Putin Campaigning in Geneva


Vladimir Putin arrived in the Swiss city of Geneva on 13 June 2011 as a "quasi-presidential candidate," Nikita Robert reports in Tribune de Genève. Officially in Switzerland to attend the 100th Assembly of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Putin's visit is clearly part of his presidential strategy. "Expect lots of news; it will be interesting," said one Putin confidant, promising "surprises." The message was clear: Putin will occupy the front of the media scene, both in Russia and on the international scene.

During his private meetings in Geneva, Putin will discuss the role of Russian oil traders in Switzerland. Gunvor, controlled by Putin's old friend, Gennady Timchenko, has established itself as one of the world's biggest oil traders. Rosneft and Bashneft have opened offices in Geneva and Zurich, while TNK-BP could do the same. Whether this is just a reorganisation of the sales networks for Russia's "black gold" or a sign of conflict between Russia's oil majors, Putin, the grand conductor of Russia's energy policy, will have his say.


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