4 Nov 2009 17:37


MOSCOW. Nov 4 (Interfax) - There may be political reasons behind General Motors' decision to drop its plans on selling its European branch, Opel/Vauxhall, said Russian State Duma Deputy Chairman Oleg Morozov.

"In my view, this is more a political than an economic decision," Morozov said in commenting on the GM management's decision not to sell Opel to the Magna-Sberbank consortium.

The decision might have been made under Washington's influence, he said.

"I cannot ascertain this, as I do not have reliable information on this account, but I am inclined to suspect its [the U.S. government's] direct or indirect role in this, and it seems to me that the motives for this are very simple, that is, preserving Opel within the American business's and American politics' influence, both political and economic," Morozov said.

The preparations for Opel's sale to the Magna-Sberbank consortium were absolutely open and were broadly discussed with all the governments, trade unions, and other parties concerned, and there were no substantial reasons to cancel the deal, Morozov said.

"This is exactly why I do not rule out political motives behind this," he said.

Meanwhile, Russian political analysts think that the motives for the decision were purely economic and there are no political undertones to it.

"GM did not drop the deal for political motives. There is no politics here. Apparently it found that it could cope without foreign investments," Vladislav Belov, head of the Center for German Studies at the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told Interfax.

In his opinion, the stance of German Chancellor Angela Merkel who express surprise is quite understandable. "She had supported the deal. It is a question of the reputation of the federal chancellor. At the same time one should not expect any negative political effects, such as the deterioration of relations between Washington and Berlin. And even less so should anyone expect any changes for the worse in the economic cooperation between Russia and Germany," he said.

In Belov's opinion, the cancellation of the deal should hardly be regarded as a bad economic loss for Russia. "Russia is sorry, of course, that the deal will not materialize. But Magna may be offered cooperation in other spheres, such as the production of automobile components. And that is very important and interesting for the Russian market," he said.

Alexei Makarkin, first deputy director of the Center for Political Technologies, holds a similar opinion.

"It was not a political decision but a step prompted by economic motives. It is a different matter that Angela Merkel's position amounts to demonstrating Germany's interest in new investors, including Russian ones," he said to Interfax.