SPECIAL EXTRA: Double Jeopardy for Khodorkovsky

Khodorkovsky

A truly brilliant and inspiring editorial from the Christian Science Monitor, which takes the words right out of our mouth. There is something deeply wrong, perhaps evil, about the President of the United States and his malignant advisor Michael McFaul, who continue to betray American values in the hopes of scoring cheap electoral points with sham foreign policy “victories” while Russia descends into neo-Soviet darkness:

Talk about timing. A Russian court waited until this week – after the US Senate had ratified an arms-control treaty with Moscow – before handing down yet another conviction on that country’s best-known political prisoner, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Sentencing is expected in coming days.

The conviction also came as the West is preoccupied with the winter holidays and not focused on the rise of human rights abuses in Russia.

But here’s the best timing: Mr. Khodorkovsky will now likely be sentenced to several more years in a Siberian penal colony – further isolating him until well after next year’s parliamentary elections and a 2012 vote for president.

The former oil tycoon’s real crime was that he dared to challenge Vladimir Putin’s iron-fisted rule by funding pro-democracy political activists. For that, he was first sentenced for fraud and tax evasion in 2003. Now he’s been convicted of theft, a charge that not only appears ludicrous but seems timed to prevent him from upsetting Prime Minister Putin’s apparent plan to become president again.

This kangaroo-court ruling will only further scare away foreign investors who are vital to modernizing Russia. Businesses are more wary than ever of the political and commercial corruption that pervades Russian society under Putin’s sham democracy and state-controlled economy.

Putin is able to silence his critics in part because President Obama still prefers to seek Russia’s cooperation in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program, the war in Afghanistan, and nuclear proliferation. A US desire to “reset” ties with Moscow, however, should not mean a retreat from pushing human rights.

The White House expert on Russia, Michael McFaul, needs to remind Obama, the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, that America’s most important long-term interest in Russia lies in helping that country adopt Western civic values. (That’s what the cold war was all about.) In fact, it would be worth reminding the president that he cosponsored a resolution in 2005 as a senator to recognize Khodorkovsky as a political prisoner.

Europe, too, must not abide Putin’s perverse obsession with silencing Khodorkovsky. This year’s Nobel Peace Prize went to China’s leading dissident, Liu Xiaobo. Given Khodorkovsky’s transformation into a political martyr and an astute champion of pluralism in Russia, he should be a candidate for similar honor.

Alas, Russia was just awarded the prize of hosting the 2018 soccer World Cup. And Putin won another feather in his cap when Russia won the bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics.

The Khodorkovsky conviction will also hurt Putin protégé Dmitry Medvedev, who became president in 2008. His call for rule of law in Russia now rings hollow. (He referred to the new charges against Khodorkovsky as “odd.”) And his attempts to entice high-tech investments will likely fail, further preventing Russia from moving beyond its oil-dependent economy.

Strangely, the best barometer of political freedom and rule of law in Russia has now become the length of time that Khodorkovsky will stay in prison. If Medvedev or Obama ever want to stand up to Putin’s tyrannical type of Russia, they best speak up this week – before the Putin-friendly court announces its sentence on Khodorkovsky.

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114 responses to “SPECIAL EXTRA: Double Jeopardy for Khodorkovsky

  1. The Antisemitic Russian

    Bye,bye Jewie,see you again in 14 years,of course,only in the courtoom to be sentenced again…

    • You are model of Russian civility, intelligence and justice. We congratulate you!

    • Answer to the Antisemitic Russian,
      The Russians in Kyrgyz Rep. , during Russian instigated putsch, were simply dragged out of their houses, and slaughtered by Kyrgyz and Uzbeks alike, in the good old-fashion Russian pogrom way – Let’s hope it will continue in the entire Russia.
      I hope that Russian Jews feel vindicated a little….

  2. Druk op de rechter
    Het tweede proces tegen Michail Chodorkovski en Platon Lebedev ging vandaag zijn laatste fase in met het begin van het voorlezen van het vonnis door rechter Viktor Danilkin. Die rechter had het zichtbaar moeilijk, want zondagavond kwam gazeta.ru met het bericht dat hij een dag eerder door geüniformeerde mannen van huis was gehaald en naar het hoofdkantoor van de Moskouse rechtbank was gebracht, waar ook rechtbankpresident Olga Jegorova rondliep. Volgens een informant was Danilkin, die als een niet-corrupte en fatsoenlijke rechter geldt, door Jegorova onder druk gezet om beide verdachten schuldig te verklaren. Dat onder druk zetten is bij wet verboden, maar van een andere rechter, die ik een jaar geleden uitgebreid heb geïnterviewd, weet ik dat Jegorova niets anders doet dan haar rechters onder druk zetten. Die rechter van mij weigerde overigens toe te geven aan die druk en werd ontslagen. Voor ons correspondenten begon de dag om zeven uur vanochtend, want zo vroeg stonden we al voor de Chamovniki-rechtbank, waar het proces in een klein zaaltje wordt gehouden. Tegen tienen mochten de eerste video- en fotojournalisten naar binnen, maar niet nadat eerst vertegenwoordigers van de staatspersbureaus’s Interfax en RIA Novosti bij de rechter op zijn kamer waren genood om alvast te horen dat het vonnis ‘schuldig’ zou luiden. De beide persbureaus zetten dat meteen op hun web, waardoor hun collega’s vier minuten voordat de zitting begon al wisten wat de uitspraak zou zijn, omdat ze door hun thuisbases waren gebeld met het grote nieuws. Aangezien veel journalisten van Interfax en RIA Novosti prima vaklieden en behulpzame collega’s zijn, die er de pest in hebben dat ze worden gecensureerd, nemen ze op hun manier wraak op het systeem. En zo kwamen wij weer te weten dat ze een privé-onderhoud met de rechter hadden gehad.

    De gerechtspolitie bleek even later minder toeschietelijk om ons te helpen. Hoe minder journalisten, hoe beter, luidde het devies van die ochtend. En zo kwam het dat er uiteindelijk maar zo’n twintig van de honderd journalisten in de rechtszaal belandden. Het was weer even net als in die goede oude Sovjet-Unie tijdens de dissidentenprocessen. Niet voor niets was ook het voorlezen van de uitspraak twaalf dagen verdaagd, want het Kremlin gokte erop dat dan het buitenlandse correspondenten- en diplomatencorps vanwege de kerstdagen gehalveerd zou zijn. De bekendmaking van de strafmaat volgt vrijdag, zodat geen westerse krant het nog voor de maandag daarop kan drukken en duiden. Russische kranten verschijnen vanaf zaterdag elf dagen lang niet, dus wat dat betreft zit de overheid helemaal goed..

    Een beetje laf is de keuze voor de laatste dag van het jaar natuurlijk wel, vooral ten opzichte van dat kleine deel van de eigen bevolking dat zich voor wel het nieuws interesseert. Maar gelukkig is internet, anders dan in China, hier nog niet afgesloten voor vreemde smetten en kan de 36 procent van de Russische bevolking met een internetaansluiting de uitslag van het proces alsnog volgen. Blijkbaar is het autoritaire regime ergens toch bang voor zijn onderdanen.

    Toen de cameralieden en fotografen de rechter en de verdachten hadden gefotografeerd en gefilmd, wilde Danilkin het proces eerst achter gesloten deuren voeren en alle journalisten de zaal uit jagen. Maar hij werd gecorrigeerd door de woordvoerster van de rechtbank, waardoor de schrijvende pers mocht blijven. En toen begon het saaie gedeelte van het voorlezen van het vonnis. Want dat gebeurt zonder microfoon, op zachte toon en in kalasjnikovtempo, zodat geen van ons er iets van kon verstaan. Alleen dankzij Interfax en RIA Novosti wisten we gelukkig dat Chodorkovski en Lebedev schuldig waren verklaard. En slechts af en toe vingen we een zinnetje op waarin de rechter zei: ,,De wet is overtreden op punt zo en zo.”

    Terwijl de rechter het vonnis voorlas klonk vanaf de straat het geschreeuw van de paar honderd demonstranten die waren komen opdagen. Ze riepen: ,,Laat hen vrij”, ,,Rusland zonder Poetin”, ,,Poetin in het gevang”. Kort daarna begon de OMON oude vrouwtjes van de besneeuwde helling tegenover de rechtbank weg te slepen. In de rechtszaal hoorden we alleen hun gegil.

    Na een korte onderbreking, beleefde de zitting van vandaag twee nieuwe hoogtepunten. Het eerste was dat de gerechtspolitie nu helemaal geen journalisten meer naar binnen wilde laten. En toen dit ons na enig gesoebat toch was gelukt, werden de vrouw en dochter van Chodorkovski de zaal uitgezet, omdat ze even wat tegen elkaar hadden gefluisterd. De zoon van Lebedev werd helemaal niet tot de zaal toegelaten. Het treiteren en intimideren gaat blijkbaar tot op familieniveau door.

