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The Guardian: Oleg bites back

United Kingdom
Published: Nov 03, 2006

I read with interest your report on the Sakhalin situation (Kremlin attack dog vows to take on Shell, October 4). The stereotypical portrayal of me is worthy of Robert Ludlum: I am called Oleg (at least you got that right); I am 6ft 2in; I am called an attack dog – well, I’ve been described as many things but my resemblance to a rottweiler is marginal; I am wearing a black coat (I do own one, in common with many Russians, although it’s not a full-length trench coat); I (apparently) travel in a leopard-print jet, although dogs aren’t that fond of such furnishing and prefer the usual leather or plastic seats. I am portrayed like the assassin in The Bourne Supremacy (although, believe me, any such likeness really is slight); the kind of man who is motivated solely by greed and money and who couldn’t possibly have any bona fide environmental interest.

The underlying story is really much more simple: Sakhalin is a huge oil and gas development, taking place in a remote, relatively unspoiled area. It is in our interests to undertake such a project with a consistent, pragmatic and realistic concern for the area’s environment – such concern is not the exclusive preserve of western liberals.

Oleg Mitvol

Deputy head, Service for Supervision of Natural Resources Management, Moscow,,1938228,00.html and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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