Gazprom, Russia’s national oil company and one of Ketchum’s major clients, escaped President Obama’s “unserious sanctions” (in the world of the Wall Street Journal) that he put into place yesterday as part of his “consequences” threat triggered by Vladimir Putin’s land grab of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.
Those sanctions are part of what Obama considers his “calibrated” approach (surprise, surprise) to the international crisis.
In yesterday's blog, I wondered why Gazprom’s head honcho Alexey Miller was absent from Barry’s hit list.
Today’s WSJ lead editorial noted among Putin’s moneymen missing from the tepid wrath of America’s commander-in-chief was Miller, which it called “a close ally who runs Gazprom and can squeeze Ukraine on gas supplies and prices.”
The squeeze looms. On Monday, Crimean authorities say they plan to nationalize oil rigs off the breakaway peninsula’s coast owned by Ukraine’s national oil company.
The Journal says the ultimate plan is to transfer the rigs to Gazprom, once Putin officially absorbs Crimea into the Motherland. The Ukraine’s fears a loss of its recent $800M investment to modernize the soon-to-be-swiped oil facilities.
Ketchum, which received $7.8M and $3.5M in fees/expenses during the year ended Nov. 2013 from Gazprom and Russian Federation, respectively, will find itself in a tough spot.
It has maintained that its work is not about Russian foreign policy, but about supporting economic development the country. Once the ink dries on the Crimea annexation papers, Gazprom will claim its newest property is located in Russia, a designation accepted only by Russia, North Korea, Venezuela and a handful of other losers.
Does Ketchum go along with the ruse?
As the proverb says: "If you lie down with dogs, you will get up with fleas."