Here's a thought experiment:
What would you make of the Deputy Prime Minister of a large country that insisted that, compared to the rest of the world, centralized regulation like price or production caps would be difficult to impose in his country because of the independent nature of the country's legal system and the sanctity of property rights? Sounds reasonable, no?
Then what if I told you that the CEO of the same country's privately-held and largest energy conglomerate was arrested on almost certainly politically motivated fraud and tax evasion charges? That he was sentenced to nine years in prison and a controlling interest in the firm was then transferred to a successor? And if that that successor was forced to flee to Israel to avoid similar charges? And if I pointed out that what followed was a mass exodus of the entire Board of Directors and most of the executive corps to foreign shores to avoid arrest and prosecution? If I then told you similar stories about the larger media and banking interests in said country, you might find our Deputy Prime Minister's claims a bit fantastic, no? Consider:
"It would be irresponsible for Russia to join OPEC because we can't directly regulate the activity of our companies," he said, as nearly all are privately owned.
Yet, he supports "coordinating actions" with the cartel because of the shared interest in lifting prices. He said Moscow isn't in a position to mandate lower production, but Russian oil companies will curb output this year as falling prices cut into their ability to produce.
He figured that if oil slides back under $40 a barrel, Russian output this year could fall twice the amount the government now forecasts, or about 300,000 barrels a day.
Oh, and apparently:
"In Post-Soviet Russia, falling price reduces demand."
Moscow Warns on Low Oil Prices [The Wall Street Journal]