'member that C-130 full of palletized hundos? 'member how gonzo crazy it seemed back then?
- Russia has used oil and gas deals to build influence, deploying companies like Gazprom to cut sweetheart deals for pro-Moscow politicians in other countries. But Ms. Butina did not connect with the likes of Gazprom or other major Russian oil companies. Instead, she relied on a Russian coffee bean trader and a public relations consultant with loose ties to the political party of President Vladimir V. Putin.
All of them seemed out of their depth, each projecting confidence and deep knowledge of the jet fuel business while seeming not to grasp the basics. None appeared to have any idea how to pull off the deal they were negotiating — or the money with which to do it.