush built for the victims of this summer’s fires? Well, they’re not fit to live in say the new residents and Other Russia. Streetwise Professor weighs in, noting that the shambolic rush job reminds him of an episode of Arrested Development in which a house wrapped in a ribbon collapses as soon as the ribbon is cut.
- After the Wikileaks revelation that many in the US government consider Russian loans to countries like Iceland to be little more than Russian “vanity projects”, Robert Amsterdam argues that the US might have to get used to many more of these as Russia’s oil based economy goes from strength to strength.
- Putin’s announcement that 20,000 jobs will be created in Russia’s monogorods does nothing but reinforce failure, argues The Streetwise Professor.
- And finally, I’ll leave you with the news that WTF should be translated into Russian as “what’s happening”. Who knew?
Well that’s it for another week. In case you’re wondering, the iPad experiment went fairly well. I’ve just gone past Carlisle as I type this, and the post is complete with the exception of editing in the links. Although I found it really easy to copy across the links from Reeder (my RSS feed reader of choice), creating hyperlinks in the WordPress app has proved such a royal pain that I’ve just added them in as plain text for now, ready to be edited into the post when I get back home to London.