    Na weer een nieuwe onderbreking zat er alleen nog een handvol Russische journalisten in de zaal. En uw NRC-correspondent natuurlijk. Maar juist toen gebeurde er iets echt interessants. Want officier van justitie Lachtin, die zich al een paar uur niet op de zitting had laten zien, kwam binnen met een stapel papier die even dik was als de stapel van het vonnis die de rechter voor zich had. Iedere keer als de rechter zich in zijn hoge tempo versprak, begon Lachtin driftig in zijn tekst te krassen en woorden te omcirkelen. Ik durf te wedden dat hij dezelfde tekst voor zich had als de rechter en dat het de functie is van de officier van justitie om toe te zien of de rechter zich wel aan zijn afspraak houdt. Want een ding is duidelijk in dit proces, wat je ook van Chodorkovski en Lebedev mag vinden: van de hele zaak klopt niets, de aanklacht is bij elkaar gefantaseerd, de feiten spreken elkaar tegen en Poetin, die in Rusland boven de wet staat, heeft tijdens zijn ‘phone in’ net als rechtbankpresident Jegorova onwettige druk op het proces uitgeoefend.

    Met de gebeurtenissen van vandaag heeft president Medvedev zijn laatste restje geloofwaardigheid als hoeder van de rechtstaat verloren. Bijna iedereen die mij van daag geschokt belde zei dat nu voor iedereen duidelijk moet zijn geworden dat hij een marionet van Poetin is. De strafmaat die zal worden opgelegd zal dat volgens hen nog duidelijker maken: ,,Chodorkovski en Lebedev krijgen geen veertien jaar of minder”, zei een van hen, die verwanten in het Kremlin heeft. ,,Ze gaan voor minstens twintig jaar achter de tralies. Want in 2018 zijn er weer presidentsverkiezingen en dan moet Poetin ook verzekerd zijn van zijn overwinning.”

    Rusland laat dezer dagen zijn ware gezicht zien: het cynische gezicht van Poetin. En dat gezicht belooft weinig goeds voor de opbouw van een gezonde, transparante economie (in een tijd dat Gazprom tweederde van zijn marktwaarde heeft verloren als gevolg van drastisch gedaalde gasprijzen), voor de bestrijding van de alsmaar groeiende corruptie in hoge overheidskringen (zie de Transneft-affaire waarin vier miljard dollar door een vertrouweling van Poetin is gestolen), voor de vrijheid van meningsuiting, voor de bescherming van het privébezit van de groep prille ondernemers in het midden- en kleinbedrijf, voor de buitenlandse investeringen, voor de goede verhoudingen met het Westen, voor het binnenboord en enthousiast houden van zijn jonge, hoogopgeleide burgers, kortom voor de toekomst van een gezond en modern Rusland.

    • Dutch to English translation

      The second trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev was in its final stage today with the beginning of the reading of the verdict by Judge Viktor Danilkin. That judge had seen difficult because gazeta.ru Sunday came with the message that he one day earlier by uniformed men from home and taken to the headquarters of the Moscow court had been anywhere presiding judge Olga Jegorova around. According to an informant, Danilkin, as a decent and uncorrupt judge is, by Jegorova put pressure on both defendants guilty. Under pressure is prohibited by law, but another judge, who one year ago, I’ve interviewed extensively, I know Jegorova does nothing but put pressure on its judges. That court also refused to admit me to this pressure and was fired. For our correspondents began the day at seven o’clock this morning, as soon as we were before the Chamovniki-court where the trial is held in a small room. Ten o’clock were the first video and photo journalists to enter, but not after first representatives of the state’s Interfax and RIA Novosti news agencies to court in his room had already bidden to hear the verdict “guilty” would be different. Both news agencies immediately put that on their web, so their colleagues four minutes before the session began already knew what the verdict would be, because their home bases were called with great news. Since many journalists Interfax and RIA Novosti fine craftsmen and helpful colleagues who are pissed that they are censored, they take revenge on their way to the system. And so we came back to know they have a private meeting with the judge had had.

      The court later police turned less accommodating to help us. The fewer journalists, the better was the motto of that morning. And so it was that finally only about one hundred twenty of the journalists ended up in court. Again it was just like in the good old Soviet dissidents during the process. Not for nothing was the reading of the verdict postponed twelve days, because the Kremlin is betting that over the diplomatic corps and foreign correspondents for Christmas day would be halved. The announcement of the sentence following Friday, so that no western newspaper before the following Monday to express and interpret. Russian newspapers published Saturday from eleven days is not long, so for that matter the government is quite good ..

      A bit lame choice for the last day of the year course, especially compared with that small proportion of its population, up to the news that interests you. Fortunately, the Internet, unlike China, are still open for strange stains and the 36 percent of the Russian population with an Internet connection the outcome of the process will follow. Apparently, the authoritarian regime, something still afraid of his subjects.

      When the cameramen and photographers the court and the defendants were photographed and filmed, wild Danilkin the trial behind closed doors first enter the room and all the journalists out hunting. But he was corrected by the spokeswoman of the court, which the press was allowed to continue. And then began the tedious part of the reading of the verdict. Because that happens without a microphone, a gentle tone and kalasjnikovtempo that none of us could understand anything. Only thanks to Interfax and RIA Novosti happy we knew that Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were declared guilty. And occasionally we caught a sentence in which the judge said: “The law was violated on point so and so.”

      As the judge read the verdict from the street came the cries of the few hundred demonstrators who turned up. She cried: “Let them free”, “Russia without Putin”,,, Putin in prison. Shortly thereafter began the OMON old women of the snowy hill opposite the court tow. In the courtroom, we heard only their screams.

      After a short break, had the meeting today two new highs. The first was that the court police are no longer journalists inside wanted to. And then after some gesoebat us yet it was successful, were the wife and daughter of the hall Khodorkovsky deported because she had whispered to each other anything. Lebedev’s son was not admitted to the auditorium. The harassment and intimidation seem to go by at the family level.

      After yet another break there was only a handful of Russian journalists in the room. NRC-correspondent and your course. But just when something really interesting happened. For Lachtin prosecutor, who has a couple of hours at the session had shown, came in with a stack of paper that is as large as the staple of the sentence that the judge had. Each time the court misspoke in his high tempo, intense in his text Lachtin began scratching and circling words. I bet he had the same text as the judge and that the function of the prosecutor to monitor whether the court or to keep his appointment. One thing is clear in this process, whatever you may find Khodorkovsky and Lebedev: nothing beats the whole thing, the charge is another fantasy, the facts contradict each other and Putin in Russia is above the law, has During his ‘phone in’ as presiding judge Jegorova unlawful pressure exerted on the process.

      With the events of today, President Medvedev last remnant of his credibility as a guardian of the rule of law is lost. Almost everyone who called me today said shocked now clear to everyone that he should have become a puppet of Putin. The punishment to be imposed which they say will make even clearer: “Khodorkovsky and Lebedev will not fourteen years or less,” said one of them, who has relatives in the Kremlin. “They go for at least twenty years behind bars. For in 2018 presidential elections are back and then Putin also assured of his victory. ”

      Russia these days shows his true face: the cynical view of Putin. And that face does not bode well for building a healthy, transparent economy (in a time when Gazprom-thirds of its market value lost due to a drastic drop in gas prices), to combat the ever growing corruption in high government circles (see Transneft affair in which four billion U.S. dollars by a confidant of Putin is stolen), for freedom of expression, protection of private property of the group early entrepreneurs in small and medium enterprises, for foreign investment, the good relationships with West, the inboard and enthusiastic love of his young, highly educated citizens, in short the future of a healthy and modern Russia.

    • Well, if you want people to read and understand what you write, you should do it in English. This is an English language blog, but your writing seems to be in Dutch. We have one pompous ass commenting here who tries to impress everybody by posting in various languages, but I bet even he does not speak Dutch.

  3. Who are you guys kidding. Its funny how the western media are trying to portray this guy as a political prisoner and freedom fighter. This guy is a ruthless oligarch who became super wealthy on the backs of starving Russians during the lawless nineties. Thats why he only had 200 supporters outside the court. The only problem is there are not more like him in prison.

    Its ironic western nations who hold prisoners in Cuba without trial or abduct people for torture in other countries can be critical of this other than playing their own political games.

    • It’s funny how the Russophile morons, like you, are so illiterate and totally unable to fairly and accurately characterize the Western position. Makes you look like a nation of braying jackasses. Really comical!

      The main criticism of the Kremlin regarding Khodorkovsky is that not that he is an angel or a hero but that (a) his trial was shamelessly rigged and (b) he was tried twice for the same crime and (c) he was prosecuted for doing what many others, more friendly to the Kremlin, are freely allowed to even now.

