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One of the high points of the St. Petersburg
meeting between President Putin and the
Western business community came when
Shell Chief Executive Officer Jeroen van der
Veer got up to sincerely thank Mr. Putin for
helping to resolve the problems besetting
Shell in Russia and finding a way forward in
cooperation with Gazprom. Putin listened,
smiled ironically, then shot back words to the
effect that yes, we know that a number of the
deals from the 1990s were corrupt – bribes
were paid for contracts which were not in
Russia’s interests – we know by whom, and to
whom…but we are now willing to forget past
misdeeds, and after revising the contracts in
question, to work collaboratively on the basis
of a mutually beneficial collaboration.
Certainly, Shell – which sees Russia as one of
its major development priorities – can count
itself extraordinarily lucky to get off as easily
as it has…would the Dutch government have
been so forgiving?

Posted Date: 
5 September 2007 - 8:46pm