During the plenary session of Russian Energy Week, an energy forum held in Moscow, a reporter in attendance asked Russian President Vladimir Putin if Putin would put his hard-earned rubles down on a Tesla. The arm-wrestling, hang-gliding, judo-fighting leader of Mother Russia gave as his short answer, "Why not?"

Note that Putin's tacit nod came wrapped in a larger, more complex answer. While Putin likes "light, fast, and efficient" electric cars, "especially the modern ones," he added, "We are open, we buy and sell — we buy everything that is useful for us, and sell everything that is profitable. Therefore, there is nothing special about it." After justifying the Tesla for commercial reasons, however, he offered his opinion on a better way to reduce emissions: "Electric cars] are very good for cities because we don't need emissions in places where lots of people live. But I think that [a] natural gas vehicle fuel is more eco-friendly at the moment." Putin could have been speaking from genuine concern about using coal-fired power plants to produce electricity. Or he could have been talking up how his country would do things, Russia being the world's second-largest producer of natural gas.

No matter — the shades of gray don't matter more than "Why not?" Those approving two words will serve Tesla, the automaker eyeing an imminent move to establish official Russian operations. Those words will also gratify the estimated 300 Tesla owners in Russia who have spent fantastic sums to import Teslas with reduced functionality, and banded together to found an unofficial service center while they wait for the arrival of the mothership.

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