Special Extra: Bakhmina is Free!

Svetlana Bakhmina with her children

Svetlana Bakhmina with her children

First Russian “president” Dima Medvedev sits down with Kremlin foe Novaya Gazeta and now the Kremlin has released Khodorkovsky attorney Svetlana Bakhmina, who will walk out of prison almost three years to the day after she was sentenced to six for fraud.

Nothing could better prove how desperate the Kremlin is becoming to deflect criticism as the Russian economy faces a relentless tsunami of bad news.  Unemployment is soaring, inflation is doing the same, and Russia is caught in a merciless vortex of finanical hardship that the KGB thugs who rule Russia simply have no idea how to correct.

Russia faces a budgetary shortfall of 30% even as things now stand, meaning draconian spending cuts coupled with massive foreign borrowing — but Russia has few friends abroad and fewer still who trust Russia to repay such obligations.  Moreover, going hat in hand to the West begging for cash is hardly consistent with the Putin administration’s rabid xenophobia and cold-war aggression.

Bakhmina was forced to confess, just as in Soviet times, and to beg for mercy.  She was tortured for three years, and released only when she conceived and bore a child in prison.  The notion that the Kremlin’s behavior towards her was in any way civilized is laughable, the notion that this action has been taken for any reason except a desperate political desire to undercut criticism is insane.

Copying Mikhail Gorbachev, the Kremlin is forced to try to release some pressure in order to undercut calls for regime change that are growing ever louder across the country.  Now is the time for the West to realize Russia’s vulnerability, and the opportunity to press for democratization on wide scale, and most especially for the end of Putin’s gestapo tactics of violence against opposition forces like those Bakhmina was associated with.  All such forces in Russia should now take hope from this victory, which clearly demonstrates that the neo-Soviet Kremlin can be beaten.

Anyone who believes, however, that the Kremlin will go the rest of the way on its own, without being forced to do so, is deluding himself.  The Kremlin is using diversionary tactics, it has not seen the light and never will.  But it is clearly indicating, just as Gorbachev’s policies did, that it is under massive internal pressure because of its sweeping failures, and this means the West has a golden opportunity to apply serious pressure and actually achieve results.  It’s a golden opportunity that should not be missed.

60 responses to “Special Extra: Bakhmina is Free!

  1. WOW! They finally let a little innocent women out of her prison back to her kinds? Amazing! Thank you Mr. KrEmLiN u are soo humane… …

  2. Finally. Sadly, she and her children can never have those years given back to them.

    I suspect she is a principled person and consequently useless to them in falsifying statements against Khordorkovsky. You can bet she was threatened. I’m sure it was why she was held so long.

    Someday from a safe place I hope we hear her tell her story.

    Putin is evil incarnate. Medvedev, the lesser weasel, isn’t much better. Even the morally bankrupted Putin trolls know better than to show their faces and denounce her release.

  3. Yes, this is good news for Bakhmina and her family. It should bode well for Khodorkovsky, too.

    But let’s not delude ourselves. While the Kremlin did employ selective application of the law and dubiously trumped-up charges, Khodorkovsky was guilty of graft (as was every single other “oli”garch) and other nefarious financial machinations (such as deceiving many shareholders in the wake of the 1998 default and crisis); and Lebedev and Bakhmina were fully aware of the whole scheme.

    So, are they guilty? Yes. Should Bakhmina been incarcerated for so long? Probably not, but not because of having kids — but, rather, because the charges were trumped-up.

    Let’s say that the Kremlin had gone after all of the Yeltsin-era “oli”garchs, one after the other. Would that have then validated the charges levied on YUKOS’s former CEO?

  4. Dermovinov, for starters, there were very few laws on the books by western standards that the oligarchs could have broken back in the ‘9o’s in Russia and surely you know that. Holding their business practices to the same standards as the west’s is foolish. I don’t think Khordorkovsky was a saint but in the content of when and where he operated he was no worse, in fact, he was better than most of the oligarchs in that he turned Yukos into a transparent corporation with western accounting practices long before the others.

    “Bakhmina were fully aware of the whole scheme” is a very wreckless smear and unproven. She was a minor figure in the legal department. But, you know that too.

    So what’s your point if only to detract from this reversal of an egregious human rights violation against a young woman that was held hostage along with other Yukos management in Putin’s vendetta against Khordorkovsky.

