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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 also non-profit sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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