The battle for Sviazinvest would never pass as soap opera. Who would believe it? But the 1997 struggle for ownership and control of Russia’s largest and potentially most profitable telecommunication company among one-time allies highlights the perverted and seamy nature of Russia’s economic reform. The battle sparked not only a scurrilous, semi-violent struggle over ownership of valuable corporate assets, but also a battle for influence over Boris Yeltsin, then the president of Russia. J.R.Ewing in Dallas never reached so high in his battles. However, within a year, on August 17, 1998 when the Russian stock market crashed and their paper holdings fell to almost one-tenth of their original value, the winners also became losers.