Tag Archives: yulia latynina

The Bank of Moscow, Running Dry

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

While watching the Bank of Moscow scandal unfold, two questions come to mind. First, the Bank of Moscow held the accounts of Moscow’s city budget, and the deficit of the bank is now $14 billion. In essence this means that the city’s funds have been stolen from the bank. How did this happen?

The second question is whether VTB will file a lawsuit in London courts against former Bank of Moscow president Andrei Borodin. It appears that the goal is not to extradite him back to Russia but to put him behind bars in Britain.

Borodin somehow received 20 percent of the shares of the bank, but it is difficult to say whether he was an actual or nominal shareholder.

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Russia is Governed by Lunatics

Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

I confess that I have been thinking for a long time about the collective looney bin that best describes Russia’s leaders. I mean loony bin in the direct sense — when our leaders, suffering from real delirium, utter complete nonsense.

Take, for example, the in absentia conviction last week of Alexander Poteyev, former deputy head of the “S” department of the Foreign Intelligence Service who oversaw sleeper agents. In the verdict written by the judge, Poteyev betrayed Anna Chapman and the other sleeper agents working in the United States.

But in the material released by U.S. prosecutors after the Russian agents were arrested, it was clear that they had been followed by U.S. investigators for 10 years — and without any help from Poteyev.

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When Will Guilty Russians be Called to Account for Terror?

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

Throughout 10 years of terrorist attacks on Russian soil, not a single official has ever been held responsible for negligence of duty. Nobody was fired after terrorists seized Moscow’s Dubrovka theater. Nobody was called on the carpet after the massacre in Beslan and bomb attacks at Moscow’s Rizhskaya and Avtozavodskaya metro stations and in the Vladikavkaz, Astrakhan and Samara marketplaces. Even when the Nevsky Express train was bombed twice in separate incidents, nobody thought to take Russian Railways chief Vladimir Yakunin to task.

But when a suicide bomber blew himself up in the international arrivals hall of Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport, President Dmitry Medvedev told all of Russia that the guilty parties were none other than the owners of the privately held airport.

Who else could it have been?

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Putin Bails Out

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

Some of Russia’s largest and fattest rats are starting to flee the country’s sinking ship. Take, for example, Rosneft, which signed an agreement in January to exchange shares with BP, or Novatek, which sold 12 percent of its shares to the French company Total in February.

Given the individuals involved in these transactions and the fact that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was directly involved in both, the agreements look like an attempt by Russia’s ruling elite to create a financial cushion in the event that the Libyan or Egyptian scenario plays out in Russia.

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The Fetid Smell of Russian Feburary

The heroic Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

The smell of February is lingering in the air — February 1917, that is.

I am not talking about the revolutions in the Middle East but about Russia’s extraordinarily weak leaders and the growing contempt that the leading public figures and ordinary citizens are showing toward them.

Look how quickly the seemingly ironclad vertical power structure can evaporate into thin air. For example, Bolshoi prima-turned-celebrity Anastasia Volochkova had no qualms about publicly thumbing her nose at United Russia when she quit the party after revealing that she was “tricked” into signing a group letter in support of prosecuting former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky. In the 1970s, no Soviet citizen would have even thought about snubbing the Communist Party.

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Latynina: Why are Russians so Gutless?

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times, asks why her countrymen are so pathetically spineless:

In an interview with Gazeta.ru, Natalya Vasilyeva, assistant to Judge Viktor Danilkin in the second criminal case against former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, said Danilkin had to obtain approval from the Moscow City Court — and higher — for each of his actions, and that the city court wrote the verdict that Danilkin read at the trial.

There were two surprising things about the interview with Vasilyeva. The first is her claim that Danilkin considered the process unjust and was out of sorts as a result. If that is true, it is unexpected because people tend to rationalize their actions. I find it hard to believe that the average NKVD officer really considered himself an inhumane executioner, despite the historical record showing him to be exactly that.

The second is that, if Vasilyeva spoke the truth, it is amazing how easily Danilkin buckled under pressure and sold out his ideals. After all, what would have happened to him if he had acquitted Khodorkovsky?

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Medvedev’s Fraud at Potemkin Skolkovo

Hero reporter Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

On Dec. 14, the day before a Moscow court was supposed to issue the verdict against former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, President Dmitry Medvedev attended the “Go Russia!” innovation forum at Skolkovo to see how the modernization process is coming along. I must say that modernization is going full speed ahead — at least in and around Skolkovo.

First, the commuter rail station that will serve the future technopark was renamed from the obscure “Vostryakovo” to the much more fitting “Skolkovo.” And from that station it is a rigourous 30-minute trek through the woods to the site of the future Innovation City.

Second, the Skolkovo Highway has been sealed off. In the past, drivers caught in nearby traffic jams could detour along the Skolkovo Highway. But after concrete barriers were installed, motorists drove around them and continued on unpaved ground — that is, until the authorities completely sealed off the entire perimeter, bringing all detours to a halt.

Then, on a completely deserted stretch of highway near the Skolkovo School of Management, the authorities built a two-level interchange so that nothing could stop Russia from racing full speed into its innovative future.

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