    No one in this whole dispicable Yukos affair has had a fair trail. The European Court of Human Rights agrees. Consequently they haven’t been proven guilty of anything. That includes Bakhima whom you’ve come forward here to smear. What part of that do you not understand???

  5. Penny, you’re far too hysterical. Could you possibly throw in some more punctuation in your sentences?

    If we cease to have any semblence of objectivity on this site, we’re simply going to undermine our own cause, which is to keep the spotlight on the truly heinous miscarriages of justice and persecution and execution of those Russians that truly fight for human rights, such as the journalists and lawyers and the others.

    I am ecstatic with the ruling to free Bakhmina as a correction of a poor case brought against her. But she is not some innocent pawn that was grabbed off the street by OMON and tortured into a confession.

    All of the oligarchs were guilty of violating laws that existed under Russian as well as European law. Yes, the Kremlin chose to prosecute Khodorkovsky and his cohorts selectively, very obviously because of his inability to listen to the very direct statement to oligarchs to refrain from political ambitions, especially given the ill means by which they got their fortunes.

    I do not deny that Khodorkovsky and these other people have had unfair trials; however, they are guilty of graft, collusion, financial machination, etc.

    So could we please cease holding up the likes of Khodorkovsky and his ilk as chaste beacons of martyrdom?

  6. in the mind of authors of this funny site all deals of Russia’s goverment are bad.


    This site documents facts such as that Russia does not rank in the top 150 nations of the world for adult lifespan and loses up to 1 million from its population each year. It documents soaring unemployment and inflation, and wages unpaid and falling.

    It’s sad that you hate Russians so much that you find such facts “funny.” It makes you seem like a barbaric ape. Is that what you are, and how you wish to be seen?

    • aglyamoff, how did you figure that out?

    • Hi! La russophobe is a site where people who do not know anything are trying to say something…

      My father says – Dennis if you do not like something – change it! So I will change your lifes, losers.

  7. “But she is not some innocent pawn that was grabbed off the street by OMON and tortured into a confession.”

    I’ve hung your quote up there so it can be examined by any informed, rational and ethical person to draw their own conclusions. I’ll give you a pass that it was thoughtless. Keep repeating it and then I’ll suggest that it’s morally repugnant.

    I’ll keep it very simple.

    Unless you have some non-Putin court proof of her “crimes”, which you don’t, I suggest you take hike.

    The European Court of Human Rights has affirmed that Khodorkovsky, Lebedev and the other Yukos convicted are political prisoners given the circumstances of their selective and unfair show trials. Most of the western media uses that designation. Any decent moral person would. What part of that do you not get?

    They are guilty of NOTHING because a person that has never received a fair trial has not been proved guilty of anything. What part of that basic universal legal premise and simple logic do you not understand?

  8. I want to say the releasing of Bakhmina is a good deal. She was involved in criminal machinations of Ukos (all of them were involved ), but Medvedev showed charity. Is it bad?


    “Involved”? What does that mean? What did she do, and what proof is there that she did it?

    It’s very bad, she should have been let out a long time ago because of her children and the lack of evidence against her. Medvedev has released her now only because Russians are very angry at him for ruining their economy and calling Putin “Putler” in Vladivostok. He is afraid of Orange Revolution and wants to release pressure to keep power. Russian government doesn’t know the meaning of the word “charity.” Did it show “charity” to Politkovskaya or Starovoitova or Markelov or Litvinenko?

    Your remarks sound like those of an ignorant child, without evidence or even simple thought. You’re an ape.

    • …but Medvedev showed charity. Is it bad?

      It’s not the bad if you are a serf in a country like Russia.

      It’s pathetic if you are a citizen of a democratic western nation where we don’t elect officials to show “mercy” on us. We also assume people to be innocent until proven guilty in an impartial non-politically agenda driven court of law, especially with a jury of their peers which none of the Yukos people had.

      You’ve got a pathetic serf’s mentality. Realizing that you will never get off of your knees in life nor understand the basics of a civil society I sincerely hope Putin is charitable towards you.

  9. Hello Aglyamoff,

    The only people who should be in jail are those leading Russia at this moment.

    It will probably never happen, but former dictators in latter years like Pinochet and Fujimori do offer hope.

