Taxation and Expropriation - The Destruction of the Yukos Oil Empire

63 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2012

See all articles by Paul B. Stephan

Paul B. Stephan

University of Virginia School of Law

Date Written: August 2012


This article explores the background to, and significance of, the Russian renationalization of the Yukos energy conglomerate through a tax assessment followed by an asset auction, then a bankruptcy proceeding. In a nutshell, the rise and fall of Yukos illuminates four narratives about the modern world economy. First, it exposes the challenges – some might say insuperable barriers – to creation of a liberal society on Russian soil. Second, it shows the deep problems with top-down law reform in societies undergoing rapid and wrenching political, economic and social change. Third, it demonstrates how renationalization works in a particularly high-stakes context. Finally, it reveals the capabilities and limits of international dispute settlement through courts, arbitration, and diplomacy when confronting profound conflicts between private rights and fiercely guarded national interests.

Keywords: Investment protection, international dispute resolution, tax

Suggested Citation

Stephan, Paul B., Taxation and Expropriation - The Destruction of the Yukos Oil Empire (August 2012). Houston Journal of International Law, Forthcoming, Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2012-48, Available at SSRN:

Paul B. Stephan (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

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United States
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434-924-7536 (Fax)

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