British politicians may not be able to achieve much but London\’s powerful international business community needs to be taking this threat personally. If London-listed companies such as BP cannot be assured of proper shareholder protection in Moscow, then the many Russian companies listed in London must be made be to fear the consequences.
The simplest and fairest starting point would be for regulators over here to announce an investigation into the shareholder protection afforded to all companies operating in Britain and Russia. It may not help BP overnight, but official opprobrium over here is the best way of deterring official corruption over there.
So Russia is not making the proper distinction between business and State power. This doesn\’t mean that the UK should do the same thing.
It\’s directly analagous to import restrictions: just because some benighted foreigners are made poorer by their own governments does not mean that we should make ourselves poorer by following their lead.