Now that Russia’s snatching of Crimea is complete, the dirty business of plundering assets is kicking into gear.
The process, of course, does not involve lawyers and courts; it relies on the use of force. In the highest-profile hostile takeover to date, a truckload of armed, masked men wearing military-style uniforms seized control of a Simferopol car dealership March 18. The property, located on Balaklavskaya Street in the Crimean capital, belonged to the Bogdan Corp., a Kyiv-headquartered auto company with dealerships across Ukraine. Bogdan Corp. reportedly has close ties to Petro Poroshenko, one of the richest men in Ukraine and a member of the Ukrainian Rada. He was also a prominent figure in the Euromaidan protests in Kiev.
What person or entity wrested control of the dealership from Bogdan Corp. is difficult to discern. When journalists from a local television station, ATR, started asking questions, they were quickly chased away by the armed brigands, and one unfortunate reporter took a rifle butt on the chin.
A statement issued by Bogdan Corp. asserted that several employees at the dealership were being held against their will.
With law and order on the peninsula in disarray, it seems a fair bet that the dealership take-away marks the start of the process of divvying up Crimea’s spoils.