Tag Archives: khodorkovsky

Khodorkovsky as the neo-Soviet Sakharov?

Foreign Policy offers a long feature on dissident oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s neo-Soviet persecution by the Putin Kremlin, which Dave Essel highly recommends:

He has been stabbed, spied on, and sent to solitary confinement. His oil company assets have been seized by the state, his fortune decimated, his family fractured. And now, after nearly seven years in a Siberian prison camp and a Moscow jail cell, he is back on trial in a Russian courtroom, sitting inside a glass cage and waiting for a new verdict that could keep him in the modern Gulag for much of the rest of his life. Each day, he is on display as if in a museum exhibit, trapped for all to see inside what his son bitterly calls “the freaking aquarium.”

Mikhail Khodorkovsky was once Russia’s richest man, the most powerful of the oligarchs who emerged in the post-Soviet rush of crony capitalism, and the master of 2 percent of the world’s oil production. Now he is the most prominent prisoner in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, a symbol of the perils of challenging the Kremlin and the author of a regular barrage of fiery epistles about the sorry state of society from his cramped cell. In a country where the public space is a political wasteland, his case and his letters from prison evoke a different age.

“No doubt,” he wrote us from inside the glass cage, “in modern Russia any person who is not a politician but acts against the government’s policies and for ordinary, universally recognized human rights is a dissident.”

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EDITORIAL: Warrior Khodokovsky slashes Putin yet Again

EDITORIAL

Warrior Khodorkovsky slashes Putin yet Again

At the second trial of dissident oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky last week, not one but two major figures in the Putin government heaped scorn on the ludicrious charge that Khodorkovsky personally embezzled millions of tons of crude oil from his company while he was a free man.

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Obama must End his Craven Silence on Russia

An editorial in the Washington Post notes that Russia is flouting the Obama administration on human rights (it overlooks the fact that, as we report below, the deal over Iran sanctions is for a watered-down sham no different than several similar pacts reached in the Bush years, and the deal over nukes is equally dishonest, achieving only tiny marginal changes in weapons stockpiles — so the price Obama has paid for this escalation in human rights atrocities is truly appalling).

RUSSIA’S GOVERNMENT has calculated that it needs better relations with the West to attract more foreign investment and modern technology, according to a paper by its foreign ministry that leaked to the press last month. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has recently made conciliatory gestures to Poland, while President Dmitry Medvedev sealed a nuclear arms treaty with President Obama. At the United Nations, Russia has agreed to join Western powers in supporting new sanctions against Iran.

Moscow’s new friendliness, however, hasn’t led to any change in its repressive domestic policies. The foreign ministry paper says Russia needs to show itself as a democracy with a market economy to gain Western favor. But Mr. Putin and Mr. Medvedev have yet to take steps in that direction. There have been no arrests in the more than a dozen outstanding cases of murdered journalists and human rights advocates; a former KGB operative accused by Scotland Yard of assassinating a dissident in London still sits in the Russian parliament.

Perhaps most significantly, the Russian leadership is allowing the trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former oil executive who has become the country’s best-known political prisoner, to go forward even though it has become a showcase for the regime’s cynicism, corruption and disregard for the rule of law. Mr. Khodorkovsky, who angered Mr. Putin by funding opposition political parties, was arrested in 2003 and convicted on charges of tax evasion. His Yukos oil company, then Russia’s largest, was broken up and handed over to state-controlled firms. Continue reading

Khodorkovsky as the New Sakharov

Foreign Policy reports:

He has been stabbed, spied on, and sent to solitary confinement. His oil company assets have been seized by the state, his fortune decimated, his family fractured. And now, after nearly seven years in a Siberian prison camp and a Moscow jail cell, he is back on trial in a Russian courtroom, sitting inside a glass cage and waiting for a new verdict that could keep him in the modern Gulag for much of the rest of his life. Each day, he is on display as if in a museum exhibit, trapped for all to see inside what his son bitterly calls “the freaking aquarium.”

Mikhail Khodorkovsky was once Russia’s richest man, the most powerful of the oligarchs who emerged in the post-Soviet rush of crony capitalism, and the master of 2 percent of the world’s oil production. Now he is the most prominent prisoner in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, a symbol of the perils of challenging the Kremlin and the author of a regular barrage of fiery epistles about the sorry state of society from his cramped cell. In a country where the public space is a political wasteland, his case and his letters from prison evoke a different age.

“No doubt,” he wrote us from inside the glass cage, “in modern Russia any person who is not a politician but acts against the government’s policies and for ordinary, universally recognized human rights is a dissident.”

Continue reading

EDITORIAL: Berezovsky 1, Putin 0

EDITORIAL

Berezovsky 1, Putin 0

He laughs last laughs Berezovsky

When state-operated RTR TV accused Russian “oligarch” Boris Berezovsky of being involved in the assassination of KGB defector Alexander Litvinkenko, Berezovsky cried foul.

Claiming RTR went to press without a shred of evidence linking him to the killing, as part of a political smokescreen designed to deflect blame from the real killers who were Kremlin operatives, Berezovsky filed a libel lawsuit in Britain.  It was Berezovsky against Putin, mano-a-mano, before an impartial arbitrator.

Last week, Berezvosky emerged the smiling victor.  He was awarded £150,000 (a quarter of a million dollars) in damages after the High Court of Britain concluded that Putin’s minions at RTR had been lying.

Ouch.

The verdict is a direct condemnation of the Kremlin, similar to what Mikkhail Khodorkovsky is seeking in the European Court for Human Rights. The British court ruled that the Kremlin was directly complicit in RTR’s libeling of Berezovksy since RTT “had been assisted both before and during the trial by a team from the Russian prosecutor’s office.”

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EDITORIAL: Khodorkovsky, Russia’s Oddest Duck

EDITORIAL

Khodorkovsky, Russia’s Oddest Duck

Jailed oil “oligarch” Mikhail Khodorkovsky is surely Russia’s oddest duck, and in a land of strange fowl that is really saying something.

Khodorkovsky released a vicious broadside aimed at the Kremlin last week.  Writing in Nezavisimaya Gazeta (we republish an English translation below in today’s issue), Khodorkovsky stated that “the steamroller that has replaced justice is the gravedigger of the modern Russian state” and accused the Putin regime of operating a mafia-like judicial system whose “destruction will occur in the traditional way for Russia – from below and with bloodshed.”

Ouch.

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Khodorkovsky comes out Swinging

“Legalized” Violence

By Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Nezavisimaya Gazeta

March 3, 2010

Translated from the Russian by Khodorkovsky & Lebedev Communications Center

My view of the work of our law-enforcement System and of the feelings experienced by a person who has been caught in its grindstone would be far too negative if it were based only on my own personal experience.

After all, I am a somewhat different kind of prisoner.

My adventures are taking place under the double classification of “special control” – my lawyer Yuri Schmidt happened to discover this by chance in the course of a session of the Supreme Court of the RF. And I have always been sitting under this same “special control”. Audio, video, and human. They have never placed ordinary homeless people, in jail for a break from the tough conditions of life on the street, with me in my cell.

What I am about to recount is the result of the instinctive work of an analyst (something the manager of any large entrepreneurial structure invariably is), who, over a period of nearly 7 years, has continually found himself in the thick of the struggles of our law-enforcers – both amongst themselves and against Russian citizens.

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