With the inevitability of the denouement of a Greek tragedy, or of the sudden abiding compassion of Fox Noise anchors for children on the left bank of the Rio Grande, Russian once-and-future-blacklisted aluminum giant Rusal has pulled the plug on its northeast Kentucky
quid pro quo investment.
The miraculous $65 million investment materialized — I wish I could say days, but it’s hours, really — after Senate ex-Majority Leader, he-who-must-not-be-named Moscow, Mitch McConnell squashed new sanctions on Russia in January 2019. WP was on it, though it took a few months.
By the next day, McConnell had successfully blocked the bill, despite the defection of 11 Republicans.
Within weeks, the U.S. government had formally lifted sanctions on Rusal, citing a deal with the company that reduced the ownership interest of its Kremlin-linked founder, Oleg Deripaska. And three months later, Rusal announced plans for an extraordinary partnership with Bouchard’s company, providing $200 million in capital to buy a 40 percent stake in the new aluminum plant in Ashland, Ky. — a project Gov. Matt Bevin (R) boasted was “as significant as any economic deal ever made in the history of Kentucky.”
With a Putinesque smile, Rusal explains it’s suspending its investment in the
boondoggle project while it waits for other partners to raise funds. That, of course, has been difficult for a good two years — ever since Kentuckians who saw only Obamacare standing between them and endless weekends visiting friends and family in opioid rehabilitation facilities elected Democrat Andy Beshear governor in 2019, who promptly vowed to recoup the $15 million his predecessor had tossed in the smelting pot.
So what changed? Could it have been the recent change in Senate leadership on 5 January and Moscow — sorry, Senator — Mitch’s failure to support the Boyar Restoration on 6 January? Someone didn’t deliver something quite recently, in any event.