Berezovsky 1, Putin 0
When state-operated RTR TV accused Russian “oligarch” Boris Berezovsky of being involved in the assassination of KGB defector Alexander Litvinkenko, Berezovsky cried foul.
Claiming RTR went to press without a shred of evidence linking him to the killing, as part of a political smokescreen designed to deflect blame from the real killers who were Kremlin operatives, Berezovsky filed a libel lawsuit in Britain. It was Berezovsky against Putin, mano-a-mano, before an impartial arbitrator.
Last week, Berezvosky emerged the smiling victor. He was awarded £150,000 (a quarter of a million dollars) in damages after the High Court of Britain concluded that Putin’s minions at RTR had been lying.
The verdict is a direct condemnation of the Kremlin, similar to what Mikkhail Khodorkovsky is seeking in the European Court for Human Rights. The British court ruled that the Kremlin was directly complicit in RTR’s libeling of Berezovksy since RTT “had been assisted both before and during the trial by a team from the Russian prosecutor’s office.”
The Russian Kremlin is now under full-blown legal assault on many fronts in the courts of Europe, a process that has been in the making for some time. This devastating victory by the Kremlin’s Public Enemy #1 in Britain is just an appetizer for a main course being laid out before the European Court for Human Rights by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Putin’s second most-hated rival. Suing the Kremlin for nearly $100 billion, Khodorkovsky threatens to win a judgment condemning the entire Russian judicial system, just as Berezovsky has now won a repudication of the Russian media establishment.
The smirking arrogance of Vladimir Putin is wearing very thin indeed. Though he has jailed Khodorkovsky and driven Berezovksy out of the country, they continue to wage a brutal public relations and legal offensive against him, and they are clearly winning. And as we report in our lead editorial today, the likes of famous rockers like Yuri Shevchuk are openly speaking out against Putin, echoing the charges that Berezovsky and Khodorkovsky have been making for years now. Maybe the Russophile minions will claim this famous rock singer has been bought off by the oligarchs, but the tide continues to rise. Soon, it may wash away the Putin regime entirely.
We live in hope.