If you have a retirement plan, you’re probably an investor in the Russian economy

By Laurie Bennett

March 18, 2014 at 12:22pm

Sanctions against Russia for its recent activities in Ukraine are a complicated business, as the New York Times points out.

American investors have sent billions of dollars to Putin’s country, with bundles of money going to state-controlled entities.

The interactive Muckety map above shows relationships of Gazprom, the privatized Russian energy company.

Viktor Zubkov, former Russian prime minister, is chairman. Although the Russian government is still the majority stockholder, western companies such as BlackRock and PIMCO are investors. The map shows both firms, along with other companies that have funds holding stock in Gazprom.

Check your mutual funds statement and you might well find that you’re a direct or indirect investor in one of Russia’s largest enterprises. (If you don’t find listings for Gazprom, you might check for other Russian companies such as Rosneft or Lukoil.)

If you own stock or invest in a firm that owns stock, you have plenty of company.

Sen. John McCain, one of the harshest critics of President Obama’s response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Crimea, listed assets with American Funds in his most recent financial disclosure statement.

American Funds, in turn, is an investor in Gazprom.

Perhaps, in a global economy, foreign relations calls for more stock-waving and less saber-rattling.

However, as the Times points out:

Governments are loath to interfere with the free flow of capital; the Obama administration has urged caution in pushing measures that might upset fragile markets. And institutions, with a penchant for profit, generally do not like such restrictions.
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