I just noticed, walking home from the bus stop, that there is another LUKOIL station down the block. The shiny red signs really make me confused.
On the one hand, it makes me giggle because in Russian “luk” means “onion” and so I always call it the “onion station” despite the fact that this joke is very lame and boring. At least is sounds funny in my head.
The encroachment of Russian oil companies also scares me a bit. Despite the fact that I love speaking Russian and many friends of mine are Russian, I really do not want to see Russian influence here. The fact that Russia is slowly but surely taking away all the rights that were given at the collapse of the Soviet Union and while supporting human rights abuses abroad makes me not want it in my home. I also see and completely understand why Russian leaders are land-grubbing megalomaniacs. But don’t we already have to bend over for Saudi Arabia? Isn’t putting up with the Saudi family enough for us? The fact that Russian television commonly maligns us on the air while their President buddies up to ours does not bode well for our future relations.
Of course many people will disagree with me, and with cause. I don’t really see Russia as an evil empire filled with “evildoers” (can that phrase even be used anymore or has Bush ruined it?) bent on destoying capitalism. However, I think we should be very careful about how together we want to be economically. They value strength above all else. If there is a weakness, they will exploit it to full advantage.