Wednesday, December 12, 2007

No bliss is felt, however

.... by the British Council which has been ordered by the Russian government to shut up shop by January everywhere except the Moscow HQ, see here, headed by a picture of Putin with the face of the cat that stole the cream (not the one on the right)

One might say 'tin-pot dictator' if it were not such a big country. It's all getting back at the UK, about the Litvinenko situation in particular (Russia won't extradite who Britain thinks is responsible for the murder of the dissident), the expulsion of 4 Russian diplomats from the UK following said murder (or something), maybe the spy-in-the-stone, and anyway.

And anyway, one has to flex one's considerable pectorals, no? (Picture from the Telegraph, and that's the last time I've read that paper!)

The BC closure is officially due to the usual technocratic/bureaucratic reason 'no legal basis for its operation', 'violation of tax laws' and the usual. It's so transparent, no? There's an agreement on the renewal of its operations that has not been signed since July - I wonder whose fault that is.

If the Yuke is anything like the US about paying employee taxes in foreign countries, the Russians might have a point. The 'murricans don't on principle pay any taxes for their employees in foreign countries on the grounds that their - omigod US greenbacks - money might support a dictatorship. A few years ago their Lithuanian employees were in deep shtick because naturally they had not paid their taxes either (in Eastern Europe private individuals often don't see a connection between them, the state and the quality of services they receive). So there was a small question of an outstanding tax bill of some 1.5 million Lithuanian litu (about 500 k USD).
Somehow though I cannot see them getting away with this in Germany, the Yuke or France.

Mr Putin has nominated a chap for president, who in turn, while not yet being President until he gets elected in March, has already nominated Putin as prime minister. Oh darlings, it's such a love-in!