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.

Paul B. Stephan, Taxation and Expropriation—The Destruction of the Yukos Oil Empire, 35 Houston Journal of International Law, 1–51 (2013).