You get what you pay for

Today it was announced that Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), India’s state own energy company plans to bid against Gazprom in the auction for Yukos subsidiary Yuganskneftegaz.

Hooray!  Putin is allowing free and fair competition in the scrap over Yukos’ corpse.  No cut price bargains here for oligarchs with close connections to the Kremlin.

Or should we be looking at this from another angle?

ONGC’s move has been seen by industry analysts as a possible dummy bid in support of Gazprom, the Kremlin’s preferred buyer, and an attempt to make the sell-off look more transparent, the Moscow Times said.

Can anyone seriously imagine Putin handing over control of one of Russia’s most valuable assets to a foreign competitor? 

Putin’s recently gave a statement supporting India’s bid for a permanent, veto-wielding, seat on the UN Security Council.  As I explained yesterday, there is no chance of India ever getting its veto vote, which means that Putin’s support amounts to little more than hot air. 

The problem, of course, with trying to buy support with hot air is that the support one receives tends to have the consistency of, well, hot air.

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