Crude Conspiracy: How Russian Cops And Criminals Collude To Steal Oil
Oil is the lifeblood of the Russian economy. It’s also a commodity prized by criminal groups that illegally siphon off millions of tons a year from Russia’s pipelines to sell on the black market -- often with the complicity, or direct oversight, of corrupt law enforcement officials. A new investigation by RFE/RL’s Russian Service details how this theft of the country’s key natural resource has flourished in its top oil-producing region -- the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District -- and how those who blew the whistle have faced legal blowback. While the investigation focuses on one region, numerous sources confirm that the same schemes operate in other oil-producing regions across Russia. So how does this theft happen?