      What’s more, unlike any other oligarch, Khodorkovsky was aggressively pushing for Western-style accounting and transparency in Russian boardrooms. And he was ONLY arrested when he began challenging the Kremlin’s authority.

      It’s because morons like you can’t see the neo-Soviet forest for the trees that your men don’t live to see 60 and work for $3/hour.

      • I am surprised how many Russians have no notion of fair play or justice. It’s not the first time that this thought “he is a thief, there is nothing more to discuss” has been expressed on this blog. To them, if in their opinion a person is guilty of something, then somehow there is no need to give him due process or access to an independent and honest court.

        So, I am surprised, but perhaps I should not be

        • Hes had 2 days in court what more do you guys want. Thats more than the guys in a certain prison in Cuba are getting thanks to many western countries. Where’s the sense in fair play there.

      • This is just nonsense, its fair criticise. the western media and politicians. You have provided no evidence of wrong doing on behest of the Russian courts. Its ironic that you can claim its a sham trial yet produce no evidence of it. It was impossible to prosecute men like Khodorkovsky during the ninties because they where effectively running Russia they where above the law. Everyone, western political leaders, the media and Russian citizens know of the corruption and murders during the oligarchic privatizations in the early nineties. Of which Khodorkovsky and Yukos where up to there necks in.

        Khodorkovsky was pushing for no such thing he was buying influence in all political parties in Russia even those pro Kremlin. For a man looking for transparency his bank was embroiled in the Clearstream scandal illegally having hidden accounts in Clearstream upto the year 2000.

        So tell me how the trial was rigged? When you consider Yukos admitted to “misusing tax havens inside Russia” in the 90′s which resulted in paying 11% tax instead of the legal requirement 30%. They also admitted that they claimed oil was an “oil-containing liquid” to avoid paying full tax. Khodorkovsky wasn’t trying to promote western practices when investing in political parties with members in the Duma. He was trying to block oil tax reform by bribery, even attempting to bribe members in Putins party.

        Everytime the western media publish crap like this or western leaders criticise Russia for imprisoning guys like this you alienate the west further from Russian civilians and strengthen Putins position and slows reform.

        • @ above the law.

          ABOVE THE LAW

          By CLIFFORD J. LEVY
          Published: December 27, 2010

          http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/28/world/europe/28libel.html

          A defendant was on trial, and his interrogators were demanding answers about special operations and assassination plots.

          But the defendant was not Ms. Estemirova’s suspected killer. It was her colleague Oleg P. Orlov, chairman of Memorial, one of Russia’s foremost human rights organizations.

          The authorities had charged Mr. Orlov with defamation because he had publicly pointed the finger at the man he believed was responsible for the murder: the Kremlin-installed leader of Chechnya. If convicted, Mr. Orlov could face as many as three years in prison.

          The shooting of Ms. Estemirova, 51, in July 2009 has so far produced only an incomplete investigation, and no charges have been filed against anyone involved. Her case has instead turned into an example of what often happens in Russia when high-ranking officials fall under scrutiny. Retaliation follows, and the accuser becomes the accused.

          • From the earlier NYT obituary:

            A QUESTION hangs over her execution, the most recent in a series of killings of those still willing to chronicle Chechnya’s horrors. Is the accounting of the human toll now over? Without her, will Chechnya become, like Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, a place where no one risks asking hard questions openly?

            Chechnya is a tiny spot on Russia’s big map, home to only several hundred thousand souls. But its past two decades offered lenses into factors driving modern war: nationalism, oil, religious intolerance, racism, tribalism, blood codes that demand revenge, irregular fighters and ill-disciplined conventional units, outright banditry, poverty, official corruption and, for good measure, traveling Islamic mercenaries and a government rooted in a personality cult.

            Her world could not be much worse. First it matched pie-eyed separatism against crude Russian tactics. Then it hosted insurgency, terrorism and state-directed rights abuses on an extraordinary scale. Lately it morphed into micro-Stalinism under Ramzan A. Kadyrov, the former rebel turned feared president.

            Ms. Estemirova’s office became a kaleidoscope of the macabre.

            She was, improbably, a one-woman parallel government, providing services that the real government was unwilling to offer. She found the incarcerated. She hunted for hidden graves. She built cases against perpetrators, even when she found, as she often did, that they wore government uniforms.

            Grozny was a wasteland, physically, morally, psychologically. Ms. Estemirova was almost otherworldly. She inhabited a separate Chechnya, a region where dignity might prevail.

            Russia fell silent to the wars. State-controlled television did not broadcast her findings. Most Russian journalists avoided her. Her truths were not welcome. In Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia , she was a nonperson.

            http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/18/world/europe/18estemirova.html

            It is you who should be careful, she told a pair of us last fall. Call me tonight so I know you are safe.

            All the while she calmly confronted the authorities, while people around her dropped out or were killed. Over the years, and again recently, Ms. Estemirova and her co-workers were summoned to official meetings to hear blistering complaints about their work.

            The message was crude and clear: Stop. It is difficult for an outsider to grasp how awful these meetings must have been.

            She was called before President Kadyrov, head of a government that ran torture centers where, as her records showed, detainees were subjected to beatings, stompings, electric shocks, mock executions, sodomy, burnings by gas torch and, in the end, for some, execution.

            Mr. Kadyrov, survivors said, participated in these crimes with delight.

            Many victims have not been seen since. Mutilated remains of others turned up — limbs broken, faces smashed, skin charred, heads and torsos shattered by bullets fired at close range — the characteristic human refuse of Chechnya’s wars and its governing style.

            Almost inevitably these cases were documented by Ms. Estemirova. Almost no one was ever charged. And now Ms. Estemirova, the lead investigator, who refused to quit when told it was time to be silent, is gone, taken from life — and from Russia — the same way.

        • I am no fan of Mr. Khodorkovsky, and I have no doubts that in the 1990′s he took an unfair advantage of the situation and probably outright stole a lot of money. However, so did many other oligarchs and as you know a few managed to flee Russia and nobody else was prosecuted. Does the notion of selective prosecution not offend you? Particularly, when the selection was made based on the man’s real or perceived opposing views?

          Well, how was the trial rigged? For starters, the man was prosecuted twice for the same offenses. Have you heard of the concept of double jeopardy in Russia? And how about the paramount leader’s public condemnation of the man while the trial is on? Have you heard in Russia of the concept of presumption of innocence?

          Whether he was a thief or not, he does deserve a fair trial and due process. Even Nazi war criminals had that at Nuremberg, they were not summarily shot. Think about it.

          • The other oligarchs didn’t get prosecuted was a major part of Khodorkovsky’s defence however that defence would not stand up in any court in the world. Could you imagine a burglar arguing he should not be convicted because other burglars got away with it.

            First double jeopardy is an American legal concept that does not exist in most parts of the world. In the UK for example its perfectly acceptable to bring a person to court for the same crime if newer evidence which would have impacted the original outcome comes to light.This system can be used to reduce a sentence as well as increase it.

            Even the claim to say he is being charged twice for the same crime is incorrect. The first case was centred around tax evasion which I already listed and fraud around the illegal privatisation of Apatit a fertilisation company. He used 4 companies that he controlled to give the impression of competitive bidding for a 20% share in Apatit. For these crimes in the US he would have served life, he only got 8 years in Russia.

            The second trial was based on the embezzlement of Yukos assets. These are too distinctly different crimes.

            Thirdly this guy has been linked to further corruption and has been linked to hidden accounts in clearstream scandal in an investigation by the European Commission.

            Neither the US or the EU are in a position to lecture anyone on the process of law considering they hold men in Cuba for years without the chance of trial. They fly prisoners to other countries in retention flights for the purpose of torture. So you tell me where is the due process there.

            • What you fail to understand “free” (free to be a retard in your case) is that Russian lawyers claim that the charges, particularly in the second case do not bear scrutiny.

