Letter From the Editors: Aug. 1 - 7, 2016

Author: Xenia Grushetsky

Seeing Double: How Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Hijacked Politics

Russian officials this week seem to be suffering from multiple personality disorder, like Sybil in the eponymous cult film. First case in point: The actual legal status of Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil company. According to Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov, "Officially, this is not a state-owned company; that much is clear. But naturally, there are several viewpoints on the matter." That sort of answer does not give much clarity. Meanwhile, Rosneft is still hoping to throw its hat in the ring when it comes to privatizing Bashneft - another state-owned asset. The company’s wishy-washy legal status means it adapts whichever "identity" is convenient for it (read: the Russian government) in a particular scenario, like a "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde spawned by the bureaucracy machine."

Russia’s two most famous Igors - Sechin and Shuvalov - seem to be suffering from a similar condition. They just can’t decide whether they’re coming or going. Plainly put, despite calls for Russian officials to abandon foreign property and vacation only at home in Mother Russia, Shuvalov still owns a luxury apartment in London. Meanwhile, Sechin’s yacht (apparently named after his new young wife) continues to sail the seas of Europe, writes RBC Daily. Sechin is even threatening to sue Novaya gazeta and other publications for "disseminating materials containing inaccurate information."

Maybe Igor Ivanovich should relax. According to Tatyana Stanovaya, such media leaks are nothing but a rousing game of "bait the FSB," meant to show "that even if it wanted to, the FSB would be unable to get its hands on these top officials and Putin’s closest friends." Despite a spate of high-ranking arrests last week, it seems there still are people who remain off limits in Russia.

The most famous multiple personality case this week does not hail from Russia. Rather, he is America’s ...

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