Two Russian oligarchs are battling in a London civil court over the spoils of Russian privatization. One is “in” with the Kremlin. The other is “out.” The one who is “out” played the game of Russian politics and lost. Their case shows that the Kremlin decides whether they can keep their spoils or not. Their testimony reveals why such insecure oligarchs have little incentive to create value. As long as the owners of Russia’s “national champions” have such insecure property rights, Russia cannot be a major player in the world economy, member of the WTO or not.
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