Learning English - Words in the News
11 February, 2005 - Published 16:58 GMT
Russia to restrict foreign bids for natural resources
Russia plans to bar foreign owned firms from bidding for major natural resources. A Russian government department said that only companies at least 51 per cent Russian-owned would be allowed to bid. This report from Andrew Walker:
The decision by the Ministry of Natural Resources is the most explicit move yet to re-assert control over the extraction of the country's natural wealth, such as oil, gas and metals. But there have been other moves that have clearly unsettled some foreign companies that are interested in Russia. Events at the oil company Yukos are a striking case, where the main shareholder is in prison and the main asset has been forcibly sold off to pay a tax bill.
Yegor Gaidar was Russian Prime Minister in the 1990s and one of the leading architects of the moves towards the market economy after the end of communism. He says he has spoken to many leading business executives who are interested in Russia, but don’t like the political environment.
He says that big international companies are generally pragmatic. He says they don’t care about the lack of democracy and can work well enough with corruption. But what they can’t stand, he says, is unpredictability. Nonetheless, Russia's extensive natural resources will mean that foreign businesses will continue to seek ways of being involved.
Andrew Walker, BBC Economics Correspondent
to re-assert control
the extraction of
a striking case
one of the leading architects