              For example, with regards to the “Tax Crimes” in the first case:

              In July 2004, Yukos was charged with tax evasion, for an amount of over US$ 7 billion. The Russian government accused the company of misusing tax havens inside Russia in the 1990s so as to reduce its tax burden; havens were set up by most major oil producers in outlying areas of Russia which had been granted special tax status to assist in their economic development; such “onshore-offshore” were used to evade profit taxes, resulting in Yukos having an effective tax rate of 11%, vs a statutory rate of 30% at the time. Yukos claims its actions were legal at the time and that the company used the same tax optimisation schemes as other Russian oil companies, such as Lukoil, TNK-BP and Sibneft. However, Yukos was the only one to be charged with tax evasion and penalised by the authorities.[10] Yukos subsidiaries also declared the oil they produced to be “oil-containing liquids”[11] to avoid paying full taxes. A general crackdown on such tax evasion practices began with Putin’s presidency, with numerous companies closing or purchasing their trading vehicles. It is widely believed that Yukos severe treatment at the hands of the tax authorities was due to its attempt to purchase a large block of Duma deputies so as to block oil tax reform legislation.
              In a move to prevent bankruptcy, management made a friendly offer to the government to pay 8 billion dollars in a period of three years.
              A management presentation from December 2004 shows that the tax claims put the “total tax burden” for 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003 at 67%, 105%, 111%, and 83% of the company’s declared revenue during those years. As a comparison, the annual tax bill of Gazprom is about $4 billion on 2003 revenues of $28.867 billion.
              Yukos parent company, the Menatep group, lobbied extensively and successfully to influence Western public opinion, retaining Margery Kraus of APCO [2] who successfully pushed through resolutions inter alia before the US House of Representatives and the Council of Europe.
              According to a resolution [12] of the Council of Europe,
              “Intimidating action by different law-enforcement agencies against Yukos and its business partners and other institutions linked to Mr Khodorkovsky and his associates and the careful preparation of this action in terms of public relations, taken together, give a picture of a co-ordinated attack by the state.”
              This “raises serious issues pertaining to the principle of nullum crimen, nulla poena sine lege laid down in Article 7 of the ECHR and also to the right to the protection of property laid down in Article 1 of the Additional Protocol to the ECHR.”
              “The circumstances of the sale by auction of Yuganskneftegaz to “Baikal Finance Group” and the swift takeover of the latter by state-owned Rosneft raises additional issues related to the protection of property (ECHR, Additional Protocol, Article 1). This concerns both the circumstances of the auction itself, resulting in a price far below the fair market-value, and the way Yukos was forced to sell off its principal asset, by way of trumped-up tax reassessments leading to a total tax burden far exceeding that of Yukos’s competitors, and for 2002 even exceeding Yukos’ total revenue for that year.”

              Now we are to believe that he was embezzling every single ruble/dollar made by Yukos??

              And with regards to the US/EU detaining people without trial in Guantanamo (Only the US actually), as these men were captured during a war, they do not have to be put on trial until the war is over. In addition, look at the reaction of those from Russia when they were to be sent home:

              The mothers of the eight Russians held with other prisoners from Afghanistan at the US military base at Guantanamo Bay have begged Washington not to extradite their sons to answer terror charges in Russia, fearing that conditions in their jails and judicial system are even worse than those at Camp Delta.

              “In Guantanamo they treat him humanely and the conditions are fine,” Amina Khasanova, the mother of Andrei Bakhitov, told the newspaper Gazeta. “I am terribly scared for my son in a Russian prison or court system.”

              She said her son wrote to her that conditions were so good in Camp Delta in Cuba that “there is no health resort in Russia that can compare”.

              Camp Delta has been criticised by human rights groups for the “torturous” conditions under which inmates are held awaiting trial by a special military tribunal.

              They are held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, and occasionally subjected to “sensory deprivation techniques” involving goggles, gloves and mufflers which impede their senses. Lights are left on in cells during the night.

              There have been 28 suicide attempts among the 612 prisoners at the facility.

              Russian jails, where inmates may be held 20 to a cell, tuberculosis is rampant and hygiene minimal, have been condemned as “deadly”.

              Although the death penalty has been abolished in Russia, Muslim prisoners held on “terrorism” charges may be persecuted by fellow prisoners and prison staff angered by the terrorist attacks on civilians by Chechen rebels.

              Allegations of torture and beating in remand custody are commonplace. By contrast, Mr Bakhitov told his mother that in Guantanamo “everything is fine with me”.

              “They give me books here and I am held in a clean place. The food is tasty. I want for nothing but freedom. Good people are sat around me.”

              Mrs Khasanova said her son was an innocent victim of circumstances. He was arrested after he went to Chechnya in 1999, “to visit a renowned Islamic institute”. He fled from Russia to Tajikistan, and from there to Afghanistan, where he was arrested by the Taliban as a suspected KGB agent.

              “The [Russian authorities] have failed to prove he participated in any military actions [in Chechnya]. He ran from Russia because he spent two and a half months in jail.”

              Ms Khasanova is not the first mother of a Russian in Guantanamo to plead with Washington not to extradite her son to face Russian justice.

              Earlier this year Nina Odizheva, the mother of Ruslan, 29, from Kabardino-Balkaria, wrote several times to the US ambassador, Alexander Vershbow, begging Washington to resist Moscow’s calls for extradition. She said she had not heard from her son for 18 months when the Russian prosecutor contacted her to say he was suspected of being a member of the Taliban.

              Ruslan wrote to his mother that at Camp Delta “what we see around us is a complete miracle”.

              http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/aug/09/guantanamo.russia

              • Maybe you should actually look at the verdict instead of regurgitating a wikipedia entry.

                Here are the facts,

                Yukos did establish several companies in reduced tax rate zones in Russia.

                These companies gained a lower tax rate illegally as they had no activity in the region. Infact the law required that these companies invested any tax relief in the area.

                Subsidiaries of Yukos sold oil at below market value to these new companies in low tax areas.

                These companies then sold that oil on at market value at a reduced tax rate.

                Yukos’s claimed that these companies were not affiliates and they received no income from them. Infact money from these companies seams to be missing hence hence the embezzlement charges against certain individuals.

                Even a monkey can see how this is illegal.

                The tax bill in question is in regards to Yukos, its subsidiaries and the companies it set up in low tax zones. Therefore it has to be taken in context with the revenues of all these companies not just Yukos as your suggesting.

                Yukos broke not only the law but the spirit of the tax free zones which where designed to encourage investment in regions of Russia not for tax evasion.

                Then there is the only Yukos was prosecuted again this is myth and untrue. LUKOIL paid its tax bill in 2001 in a very similar scheme.

                The 8 billion dollars Yuko’s offered as a settlement could not be accepted as it was offered at least partly as Sibneft shares who’s assets where in dispute at the time.

            • Selective prosecution is a perfectly legitimate defense, and you are wrong about it not “standing up” in any court. It was used many times in the Untied States.

              We can lose the train of thought if we bog down in details. The big picture is clear, however; the outcome was determined by the Kremlin, in advance. The courts were used to provide this sham with a veneer of respectability. But it did not work, nobody was fooled except perhaps some Russians like yourself.

              • Lol again selective prosecution in the US is a term based on the 14th Amendment. It requires the defendant to prove that suspects of other races have not be similarly prosecuted. This has only ever been successful twice as far as I am aware in the cases United States v. Armstrong 1996 and Yick Yo v Hopkins 1886.

                Since the courts presume the prosecutors have not violated the 14th amendment its up to the defence to prove selective prosecution.

                Since Khodorkovsky was Jewish and many of the other oligarchs who where not prosecuted where also Jewish the US legal definition of selective prosecution could not be applied in his case. Even now I have yet to here one political leader in the west claim he was prosecuted because he was a Jew. Khodorkovsky’s defence did not even argue this very fine point instead claiming nobody else was prosecuted for the same crime. So again the other oligarchs didn’t get prosecuted was a major part of Khodorkovsky’s defence however that defence would not stand up in any court in the world does apply and this is not selective prosecution under the legal definition in the US.

                Its funny how you want due process for a what many Russians clearly know is a criminal who stole billions from them. A criminal up to his neck in murders. A criminal who helped leave parents watch as their children faint due to the lack of food. Yet you have yet to provide any evidence to back up your claims of Kremlin involvement. Or turn a blind eye to the imprisonment of people without trial by the US. Instead bringing up misguided legal terms such as double jeopardy and selective prosecution in a misguided fashion.

                This blog clearly has an irrational hatred of all things Russia.

                LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

                You’re clearly an illiterate moron who doesn’t have the common decency to actually read this blog. We LIONIZE many things Russian, for instance Oleg Kozlovsky, Boris Nemtsov, Anna Politkovskaya, Natalia Estemirova, Yulia Latynina, and on and on.

                You clearly have an irrational and blind fervor for all things Russian.

                You also, clearly, know absolutely nothing about the sham proceedings used to convict Khodorkovsky, proceedings that have been condemned by governments and human rights groups around the world.

                • You do not lionize anything Russian you lionize anything that questions the Russian government. The name of your blog no matter how you try to define it actually means irrational fear of Russia. Look it up in a dictionary and you call me illiterate.

                  I am not the one who claimed that Khodorkovsky was put on trial for the same thing twice. Or that Selective Prosecution was used many times in the US. You did not even know what it was. Yet you called me the moron.

                  So it being condemned by governments and human rights groups is enough. Yet you argue for due process for what even the dogs in the street know is a thief and murderer despite having three appearances in court.

                  These same governments and human rights groups have also condemned Guantanamo Bay yet you nare quite happy to live with that.

                  • Selection for this selective prosecution was made here not based on religion but on political view. In other words, he is prosecuted because he is opposed to your beloved Paramount Leader, tax evasion is just a pretext. However, I would not totally exclude anti-Semitism as one additional factor, considering the kind of population you have. Just see the very first comment on this topic, above.

