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10 January 2015


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If you invite the wolf into your hen house, do not be surprised when it turns on you.


No doubt the chains of title are obscured in the Crimea. The crimes committed to obtain possession are undoubtedly manifest, but when did the NYT decide that it was newsworthy to inform the public that a Mr. Nicolay Kuzmenko lost control of his property to a militia. As noted in the article this is SOP in the region. Obviously, Mr. Kuzmenko forgot to have his own force available to protect his property.
He should have followed the actions of the Israeli/Ukrainian nationalist and oligarch listed in the piece, Mr. Kolomoisky. He was made Governor of Dnipropetrovsk after the Feb. coup in Kiev because he has his own militia. Kolomoisky is backing "our guy Yatsy" the PM of the Ukrainian regime and is in a struggle with Poroshenko for power. He also heads the natural gas exploration which hired the VP son, Hunter Biden. He also is an enemy of Putin.
Are we left to believe that the NYT is in the pocket of Kolomoisky or is this another US State Dept. steno job?


William R. Cumming

Probably no label of PUTIN THE GREAT applicable to this Tsar IMO!

A. Pols

One wonders about the back-story here, as in being curious about how some of the "property owners" came into possession, given the 20+ year history of Ukrainian corruption. The early Yeltsin years never ended in Ukraine.

Perhaps these confiscations are more in the nature of revoking title transfers that were themselves, theft to begin with?

Medicine Man

Possibly Ukrainian oligarchs losing their ill gotten gains in what was once the eastern portion of their country? As A. Pols speculates above, I wouldn't rule out this being a repatriation of sorts.


Expropriation by the state for public purposes is usually legal when the compensation is adequate.



The one point is whether the seizures of property serve a public purpose. I can see that in a shipyard in light of the Sewastopol Naval base.

The other problem is always proper valutation of the property, since that is usually the issue of contention. It is problematic if there is no or no adequate compensation.


It is entirely possible and probable that Russia is punishing oligarchs for suppoting the Kiev government by seizing their Krimean holdings, and yet ...

"as in being curious about how some of the "property owners" came into possession, given the 20+ year history of Ukrainian corruption. The early Yeltsin years never ended in Ukraine."

Yes, that's a valid point: Ukrainian oligarchs are remarkable for their greed and the extent of their graft and stand out even in a post-soviet context. They were never reigned in.

And considering how oligarchs came into possession of their property, the question of compensation for property seizure begins to look a bit weird.

So an oligarch gained possession of a formerly state owned company after 1991 for a penny when it was worth so much more, then extracted money from it for two decades, stashed that away in Switzerland, Cyprus and Israel - and now laments Russia's theft and demands more money.

Leaves a stale taste.

Margaret Steinfels

In the absence of accepted property law and independent legal review, a circulating body of oligarchs can always jump in and seize what is available in a chaotic situation. Doesn't bode well for investment in Crimea or, for that matter, Ukraine.

NB: Deleted a comment wafting of anti-Semitism.
Margaret Steinfels

Swami Bhut Jolokia

What? Nobody here blaming Obama for this?



Polish up the crystal ball, the blame won't take long. It still won't be America's obligation to clean up or repay anyone though.


"It still won't be America's obligation to clean up or repay anyone though"

Just wait until some oligarch sues Putin over the matter for a couple billion in a US court under the boundless US ideas about jurisdiction, and the US allows the lawsuit to proceed just to harass Russia.

It is but a matter of time until that happens IMO.

That would be an American thing that would happen under any president, not just Obama.

different clue

Swami Bhut Jolokia,

Uhh . . . I thought it went without saying, and therefor didn't even need to be said.

(Technically, I could say Nuland and Biden and Slaughter and etc. and therefore not specifically Obama his own self.)

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