Justice, as Putin Defines it
Oleg Kozlovsky announces on his blog the results of his lawsuit against the Kremlin for illegally imprisoning him for 13 days preemptively in advance of a Dissenters March last year. A court ordered the government to pay Kozlovsky 10,000 rubles in damages, about $295 or roughly $23 per day of captivity.
Let’s put that in perspective.
If Kozlovsky had spent those 13 days working full time for the average wage of $4/hour in Russia, he would have earned $32 per day. That means he would have had a net out-of-pocket loss following the court-ordered payment of $9 per day or $117 for the 13-day period. Of course, it’s unlikely that his employer would have held his job open for him for two weeks; likely he’d have been fired, and given Russia’s massive economic downturn have considerable difficulty finding a new position even if the Kremlin didn’t harrass his employer for hiring “undesirables” who dare to publicly criticize the Kremlin, as it would be likely to do.
By this logic, the Kremlin could have kept Kozlovsky in prison for the next 20 years, totally removing him as a threat on the political horizon, at a cost to the Kremlin of less than $200,000. That’s if Kozlovsky was lucky enough to survive 20 years in a Russian prison, which he wouldn’t likely be. And even if he was, the Kremlin could assign him to forced labor, pay him slave wages and end up making a tidy little profit on the whole process.
The sad thing is that with all that said, we must still consider Kozlovsky to have won a great victory in court — such is the pathetic nature of life in Russia today. At least Kozlovsky won a moral victory, confirming officially that his arrest was totally baseless and showing that Russians with enough courage can still manage to carry the battle to the Kremlin. How many Russians, seeing the facts we’ve just described, would be willing to publicly challenge the Kremlin as Kozlovsky routinely does? Precious few, of course.
Meanwhile, it seems that U.S. President Barack Obama has nothing better to do than to make late-night talk show appearances that demean his office in and of themselves and then to use the opportunity to disparage Special Olympians. Not a word — not one — has issued from his mouth about human rights in Russia since he became president two months ago, much less has he taken up the cause of any Russian heroes like Kozlovsky.