Russia in the Crosshairs
Back in January of 2008, LR founder Kim Zigfeld wrote on Pajamas Media about Russia’s increasing exposure to outright condemnation in the courts of Europe. Two more recent developments show Russia sliding fast down a perilously slippery slope that leads to being cast out of Europe and classified by the world as a barbarous, third-world failed state.
First, investment giant William Browder of Heritage Capital filed a lawsuit which accuses the entire Russian financial system of being fundamentally rigged and corrupted by the Kremlin.
Then, Kremlin-friendly oligarch Oleg Deripaska lost his bidto bring a suit filed in Britain by one of his aggrieved former business partners who accuses Deripaska of stealing a share in the Rusal aluminum concern. It’s not just the British court’s decision to keep jurisdiction, but the reason. The court ruled that Russian courts could not be trusted with such a matter due to Kremlin corruption, and that the partner would also risk assassination.
Not only are these things happening, but they are being reported by the world’s leading media outlets. Russia is being ostracized by the most respected institution, the courts. The political system has no choice but to follow, as will world opinion.
All this comes on the heels of rumors that Russia intends to indirectly repudiate the jurisdiction of the European Court for Human rights and begin refusing to pay its judgments, including those that find Russia repeatedly guilty of state-sponsored murder in Chechnya. Russia has also sought to directly underminethe court’s jurisdiction over Russian cases. A year ago, Russophiles were laughing at these judgments, calling them small potatoes that the Kremlin could easily pay and ignore. But now that Russia’s recession looks to post double-digit horror, the picture is rather different and Russia’s “commitment” to the rule of law (or lack thereof) has been brutally exposed.
Russia is rapidly finding itself, in other words, on the outside of the civilized world’s legal system, looking in. To say nothing of the devastating consequences for Russian civil society, just think about the immeasurable loss of influence Russia will sustain when it is no longer considered part of the community of civilized nations and is relegated to status as a barbaric backwater where normal legal mechanisms have no force, officially condemned not just by other nations’ political structures but by their courts as well.
This kind of damage is irreparable. Russia is being written off by the civlized world, and only a seismic regime change will alter that. The people of Russia have placed their nation once again on the precipice of doom.