                    You can protest all you want and claim that your Fatherland has a democracy (or alternatively that she does not need one), and that she has fair and independent judiciary, but you would get hoarse and nobody would believe it anyway. People are not blind. It is all clear to us, we were not born yesterday.

                    And I am sick and tired of this Guantanamo Bay red herring. Don’t try to substitute the topic. I do not support this or previous administration’s policy on it, although they are probably constitutional even if barely so. If the U.S. or other Western Government in some of its actions fails to leave up to our expectations, does that justify a lawless gangster society that Russia is?

                    • “Live up” to our expectations, of course. Sorry for the typo

                    • First and foremost I am not Russian and Fatherland is a German term while Russia is referred to as the motherland by its citizens. If you plan to insult a Russian because of his nationality you should first ensure hes a Russian and then at least get the insult right.

                      Selective prosecution according to the legal definition is about race and racially motivated prosecution. Only 2 cases I have heard have ever won on a Selective Prosecution defense and both where based on race. Other criteria could be age, religion, or gender. However since the other oligarchs who where not prosecuted where male, of a similar age, religion and gender these cannot be used. Also since Khodorkovsky funded not only non governmental parties but members of the Duma who where pro Kremlin even some in Putins party policatal aspirations cannot be claimed either. You claimed Khodorkovsky wanted transparency and western style business practices yet he has been unable to explain the whereabouts of vast amounts of money that has disappeared from the shell companies Yuko’s set up illegally in tax reduced zones. His bank was also implicated during the clearstream investigation by a European investigation independent of Russia of having hidden accounts. Khodorkovsky’s political aspirations where nothing more than to stop oil tax reform so he could profit more from the Russian tax payer thats why he attempted to bribe Duma members across all parties.

                      The fact that you where not born yesterday and instead in an era of paranoid anti communist witch hunters is the problem. The reality is you don’t know anything about Khodorkovsky’s case’s. You know nothing of the evidence against him or you would know that Yuko’s and the Russian prosecutors largely agree what went on. The difference is Yuko’s claims its actions where legal. Yet how one could believe selling oil below market value to another company u own in a low tax zone to sell on at market value to avoid tax is legal I don’t know. Especially considering in 2001 LUKOIL already admitted guilt in a similar investigation and paid its tax bill.

                      If Khodorkovsky had acted like this int he US he would have been imprisoned for life.

                      Guantanamo Bay is not a red herring, it clearly highlights the hypocritical stance you are taking in a case where the defend had his day in court while your own country holds men without any chance of a fair trial. The saying is you should not throw stones if you live in a green house.

                • Free,
                  Do you think that 30 million US dollars, allegedly stolen by Mr. Khodorovski, might be kept in the same bank somewhere in the Western Europe where Mr. Putin keeps his loot – 40 BILLIONS US dollars stolen from poor starving Russians by their own Prime Minister??? If Mr. Khodorovsky was sentenced to 17 years in prison for stealing 30 million, Putin, stealing 40 Billions should get a life sentence, may I suggest a Magadan gulag, there , he could admire the nature he love some much for the rest of his life..

      • How self-demeaning… Since when does ‘the best Russia politics blogger in the world’ goes about town throwing words like ‘moron’ and ‘jackass’ around at her readers? Ran out of civil comments?

        LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

        Dude, you’re kind of undermining yourself there by betraying that you don’t read our blog. Since April 2006, we’ve been “notorious” for just such remarks, it’s part of our trademark. Our comment guidelines clearly warn about it. Read a little more, you’ll be surprised a little less, moron.

        Oh and, listen to Rush or Howard or Imus or Olberman. Then think a little, that might help too.

        • Indeed, my bad, please accept my apologies. I took a closer look around and realized: you can’t run out of something you never had in the first place. My proud Russian arse will now excuse itself. Good luck with keeping your быдло-party going!

          LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

          What is it you’re proud of exactly?

          The slave wages?

          The sort lifespan?

          The wretched medical care, the horrific murder rate?

          The rampant racism?

          The political murder?

          The government by secret police?

          The lack of Nobel prizes?

          The multiplicity of convictions for state-sponsored murder and torture in the European Court for Human Rights?

          All of them and more?

          Please try to get a freakin’ clue, dude. Your country is collapsing. Again.

          • Hey alterismus?? just who is the one, who is ‘running out of civil words!’

            Your comment about the “быдло-party” gave you away for the foul mouthed fascist ruSSian you really are.

            Extremely glad to read your words that your “proud Russian arse will now excuse itself.”Sure pal, go back to what your mouth is superbly suited at, i.e. always licking Putin’s “быдло” stained “arse”.

            Bon apetit! tovarish.

            • I’m also proud, that I feel my self Russian.
              I like Russian food, comedies, poetry, physicists and Nobel prizes (sad of course, that there are just few of them). I like that we have Yuri Gagarin.
              Yes it’s sad, that Putin is concentrating to much power. Yes it is bad for the development of civil society. Yes Russia have hard past and many social problems.

              But it is important to realize growing of a new, differently thinking, generation of russians. They are the ones who will determine Russia’s policy in 10-15 years. This blog contributes to the worsening of relations with the younger generation, rather than improving them.

              • Misha,

                I’m not Russian at all, but “some of my best friends are Russians” etc. Speaking of myself, I’m not anti-Russian if we talk about the entire nation. The “Russian government” is not a nation. It’s not even a real government.

                This blog actually isn’t contributing much to this at all. It’s just a blog, not the Russian television.

                • Hi Robert,
                  My opinion is that Russian government is reflecting people votes. It’s a problem, that the most active part on the elections are young people (it is easier to influence them) and old people (their habits will remain, as they grown up in soviet system and got used to it) + administrative resource, which is used by ruling party. Middle age people don’t care that much (unfortunately). They prefer to think about business, career, family and etc. When (not “if”) these people will become more active, political map of Russia will change.
                  Other part of my point of view is that Putin & Co are actually doing many good things as well and nation feel it. They are not destroying country as this blog is stating. My complaint here is that “good” is not enough for today’s world. It must be “excellent”! But “excellent” must involve big team (in the scale of the country) of highly skilled professionals. Government don’t want to risk by delegating too much, but this provokes lower growth. And again I will make a summary that things will change in future :) At least it is my desire.

                  P.S. And as always, corruption and laziness…

              • I hope, Misha, you also like the russian gulags, millions of russians slaves who marched to the russian concentraction camps, I hope you are impressed by millions of Ukrainians starved to death in order to keep Ukraine within your Russian paradise. I am sure you love your ‘russian empire’ where 95% live like animals spread all over Siberia without running water, no eletricity, no gas, half starved and ALWAYS on their knees. I hope you will also love your new masters the CHINESE….

                • you are extra fool, a good example of lowest-intellect russophobe.

                • Hi, mccusa.
                  I conclude that politeness in conversations you learned as a child failed. I like US as well by the way. You know how to be efficient and effective and my friend likes american jazz. Speaking about what you said: I repeat, that Russia have a hard past and made many mistakes. My generation (I’m 23) is working on fixing things for this to never happen again. I want to admit that strong countries often are aggressive. This is sad, but this is true and to strengthen my arguments I provide a list of military conflicts involving US during last 30 years:

                  U.S. Libya Conflict 1981, 1986
                  U.S. Intervention in Lebanon 1982-1984
                  U.S. Invasion of Grenada 1983
                  “Operation Earnest Will” 1987-1988 Iran
                  U.S. Invasion of Panama 1989
                  Second Persian Gulf War “Operation Desert Storm” 1991
                  “No-Fly Zone” War 1991-2003
                  U.S. Intervention in Somalia 1992-1994
                  NATO Intervention in Bosnia 1994-1995
                  U.S. Occupation of Haiti 1994
                  “Desert Fox” Campaign December, 1998
                  Kosovo War 1999
                  Civil War, Foreign Intervention & Inter-State War
                  Yugoslavia/Serbia
                  Afghanistan War. October 7, 2001-Present! (I can bet, that when Soviets invaded Afghanistan many people said that US would never do things like that)
                  Third Persian Gulf War. “Operation Iraqi Freedom”
                  March 19, 2003-Present!

                  All these conflicts involve (my subjective opinion): deaths, rapes, hunger, poverty and corruption. These are only proven conflicts. Nobody knows what still is “under the table”. It is possible to provide list of Russian conflicts as well! I know it very well, but the conclusion is, that there are less differences in behavior of this two countries (and many other countries) than you probably think.

                  • @U.S. Libya Conflict 1981, 1986

                    So you count 1981 and yet not 1989? How strange.

                    @Second Persian Gulf War “Operation Desert Storm” 1991

                    More like the first Gulf War. Anyway it was a UN operation by numerous countries (the largest such things since Korea).

                    @“No-Fly Zone” War 1991-2003

                    Unfortunately, they allowed the Iraqi military helicopters to operate unhindered.