    Gary Marshall

  10. Charity is not bad everywhere.
    Case of Ukos is very knotty. And I don’t think that one of top managers remained aloof a machinations. She knew that she commit a crime
    even through she only carried out an orders.

    Medvedev is not afraid orange revolution. One revolution was in our country in 1917 and we don’t want repetition.

    • Actually there were two revolutions in 1917.

    • “One revolution was in our country in 1917”

      No, TWO revolutions were in your country 1917. Go back to school.

      Why “don’t want repetition”? You still use red stars : your armed forces – their official newspaper being called Red Star (like Star and Stripes in US), on the Kremlin’s towers… Germans kinda stopped used swastika (even delegalized completely), wonder why?

      An another revolution was in 1905. There was also a revolution in 1918 (against Bolsheviks). And in 1990-1991 (against Soviet Union and in Chechnya also Russia). And an attempt in 1993 (against Yeltsin).

      • In the context of worid history the october revolution is most significant. I told about its. In nineties the disorders were only in Moscow, didn’t cover whole country. People is very political passive.
        Stars are tribute for tradition, no more

        • Why there are no swastikas as “tribute for tradition” in Germany, even as they regard themselves as a successor state to the Third Reich-era Germany (and so paid huge compensations to the victims, for example)? Displaying swastika is actually a crime there, and not “tradition”.

          • Do you think star equal swastika? We don’t think so, mister russophobe.

            • I bet the 62,000,000 civillians murdered by the Russian government 1917-1991 would consider them identical.
              My wifes great uncle (Georgian) was captured by the Nazi’s in 1941 when the Russian military collapsed, and was sent to a concentration camp for refusing to join the foreign legions of the German military, he survived being gassed (in the early gassings without cremation), and escaped to join the Polish Home army.
              In 1946 after returning to Georgia he was arrested by the NKVD for “treason” (ie being captured) and sent to the Gulags for 15 years.
              As he said to my wife “Communists and Nazi’s are the same animals in different uniforms”

              If anything, the Russian communists were WORSE than the Nazi’s

              • Were not worse, were perfectly worth each other (at this given time period of 1933-1945). No wonder were allied against democracies in Poland, the Baltic states and Finland in the first years of WWII.

                Millions of Soviets (many of them ethnic Russians) actually thought Hitler was a lesser evil and actively collaborated after the German invasion of the USSR (some coerced, some enthusiastically).

                But actually the Germans for example kept the kolkhoz system, also kidnapped millions for forces labor – and for the Soviet Jews situation was dramatically different.

            • Yes, of course.

              From the point of the victim, it’s not much of difference who shoots them in the back of the head or starves them to death or does other totalitarian “socialist” things (nationally socialist or internationally socialist – it doesn’t matter).

        • And how is the Chechen nationalist revolution or the liberation of the Baltic states was “only in Moscow”?

          And the red star symbol is totally banned in Hungary – no “tribute to tradition” there I guess.

          • Chechens aren’t russins. Baltic states aren’t Russia.
            Russia has a big territory and except Chechnya nowhere were any revolution processes.

            • So you admit that Chechnya is not Russia!
              Why is your scumbag army there then?
              Why the genocide against the Chechens?
              Why not let them have their independance?

              Oh thats right, RuSSians are hypocrites and genocidal murdering scum.

              • Why are americans in Iraq? To disappear terrorism.
                In 1991 Chechnya got a sovereignty, became a subject of international law consisting to Russia. They de facto were independent. But Chechnya became a bulwark of terrorism. Chechens blowed up our houses, did kidnap, seizured schools, at last they attacked Ingushetia. Our goverment reacted. Now in Chechnya relatively peacefull. Children go to schools, hospitals work and nobody isn’t shooted on stadium.

                • “Why are americans in Iraq? To disappear terrorism.”

                  Actually not – rather to deal with the aftermath of a bungled regime change operation (itself sparked by false reports of the Iraqi WMD program being restarted). I think you meant Afghanistan.

                  “In 1991 Chechnya got a sovereignty, became a subject of international law consisting to Russia.”

                  No. They just expelled Russian forces and institutions and uniliterally declared independence (from both the USSR and Russian Republic). Recognised only by a very few countries.

