Russia

Call it the new protectionism. Pressured by industrialists, Russia's government has begun awarding natural-resource contracts to Russian consortiums--over Western rivals. In the latest case, Australia's BHP International Resources lost to newly created Udokan Mining--55% owned by Russian state and private interests and 45% by a Hong Kong-born entrepreneur, Edward Wong--for rights to develop the Udokan copper mine. It's one of the world's largest deposits, near Russia's Chinese border. "Many Russian industrialists now understand that they have to fight for their own survival," says Andrei Chuguyevsky, president of Udokan, which won the contract after promising local equipment makers $700 million in orders. An upcoming tender for Russia's largest proven gold deposit, Sukhoi Log, may also be for Russians only. Earlier, a Western consortium, including DuPont Co. subsidiary Conoco Inc. and Norsk Hydro, lost out to Russians on the Shtockman gas field in the Barents Sea, after spending millions on feasibility studies.