                    @U.S. Intervention in Somalia 1992-1994

                    UN, too (and also multinational).

                    @U.S. Occupation of Haiti 1994

                    UN, too.

                    @NATO Intervention in Bosnia 1994-1995

                    Yeah, so late. The whole thing would be not even needed in first place if the Bosnian government and people were simply allowed to arm and defend themselves, but the UN enabled the genocide with their arms embargo while sending unarmed observers and “peacekeepers” during war. Such a shame.

                    @Kosovo War 1999

                    This one on time, however – a lesson learned.

                    @Afghanistan War. October 7, 2001-Present! (I can bet, that when Soviets invaded Afghanistan many people said that US would never do things like that)

                    And the US never did things like that. Starting with beginning when the Soviets suddenly assassinated Amin (president of Afghanistan) and a lot of other people who were their “dear fraternal comrades” up until the totally unprovoked invasion and the bloodbath purge of the Afghan communist party leaders by the Soviets. In the Soviet war more than 1 million people were killed, while in the Coalition war not even anything close to just 1/10 of this were killed (and more people are now actually dying in the neighbouring Pakistan where there are no American soldiers) despite the even longer duration so far: http://www.telegram.com/article/20101126/NEWS/11260558/1052/NEWSREWIND

                    @All these conflicts involve (my subjective opinion): deaths, rapes, hunger, poverty and corruption.

                    Really? The No-Fly Zones protecting Iraqi cities and refugees from being napalmed? The late intervention in Bosnia brought “rapes, hunger”, and not ended them? It’s really interesting, so come on and tell me about it!

                    • OK Robert,
                      Just some of them included: deaths, rapes, hunger, poverty and corruption :)

                      This does not diminish the similarity in the behavior of these two countries. Maybe US interests are more commercialized. Russia often has problems with playing according to rules and justifying their conflicts.

                    • You can justify US conflicts in one or another way, but they are happening – this is a fact. I can Justify Russia conflicts in one or another way (with some exceptions as well), but still unfortunately Russia is getting involved in them or provoke them. My point is that people must be objective (in frame of existing information).

                      Speaking about Chodorkovsky – he is guilty (to stay in frames of article :) ) My argumentation can be seen below.

                    • Wasn’t the blog a perfect place to come and see:)

                      I feel I would never laugh in circus no more…

            • Regionnaires’ Disease in Ukraine
              Yesterday at 22:36 | Alexander J. Motyl Last winter’s health scare in Ukraine was swine flu. This year’s is far worse: Regionnaires’ Disease, an illness that eats away at political organisms and turns them into ethical zombies.

              The carriers of this terrible illness are the cadres of the Party of Regions, the hierarchically organized, anti-democratic, and Russian supremacist political force that brought President Viktor Yanukovich to power and serves as his political base. The Regionnaires control the Parliament, the cabinet, and most regional and local governments.

              Many Ukrainians refer to the Regionnaires as bandyty, a word best translated as “thugs.” The term fits them well. All too many of them actually resemble Hollywood versions of gun-toting mugs.

              More insight, more knowledge, and more sensitivity are not exactly on their agenda.

              Neither are more manners. On December 16, a band of Regionnaire thugs broke into the Ukrainian Parliament and viciously attacked opposition politicians protesting government harassment of Yulia Tymoshenko. This wasn’t just an instance of the run-of-the-mill fisticuffs for which the Parliament has become known. It was, as one democratic website put it, nothing less than a “pogrom.” Take a look at the YouTube video of the attack. The big guys throwing punches and swinging chairs are Regionnaires. The little guys hiding for cover are the opposition politicians. Oh, and by the way, the Regionnaires have officially declared that the violence was “provoked” by the opposition.

              Read more:

              http://www.kyivpost.com/news/opinion/op_ed/detail/93758/#ixzz19VBSnyZj

            • Typo :

              The only “быдло-party” that I can think of is Party of Regions in Ukraine and the only ones that want to “keep them going” are the savage uncivilized pagan barbarians in the kremlin.

              Regionnaires’ Disease in Ukraine

              Yesterday at 22:36 | Alexander J. Motyl

              Last winter’s health scare in Ukraine was swine flu. This year’s is far worse: Regionnaires’ Disease, an illness that eats away at political organisms and turns them into ethical zombies.

              • @”the only ones that want to “keep them going” are the savage uncivilized pagan barbarians in the kremlin”

                Come on, how then they could get the majority in parliament and the presidency. You Ukrainians voted for them, not “barbarians in the kremlin”.

                • Ah come on casasa, what planet are you from?

                  In the previous to the last Ukrainian election, Yanukovych got caught, so to speak, “with his hand in the cookie jar”! that is the vote rigging that took place was criminal, as seen by the international observers there to monitor its honesty. This resulted in the Ukrainian judges in declaring it null and void and allowing another new and fair election, wherein Yushchenko got elected.

                  Undoubtedly “Bandita” Yanukovych and his “banda” learned a big lesson from his mistake/s and made sure in the last election, to ensure he was not caught out this time round.

                  Furthermore, Russia’s Putin gave very large financial support/backing to PoR, Yanukovych’s party.

                  The rest is history.

                  • That way you can declare any election in any country unfair. The 2010 Ukrainian presidential elections were approved by all international organizations/countries as democratic and fair. Do you really believe Yanukovich could fake some 45% percents of votes?! Then I’m wondering what planet are you from.

                    • I’m only curious why didn’t the “Glorious” vegetable get 97% ?

                    • Oh, and, btw, Micha in Georgia also got his party’s 85% of seats in parliament in a fair and competitive elections.

                      It’s just Georgians do not believe somebody can run their country better than Micha’s party.

                      Or even compete with it.

                      Or even be bold enough to argue with it.

                      Or even be.

  4. What does this make the Rinos?????

  5. Russian tycoon Khodorkovsky again found guilty

    Today at 08:28 | Associated Press

    Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s conviction for stealing oil from his own company and laundering the proceeds is a verdict likely to keep the oil tycoon who once challenged the power of Vladimir Putin behind bars for several more years.

    The unrelenting legal attack on Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man, has come to define the country’s transformation under Putin. The outcome of the second trial Monday exposes how little has changed under President Dmitry Medvedev despite his promises to strengthen the rule of law and make courts an independent branch of government.

    Putin, now prime minister, remains the more powerful leader. Any lingering doubt that the verdict would be guilty was dispelled this month when he said Khodorkovsky was a proven criminal who should sit in prison.

    Read more:

    http://www.kyivpost.com/news/russia/detail/93685/#ixzz19OCfCA18

  6. Please, please let Russia disintegrate in peace – the process that has been going on since the Polish Solidarity. Mr. Putin will win the 2012 election; will reopen the gulags, it is a matter of turning the keys at all well preserved facilities – and Russians, as always, will walk to the gulags to save the ‘russian empire’. If one looks at the Moscow’s streets ones sees 80% of central asian moscowites. Russians are doomed – priceless….

  7. Germany investigates ‘poisoning’ of Russian dissidents

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12082742

    Earlier this month, the German weekly Focus reported that doctors had detected high levels of mercury in the blood of Viktor and Marina Kalashnikov.

    He was a former colonel in the KGB while she is a historian and both have been critical of the Kremlin.

    In 2006, former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko was murdered by radioactive poisoning in London.

    British investigators suspect former KGB agent Andrei Lugovoi is behind his murder.

    A spokesman for the public prosecutors’ office in Berlin confirmed that an investigation had been opened into whether the Kalashnikovs have been deliberately poisoned.

    “It is being carried out by a department dealing with politically motivated crimes,” the spokesman told AFP news agency.

  8. Everyone in Russia can appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. Its decisions are binding in Russia. Many criminals got not only freedom, but also monetary compensation.

    • What “many criminals” are you talking about?

      And which one of these rulings: http://www.srji.org/cases.html was then properly investigated and the criminals behind these crimes (often already identified and known by name, and we are talking about the men guilty of the most severe crimes, such as kidnapping and torture, murder, mass murder, such as for example General Baranov who has been even filmed while giving an order for a summary execution/disappearance: http://www.srji.org/en/news/2006/07/10/ ) were jailed?

    • You know as well as we all do that the this Human Rights Court has no power to enforce its decisions if a country decides to ignore them. They are binding only to the extent a country chooses to be bound by them. It’s no real court.

      Khodorkovsky will never see freedom because your Paramount Leader does not want it. Unless of course some kind of political compromise is reached.

      Most likely he will die from a heart attack or shot while attempting to escape. I guess you can get ready for the Kremlin-ordered national celebrations that will take place after he is dead.

      • Apparently you have no knowledge of how the ECHR really works. It has no enforcement mechanism by itself, but States Parties to the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (including Russia) are bound by the Convention to execute the judgments of the ECHR. And Russia DOES EXECUTE THESE JUDGMENTS. The Council of Europe has strict monitoring procedures in this regard.

