Perhaps he was about people like the dude in There Will Be Blood.
I don't see this as a comparison between Ruaffo and the Irwing family in Eastern Canada or a Russian oligarch, but as a comparison between Metaphasic radiation and petroleum or warp drive. It doesn't matter if pre-warp drive Romulan leaders were really a simple bunch of thugs or not. I don't care who they are. They found a new powerful ressource and I wont miss this opportunity.