EDITORIAL: “Justice” as Putin Defines It


“Justice” as Putin Defines It

Just as in Soviet times, it’s clear that the word “justice” means in Russia only what the Kremlin says it means, and nothing more. There is no rule of law in Russia, only the rule of power.

Back in August, Mikhail Khodorkovsky was denied parole following his conviction on hilariously bogus charges of embezzlement and tax fraud.  So be it, you say — in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, they’re tough on crime.  If you want to make an omlette, you have to break some eggs — or, in Russia’s case, crack some skulls.

But what then, dear Putin sycophant, do you say about the strange case of  Yuri Budanov? Sentenced to ten years in 2003 for the barbaric murder of a 18-year-old female Chechen civilian, the Russian army officer was paroled last week after serving only half his short sentence.  One would think Budanov’s crime was just a wee bit more serious than Khodorkovsky’s, wouldn’t one? Even Ramzan Kadyrov, the Kremlin’s puppet ruler in Chechnya, protested the action, stating:  “Even if he repented, someone convicted for such a brutal and cynical killing of an innocent underage schoolgirl should not be granted parole. Moreover, he deserves a more severe punishment.”  Yet the Kremlin paid no heed.

That is “justice” as Russian dictator Vladimir Putin defines it. Because Putin sees a key difference between Khodorkosky and Budanov:  the former criticized him, while the latter supported him.

Putin may have meted out more justice two days earlier, perhaps even hoping to soften up Kadyrov for the Budanov release, when Umar Israilov, Kadyrov’s former bodyguard, was gunned down in broad daylight on a crowded street in Vienna, AustriaHuman Rights Watch has called for a probe into Israilov’s murder, since he was yet another prominent critic of the Kremlin’s puppet regime in Chechnya who has been brutally murdered — just like Anna Politikovskaya and Alexander Litvinenko.  Israilov had a lawsuit pending in the European Court for Human Rights and had made an number of sensational charges of human rights violations by the Kadryov regime.  Austrian authorities seem to believe Russan secret services were involved in the killing, and at the very least it is highly unlikely Kadyrov would have moved against a target in Austria without the Kremlin’s approval.

If it was Kremlin-ordered, Israilov’s killing would be only the latest in a long line of political murders that has shadowed Vladimir Putin since his first days in the Moscow Kremlin, not one of which has ever been solved.  Now, two European countries have been turned into killing fields; perhaps this will be sufficient to get Europe’s attention about the need to take action before all of Europe is flowing red with the blood of the Kremlin’s victims.

But we doubt it.  The killings that had taken place before Israilov fell should have been more than enough motivation for Europe to act, but it hasn’t done so — and President Barack Obama has been shamefully silent as well.  The Kremlin can only see such silence as weakness, and therefore as encouragement to continue its barbaric policy of political homicide.

7 responses to “EDITORIAL: “Justice” as Putin Defines It

  1. One clarification. Budanov was convicted for rape and of a 18-year-old female Chechen civilian. I mention that because numerous spout BS that the murder was accidental. So was the rape?!

    And one disagreement. I easily allow for the fact that Kadyrov’s henchmen assassinated Israilov without Kremlin’s knowledge. They pretty much thumbed Putin’s nose by assassinated Yamadaev (if I am not mistaken) in downtown Moscow last summer. Kadyrov doesn’t give rat’s arse about what Kremlin thinks – so they may very well eliminate their enemies on their own

  2. Budanov strangled the poor girl to death after raping her. Very hard to “accidentaly” rape and then strangle someone.

    What makes his release truly appalling is that he was totally unrepentant, and pretty much the only one of thousands of offenders who was convicted. Russia has comitted genocide in Chechnya, and because of the western silence, it has gotten away with it for now.

  3. and it’s just gotten worse: the lawyer who repsesented the family of the murdered girl has been shot in the head. With him at the time was a young woman (possibly a reporter from Novaya Gazeta) who was also shot in the head but didn’t die immediately.

    Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/europeCrisis/idUSLJ686914

  4. http://www.russiatoday.com/news/news/36095

    another link identifying the journalist plus more specific details…

  5. Budanov was not convicted for rape. They blamed the rape for Budnov’s subordinate, who helped in the kidnapping and then buried the body – they said he raped her corpse (and amnestied him right away and gave him a medal).

    Yes, the woman shot with the lawyer is a NG journalist, Anastasia Baburova. She’s critically injured. One or two more persons were also wounded.

  6. Oh, and one more thing – the kidnapping took placejust after the heavy-drinking party to celebrate Budanov’s own daughter’s birthday. And then, still drunk, he threatened a Russian general with handgun and threatened to blow up himself with a grenade.

    Few days later Basayev offered to exchange 9 captured OMON for Budanov. Russia declined and Basayev shot them all.

  7. Rpbert is right; Budanov was not convicted of rape, despite the fact that the body showed incontrovertable evidence of rape and sodomy.
    God I feel for the few decent Russians remaining in this horrible, criminal country. I fear for the likes of Latynina and Kozlovsky.

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