Yukos, the former Russian energy giant, is now dead. Vladimir Putin has added “company killer” to his resume as he and his KGB cronies successfully stole the company from Michael Khodorkovsky and private shareholders (Khodorkovsky initially stole the company from the Russian people, so he’s not an innocent babe).

Truth be told, the Yukos saga was really over 3 years ago when Khodorkovsky was imprisioned in a Siberian Labor Prison for providing political opposition to Putin and the Kremlin. (Yes, politicians in Russia still imprision political opponents in prisons in Siberia.)

This should be a reminder to any of us that governments can and will take anything they want at the barrel of a gun. In Russia specifically, few care about the protection of private property. The theft is quite bold in Russia, but we can see similar, smaller theft attempts everywhere (like the “windfall profits” taxes here in the US, Venezuela’s Chavez renegotiating the ownership of oil production, etc.).