Gazprom has sacked Alexander Ryazanov, a VP and CEO of Gazprom’s oil-producing arm, Gazpromneft (made up of Sibneft and whatnot), and is reportedly about to replace him with a former KGB colleague of Putin. Ryazanov was a holdover of a pre-Putin management team, and as such made more sense as a top Gazprom manager than a general-purpose KGB stooge. By the way, Gazprom is a publically traded company: let’s see how it explains this move to its minority shareholders. Also note the managerial decline at what used to be Sibneft: under Abramovich, Sibneft was among the more efficiently run Russian oil majors; after the Gazprom takeover, Ryazanov’s appointment was something of a step back; the quality of the new CEO will likely to be next to zero: a lovely evolution. The same applies to the “St. Petersburg” majority on Gazprom’s board: a bunch of nobodies and nothings.
In other news, the Duma has passed in the third reading a bill amending the election law so that candidates may no longer engage in personal criticism of their opponents. Ridiculous as it sounds, the bill is awaiting Putin’s approval. A nail or two more, and the coffin of political speech will be ready for a state burial.