        The U.S. of A., of course, are not a party to the Convention, and never agree to authority of any international courts over themselves – they even withdrew from the International Court of Justice formed under the UN Charter, the moment the ICJ had the audacity to pass judgment against them on their secret war with Nicaragua. Land of the free, indeed.

        • “The U.S. of A., of course,” is not the U.S. of E., you moron. The letter “E” in ECHR stands for “European”. If you want, get out of the CoE. You won’t be missed. Do it before the Khodorkovsky case judgement, before the Beslan case judgement, do yourself a favor, Comradine, get out of the UN before the Georgian case judgement in the ICJ too. Da svidanya.

          Oh, and regarding your CAPS LOCK lie: http://lenta.ru/news/2009/09/28/ignore/

  9. Very biased blog.
    You are behaving exactly as ultra-nationalists in Russia (this is my subjective impression). Even your slogan is terrible – “recording the rise (and hopefully fall) of the neo-soviet union”.

    These people have been convicted under the internal law. Other countries have no right to influence the court, saying that the verdict will be a test of democracy. You “know”, that he is innocent in the very same way, as I “know” that he is guilty.

    I’m from Latvia and I like Russia (food, jokes, poetry…). I hope that someday people who feed these resources will end. Not because an evil KGB will find out their IP addresses ;) (although you would prefer that I meant exactly that), but because Russian society will become a decent civil society and will prevent appearance of cases like “Khodorkovsky case”.

    • Well Misha, according to some Russians here, there is no need “to prevent” cases like Khodorkovsky’s because there is nothing wrong with it that has to be prevented. They tell us he was convicted according to the strict democratic norms that are no different from those in the West by a fair process in an independent court, which are also no different from those in the West.

      And what do you mean “Russian society will become a decent civil society?” It is one already according to these Kremlin stooges.

      Are you buying it? Since you seem to be a Russian and in no hurry to move to Russia from Latvia, I have a feeling you are not exactly believing all those Kremlin talking points.

      • There is no need to stop cases like Khodorkovsky’s the man stole billions from the Russian tax payer. It was handled properly. You have yet to provide any hard evidence other than hear say. You posted this clearly loaded story before the verdict was even finished, before you even heard what the court had to say about the conviction and the reasons for the conviction.

        Russian society is certainly improved upon since the 90′s when cronies like Khodorkovsky where robbing it blind and the mafia effectively ran large portions of it. The Russian Federation is young country with 20 years on her belt. Instead of alienating young Russians from the west by making wild accusations (without any substance) we should be helping them tackle the real problems Russian is facing instead of criticizing the lenient imprisonment of an embezzler and murderer.

        Seams that everyone who has a differing opinion to you is Russian, how paranoid are you?

        • Russian society will never become decent, it has had plenty of opportunity.

          As for the retarded comment that the Russian Federation is a “Young country with only 20 years under it’s belt” more BS, the Russian Federation is simply the continuation of the Soviet Union, which was the continuation of the Russian Empire.

          Same evil old whore with new makeup.

          And as for “alienating young Russians”, well young Russians have alienated themselves from the west, by their support for a genocidal imperialist regime in the Kremlin, by their support for the rollback of the (admittedly limited) democratic reforms introduced after the fall of communism, by their overt racism, by their stupidity.

          • “will never become decent”, “retarded comment”, “overt racism”, “stupidity.” “Same evil old whore with new makeup.”

            Ooookay…

            “And as for “alienating young Russians”, well young Russians have alienated themselves”

            Contradiction much?
            Or, where you live spewing abuse about one’s country and race does not count as “alienation”?

            • Russians are not “race”.

              • I see no functional difference in terms of aiming abuse. E.g. Jews are not a “race”, but saying you hate all Jews is clearly racist (or nazist, if you prefer the term). Be honest with yourself.

                • Oh Constantine, poor we chap. I don’t hate Russians, my daughter was baptized by a Russian, but I do hate the Russian state, for the same reasons I hate Nazi Germany, Apartheid era South Africa, and other such states.

                  • Indiscriminate abuse aimed at an entire nation = racism/nazism in my book. If you disagree with the policies of the Russian government, say so – but instead you spew hate on all Russians.

                    And comparing to Nazi Germany & Apartheid? Whoa, dude, have you ever BEEN to Russia? The REASON for the ethnic tension we have right now is because Russia was and is a very free and tolerant country in terms of ethnicities. We’ve got over 100 ethnicities officially recognised and protected – with access to free education in their official languages, translation of official documents and media, and 26 out of the Federation’s 83 constituent entities are ethnic in nature. That’s a level of protection and promotion far beyond, for instance, USA or Germany – other multiethnic federal states.Non-Russians from the former Soviet Reublics are eagerly flocking to Russia for profitable work which enables them to feed their families in their less well-off newly independent homelands. And this ethnic mish-mash is exactly one of the reasons the tension rose so high recently – because the immigrants and newcomers were poorly controlled, formed powerful criminal gangs, and treated the local population badly (up to and including racketeering and murder). Of course, economic troubles did nothing to alleviate the situation, and voila. But, again, this is a product of a liberal ethnic policy – same thing is happening in Europe, BTW, where immigrants refuse to blend into the society and instead heat up the tension. Just recently Merkel said Germany’s multiethnic policy was failing, and you must remember the famous car-burning riots in France. So Russia is definitely not some kind of Nazi Germany, Apartheid S.Africa or Racist USA – we simply have troubles like most other multiethnic countries do. And aggressive rhethoric coming from radicals is what it is – rhethoric; posting on this blog, you should be well accustomed to this phenomenon.

                    • Speaking of the Nazis. Was “indiscriminate abuse” (and indiscriminate bombing…) aimed at the Germans during WWII also “nazism in your book”, too?

                    • Well Constantine, I work with a lot of survivors from your “free and tolerant” Russia.

                      It seems to me you are a willing victim of Russian state propaganda.

                      Take for example the fate of the ethnic component of education in the ethnic republics you have mentioned. What we see is the continuation of Tsarist and Soviet Russification policies in the banning of teaching minority languages in state schools.

                      Yes I have been to Russia, in the 90′s and early 2000′s I have seen the way that Russian “brotherhood and friendliness” really works.

                      And comparing Russia to Nazi Germany? Easily done.

                      Russian support for mass murder and ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia (including supply of arms, planning, logistical support and even the use of Russian combat formations), Russian mass murder/genocide in Chechnya, Russian support for ethnic cleansing in Transdenistr, the supply of weapons to and the support for genocidal regimes in Burma, Sudan, Eritrea, and a whole host of other countries, Russian led ethnic cleansing in South Ossetia.

                      And lets not mention the 60,000,000 or so people murdered by the Russian state 1917-1991, a vastly disproportionate amount of whom were ethnic minorities.

                      And being from a commonwealth country, we have people from all over the former empire living in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and we most certainly do not treat them with the disgusting racism that you Russians treat non slavs.

                      So yes, I do equate modern Russia with Nazi Germany, you are the equivalent of the 1933-1938 Nazi state, and you will end up the same way given the racist rhetoric that repulsive little scumbags like you spout.

                      An intersting fact for you Constantine, the overwhelming majority of organised crime in Russia is controlled by RUSSIANS, Russians like you commit the overwhelming majority of racially motivated crimes, and your beloved Russia has more than half of the worlds neo-Nazi’s.

                      You are an idiot.

                • It’s actually called antisemitism and “nazist” is not even a real word.

            • Unfortunately for Russia, the abuse is deserved, in much the same way as Nazi Germany deserved abuse.

              Slavic Russians are incredibly racist, as they repeatedly demonstrate with the racial abuse, beatings, and frequent murders of “immigrants” (from Russian territories) and “blacks” ie anyone not ultra white in appearance.

              Try taking an objective look at the racist, oppressive, imperialistic country and “culture” that is slavic Russia Constantine.

              Anyone who is not disgusted by the behavior of your state would probably have applauded the Nazi’s too.

              • Russian people deserve abuse, huh?

                It is manifestly racist to attribute the shortcomings of the few to an entire race/nation. E.g. “all Jews are covetous” = racist stereotype. Russia is a land of over 140 million people, with hundreds of different nationalities and ethnicities mixed up and living shoulder-to-shoulder. Occasionally crimes are committed by radicals from all sides – very recently a group of young people from Caucasus knifed to death a young Russian football fan, an event which caused massive uproar in the media and civil society, but which is not unique in any way. Russians were exiled from Chechnya during Yeltsin’s rule, and those who didn’t run away were turned to slaves or executed. In the U.S. there still exist Ku-Klux-Klan and Nazi sympathisers who even holds public events. However, calling all Russians “racist” or all Chechens “terrorists”/”slavemongers” or all Americans “white supremacists” is completely wrong and intolerable.

