Tymoshenko exits, stage stupid
A Serious Misstep from Tymoshenko
It’s a pity that Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko could not see her way clear to take our advice. We believe that both she and her country will come to regret it.
When Tymoshenko lost her bid to succeed Victor Yushchenko as president, going down to defeat against Victor Yanukovich in a runoff, we urged her to accept the results rather than contest them. Tymoshenko’s firey, impulsive disposition had already cost her the presidency, because she was too confrontational with Yushchenko and he ended up refusing to support her in the runoff after going down to defeat himself. Without his supporters, Tymoshenko could not prevail.
We urged Tymoshenko to be more constructive in dealing with Yanukovich, so she could preserve her position as prime minister, but once again she refused to do so. Her coalition collapsed, and she was forced out.
We understand why Tymoshenko acts the way she does.
Khodorkovsky, Russia’s Oddest Duck
Jailed oil “oligarch” Mikhail Khodorkovsky is surely Russia’s oddest duck, and in a land of strange fowl that is really saying something.
Khodorkovsky released a vicious broadside aimed at the Kremlin last week. Writing in Nezavisimaya Gazeta (we republish an English translation below in today’s issue), Khodorkovsky stated that “the steamroller that has replaced justice is the gravedigger of the modern Russian state” and accused the Putin regime of operating a mafia-like judicial system whose “destruction will occur in the traditional way for Russia – from below and with bloodshed.”
Vladislav Inozemtsev, a professor of economics, director of the Moscow-based Center for Post-Industrial Studies and editor-in-chief of Svobodnaya Mysl, writing in the Moscow Times:
The entire discussion of how to modernize Russia has developed in a rather strange manner. In most countries that have undergone modernization, the process involved accelerating industrial development, increasing the level of integration into the global economy, exploiting competitive advantages and enacting political reforms as a prerequisite to economic growth.
Everything is just the opposite in Russia today. Rather than strengthening the country’s highly uncompetitive industrial sector, the authorities have focused on creating an innovative “smart economy” from the top down. Moreover, instead of developing sectors with products that enjoy broad market demand, Russia’s leaders are fixated on reorganizing the space and nuclear industries, two fields that in all other countries depend on government support for their existence. And even when it could significantly reduce expenses for domestic firms by regulating the price of the raw materials and energy that Russia has in great abundance — thereby giving the country a competitive edge analogous to China’s cheap labor — the government instead raises those prices to world levels.
This is how the authorities turn Russian modernization plans into another illusion. Plans to develop nanotechnology under the aegis of Anatoly Chubais and Rusnano or to build an “Innovation City” according to Kremlin deputy chief of staff Vladislav Surkov’s vision are both classic examples of siphoning away huge sums from the federal budget with little or no results to show for it.
Ronald D. Asmus, executive director of the Transatlantic Center of the German Marshall Fund of the United States in Brussels and author of The Little War That Shook the World: Georgia, Russia and the Future of the West, writing in the Moscow Times:
What is the most important source of disagreement today between Russia and the West? It is not the issues most often in the news — Iran or Afghanistan. It is Europe’s contested neighborhood: the future of those countries between the eastern border of NATO and the European Union and the western border of Russia. While the West and Russia still talk the talk of cooperative security in Europe, geopolitical competition for influence has been renewed in these regions.
Russia today openly lays claim to a sphere of interest in its borderlands — in direct contradiction to commitments made under the Helsinki process. It has embraced policies and a military doctrine that places NATO as the top external military danger and justifies the right to intervene in neighboring countries. While packaged in smooth diplomatic language, President Dmitry Medvedev’s new proposal for pan-European security has the less-than-hidden goal of stopping and rolling back Western influence.
Rather than moving into the 21st century, Russia seems determined to revert to 19th-century strategic thinking. With the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama focused on Afghanistan and Iran, the Kremlin hopes that a West in need of its cooperation will acquiesce to its demands.
By Mikhail Khodorkovsky
March 3, 2010
Translated from the Russian by Khodorkovsky & Lebedev Communications Center
My view of the work of our law-enforcement System and of the feelings experienced by a person who has been caught in its grindstone would be far too negative if it were based only on my own personal experience.
After all, I am a somewhat different kind of prisoner.
My adventures are taking place under the double classification of “special control” – my lawyer Yuri Schmidt happened to discover this by chance in the course of a session of the Supreme Court of the RF. And I have always been sitting under this same “special control”. Audio, video, and human. They have never placed ordinary homeless people, in jail for a break from the tough conditions of life on the street, with me in my cell.
What I am about to recount is the result of the instinctive work of an analyst (something the manager of any large entrepreneurial structure invariably is), who, over a period of nearly 7 years, has continually found himself in the thick of the struggles of our law-enforcers – both amongst themselves and against Russian citizens.