Sberbank fires the analyst who criticized Gazprom and Rosneft
Things have ended poorly for Alex Fak, one of the (now former) analysts at Sberbank CIB who concluded in a recent study that the main beneficiaries of Russia’s export gas pipelines to China (the “Power of Siberia”) and Europe (“Nord Stream 2” and “TurkStream”) are the contractors hired to build the pipelines, not Gazprom or its shareholders. These contractors include Stroygazmontazh (owned by Arkady Rotenberg) and Stroytransneftegaz (half of which is owned by Gennady Timchenko and his family).
In their report, Alex Fak and Anna Kotelnikova argued that Gazprom’s capital investments in these projects are unlikely to turn a profit, highlighting that the “Power of Siberia” is expected to cost $55 billion — 5.5 times more than a proposed alternative pipeline.
Speaking to the magazine RBC, Sberbank CIB head Igor Bulantsev said Fak’s work was “unprofessional” and violated both “internal policies” and ethical standards, resulting in his termination from the company. Last fall, Fak also co-authored a different report that contained a series of critical remarks about Rosneft and its CEO, Igor Sechin. The report was later reissued with several redactions, including the removal of a whole paragraph that began “Rosneft: We Need to Talk About Igor.”
Update: A day later, on May 23, Sberbank CIB also fired Alexander Kudrin, the head of its analytical department.