“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Your Move George
In the continuing drama of Vladimir testing George's tolerance for anal trauma, the Bear is changing the rules again.
"Russian bear ready to maul Western oil majors
By Andrew Osborn in Moscow and Michael Harrison in London
Published: 20 September 2006
The biggest Western investment in Russia to date - the $20bn (£10bn) Sakhalin-2 oil and gas development off the Siberian coast - was plunged into further turmoil yesterday after the Kremlin said talks over Gazprom taking a stake in the project had stalled.
The bombshell came as Shell, which is the lead company in the project with a 55 per cent shareholding, faced the very real prospect of being stripped of a key environmental licence for its development of Sakhalin-2, throwing the future of the entire project into uncertainty.
Shell has been in talks with Gazprom for more than a year about swapping 25 per cent of its interest in Sakhalin-2 for a half share in one of the state-owned Russian gas company's onshore fields in central Siberia. But yesterday, Gazprom said the talks with Shell over a possible asset swap were off."