                  Then broke-off with Ingushetia, which decided to join the new Russian Federation because of their armed conflict with North Ossetia in 1992 (but the Russian forces sided with the Ossetians anyway). This agreement of secession of Ingushetia was between Grozny and Nazran.

                  Officially in Moscow it was not sovereignity but “lack of constitutional order” (read: they had their own constitution). So the invasion of 1994 was to “restore the constitutional order”.

                  They got official sovereignity only in treaties of 1996-97, after winning their war of independence.

                  “They de facto were independent. But Chechnya became a bulwark of terrorism. Chechens blowed up our houses,”

                  Names of those “Chechens” please? (Even according to the government’s official version.)

                  “did kidnap, seizured schools, at last they attacked Ingushetia.”

                  And all this following the Russian invasions of Chechnya (“goverment reacted” – reacted in advance?).

                  • Btw, according to Hero of Russia R. Kadyrov, who in 1994-1996 was “with the people” (his words which he often repeats), the war against “the restoration of contitutional order” was just.

                    Well, his dad (later also to become a Hero of Russia) was calling then for all Chechens to each kill 100 Russians to even the odds.

            • Oh man, even your favourite October Revolution started in Estonia (then Russia) – 2 days before the St Pete coup.

              Estonia was also one of the first to leave Soviet Union.

  11. Darn! Two of my comments disappeared :((( But penny said pretty much everything that was on my mind (as usually); so – not a big loss.

    However, LR – if you can somehow recover them – I would appreciate. If I paste them once more, WordPress complains that it’s a duplicate… so it must be somewhere there!

  12. maybe it’s because I used the word $..t (to translate Dermovinov)?

  13. “But fascism is antyhumanity ideology per se.”

    Do you really think, say, Austrofascism (which was destroyed by National Socialists and Germans in 1938 during the Germanic peoples’ own “rising from knees”) was really “antyhumanity ideology” and not just a silly-crazy regime – even if not nearly as much as this one in Turkmenistan under Niyazov?

  14. sorry for emty comment. I can’t read else

  15. I meant Nazism. The idea that one nation is better others and some nations should be disapper is antihumanity. Communis is utopia, I repeat, but is not antyhumanity.

    • But Bolshevism was “antyhumanity” – and the red star is symbol of Bolshevism and Bolshevik state.

      • Bolshevism was in only 1920s. After there was only communism as ideology. I don’t think that USSR was ideal country, but star and swastica is not equal.

        • Ideology was “socialism” (even if the party was Communist Party).

          In Hungary red star and swastika are equally banned (you’ve got also to see their House of Terror museum http://www.terrorhaza.hu/ to understand something – the other symbol is “crossarrow” of Hungarian Nazism), in several other countries there are also legal restrictions of display.

  16. about revolutions. Sometimes they are necessary. The revolution of 1905 year is good, because leaded to liberal reforms. October Revolution was “bungled regime change operation”(c) by Germans.

  17. February is contradictory. Driving force of its was intelligentsia. This people was very idealistic and far from reality. I like their purposes. But on the other hand there is a war in that time. And the slackening of goverment during war is not good idea.

    • This war was already totally disastrous for Russia, for years. Actually what the new government should have done was to end it right there and not just continue under a new management (even launching a huge offensive).

  18. You are right, I think. But provisional government wanted to contune war, and in this context revolutioners committed an act of folly.

    • Mesnheviks’ great lost chance was to offer peace to the Central Powers at high point of Brusilov offensive – on their own terms . They would actually totally win the war (and then the Germans would win on the Western front before US Army landed).

      So there would be no Soviets and no Nazis.

  19. And backing to beginning you mistake if you think that now in Russia any revolution may will be. Our people is polytical passive. Inclde me. Medvedev and Putin are not worst goverment.

  20. After the WWII there were “Displaced Peoples Camps” Tabir or DP camps. The Jews followed the Germans to Germany when the war was ending. They actually took their chances with the Germans rather than the Moscali. I know because I was born in one of these DP camps. The RaSSiyans made the Nazis look like Camp Fire Girls. The terror was indiscriminate. RaSSiyans in the old Mongol Tradition were still stacking heads in a Pyramid durring WWII.

  21. aglyamoff, you really are a “jackass”, and a fine example of what LaRussophobe is portraying of the Rooskie common man, that the Savokian System is built around.

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