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Governors, Oligarchs, and Siloviki: Oil and Power in Russia

Russia.NEI.Visions No. 68, February 2013

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The contest for control of Russia’s oil industry has been an integral feature of the country’s politics ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Therefore, an assessment of political elite dynamics and the competition for control over Russia’s oil sector can explain why this industry has been subject to such rapid management changes, including the rise and demise of Russia’s private oil corporations and the emergence of Rosneft as a national oil company (NOC). Whilst the 1990s and 2000s saw different management styles evolve in the industry, much of that competition took place during a time when Russia could exploit its Soviet-era legacy fields. The rise of Rosneft as Russia’s super National Oil Company (NOC) has been driven just as much by internal political elite dynamics as it has by the challenges which Russia’s oil industry faces, as it attempts to tap more remote fields in East Siberia and the Arctic.

Ahmed Mehdi is an analyst at leading London-based corporate intelligence firm.

Dr Shamil Yenikeyeff is a Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies and a Senior Associate Member at the Russian and Eurasian Studies Centre, St Antony's College, University of Oxford.

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