                I observe the Russian society both from within and outside (I often travel abroad). There is nothing inherently racist about it. On the contrary, Non-Russian people eagerly come to Russia to work and earn good money. There are a lot of non-Russians in the ruling elite, especially in the local governments, and among the oligarchs (many of which are ethnically jewish, BTW – such as Friedman and Abramovich, World’s Top 100 Billionaires #42 and 50). Would you say the same about Jews in Nazi Germany or black people in countries with Apartheid? So stop hating and look at reality, which is not as simple as Fox News wants you to believe.

                • @Russians were exiled from Chechnya during Yeltsin’s rule, and those who didn’t run away were turned to slaves or executed.

                  Really? “Executed”, like Natalia Estermirova? And why didn’t they return after “Yeltsin’s rule”? (Speaking of Yelstin and Chechnya: he was a criminal too, and his forces killed thousands of ethnic Russian especially civilians in central Grozny.)

                  @In the U.S. there still exist Ku-Klux-Klan and Nazi sympathisers who even holds public events.

                  That’s right. And even the people who picket all kinds of funerals (soldiers, politicians, vistims of crimes and disaster), calling them “fags”. It’s called freedom of speech.

                  @Occasionally crimes are committed

                  Likethe thousands of people who were “disappeared” in Chechnya?

                  http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2005/03/20/chechnya-disappearances-crime-against-humanity

                  @by radicals from all sides – very recently a group of young people from Caucasus knifed to death a young Russian football fan

                  Actually, ” a young Russian football fan” was himself a “radical” (he ‘streetfighter’ of one of the most aggressive neo-nazi hooligan “firms”, even twice convicted for this) and also was shot dead (like one Horst Wessel once) and not “knifed”. And like Horst Wessel, this thug is now becoming an official hero for the fascist regime:

                  http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/21122010/2/photo/21122010162931.html

                  • And yeah, there is some really bad grammar in my last post.

                    • Robert
                      Never mind about the quality of the grammar in your article, at least you got the important points across. So unlike Kostya boy, whose propaganda is just so unbelievably naive, or just simply blatant lies. Would not surprise me in the least if he is a paid goon of ‘boba Putin’.

                  • And about what means the phrase “a young Russian football fan”, here are some more wild “football fans” from Spartak-associated street gangs in their native habitat. They are “ready to inspire”, always, and of course you know about this well:

        • You said that you were not a Russian and Fatherland is a German term while Russia is referred to as the motherland by its citizens. How do you know that if you are not a Russian? Only a native would know such a minute detail. Fatherland and motherland are synonyms, and in English their meanings are identical.

          Also, you mentioned an expression “you should not throw stones if you live in a green house.” It sounds peculiar to me. Who lives in greenhouses other than tomatoes and cucumbers? You better advise your KGB academy’s English department that their curriculum should concentrate more on attention to detail.

          • A synonym does not mean the terms are identical but “the same or nearly the same”. While both refer to a native land hence the synonym the difference is psychological, the difference between mother and father. However that’s of little relevance. The point is you clearly not only know nothing about Khodorkovsky’s cases but actually know very little about Russia or Russians. Maybe you should try reading some books, if you even watched a WWII movie with Russians in it you would have known this.

            This is a little test I often put in some posts I make to show that you have lost the debate on Khodorkovsky and have resorted to these blatant discrediting attempts. PS: most good green houses are made of glass you know. Clearly you have taken the bait hook line and sinker and I have just reeled you in.

            • Wow ‘free’ can you romance with yourself! try science fiction you will be a moral, albeit spastic, certainty.

              Now be good enough to explain in simple English what your little test was? Must be the strong medication that you are on?

              Instead why don’t you tell us about the 10′s of millions of innocent ‘comrades’ that your beloved communist ruSSia slaughtered in the name of uncle Joe’s soviet communistic, albeit fascism in sheep’s clothing, that so called ‘Workers Paradise’.

              What interest’s me is the percentage of little children, six years old and younger, who were classed as ‘enemies of the nation’ and then the next age group up i.e. 7 to 18.

              P.S. I doubt very much that you will have the decency or for that matter balls to answer these questions, as all your predecessors in the past have always shied away from the heinous crimes that your beloved Stalin perpetrated in the name soviet communism!! Something to be really proud of, being a communist buffoon? Aye comrade?

          • In Russian, Fatherland and Motherland are also synonymes, and are both widely used (BTW I’m Russian and proud of it). Fatherland has a slightly more formal ring, encompassing the entirety of the nationstate, while Motherland is more down-to-earth and often carries connotations of one’s attachment to the place of his birth, nature, “spirit of the place” so to speak. Which is why I don’t think Free is actually Russian, although living in Latvia where a large portion of the population are native Russian speakers and Russia itself is just over the border he probably acquired some familiarity with the language.

            Oh, and stop living in the 1980′s. The KGB is long gone, you can come out from under the blanket now 8=)

            • @The KGB is long gone

              Really? Where is it gone?

              OK, we were just talking about Russian television. Let’s see what the RT has to say about the KGB being “long gone”, shall we?

          • He claimed what? Of course the Russians use “Fatherland” – Отечество. For example, the national holiday for their army is Day of Defender of the Fatherland (День защитника Отечества), Putin’s original political vehicle was Fatherland – All Russia (Отечество – Вся Россия), etc.

            The term is mistranslated in English, yes, but the other way – like when the so-called Great Patriotic War was and is originally called Великая Отечественная Война – literally, the Great War of the Fatherland.

            They have also another word for it – отчизна, but it’s rather rarely used.

      • Dear RV,

        I want to live, where I was born and I don’t agree that I have to live in all countries I like even if the country is the mother of my first language.
        Russian society is far from European standards today (but not as far, as you probably think), but it is moving in this direction. I’ve studied together with Russian students in Norway and they really think it this way. They will push the country towards European way of living.
        I should formulate my position better:
        Do you know that the security services of his company arranged the murder of the head of Nefteyugansk? His company owed a lot of money in the form of taxes and demanded tax discounts, before paying! The head of the city refused and was killed. The case was proved and security chief convicted. Khodorkovsky officially has nothing to do with it. The whole town went to the demonstrations and demanded to put Khodorkovsky in jail, but because authorities could not prove this fact he stayed free (everything happened 1998). I think that if this time evidences would not been collected, Khodorkovsky again would be free. Government really want to keep him in jail, but without evidences they can nothing, as he is to powerful. Here I conclude that they really found something on him. When I say prevent that kind of cases I mean that civil society must prevent appearance of such people as Khodorkovsky. It should send charisma of this type of people in a constructive direction.
        Countries can’t always do things perfectly. For instance US allowed existence of Guantanamo Bay detention camp. This case is a difficult decision for Russian authorities.

        P.S. I know that your opinion (probably) will not be changed. I just want people in this blog to see, that there are different opinions not only among Europeans, but among Russians as well.

        P.P.S. I also don’t like the way russian authorities operate, but my argumentation is very different. And more importantly, the goals of my criticism are aimed at improving things. Goals of people who run this blog are unclear for me.

  10. free:
    I know you must be getting paid for what you say. Your pathetic lies do not sell, of course, but what else can you say??? After all you must say something before the end of your shift.

    • lol, is that it Ron, is this the best you can come up with. I do this for free as I enjoy exposing severely inaccurate reporting.

  11. Whoa, that’s an interesting blog) Well, personally for me it’s just another prooooove that we’re heading the right way… To all offended i’d say that Russia will never survive with the type of democracy America has. Yes we have different mentality, different views and different culture, different understanding of life… And heeell no i want Russia americanised… What i see on MTV every day makes me sick, when girls of age 17-18 are having a competition for a guy and having an open conversation about sex… Guys we’re other! Just like India, China, Brasil etc… Soviet Union is no more for about 20 years… And you talk about it with fear… Makes me laugh. Yeah, you talk about Khodorkovsky as a political prisoner, and how about billions he stole from the country. You’re just stupid if you think that Putin doesn’t want smart and succesful people investing Russia. Just like Abramovich… These articles and views about democracy in Russia are sooooo funny thourgh the view of Guantanamo (sorry if misspeled), Iraq, thgrough what we have read in Wikis… In 5 years world will be different… After all that’s your theme – Kill hundreds to save thousands… Not ours. We have problems, yes… but please live your advices about democracy for yourselves… And stop acting like an angel….

    • Don’t be surprised, dude. They still have the built-in fear and hatred straight out of the Cold War era. Their propaganda never really ended, and neither has their hypocrisy and double standards. What FDR said about Somoza the Nicaraguan Dictator applies perfectly to how the U.S.Administration treats Hashim Thaci, Hamid Karzai & all the other criminals in charge of states subservient to the USA – see e.g. WikiLeaks CableGate about Karzai being caught in the Saudi airport with a briefcase full of illegal money, or the Council of Europe PACE Rapporteur Dick Marty’s report about Tachi being the ringleader of a huge organ-harvesting criminal operation.

      • Thats rich coming from someone who lives in a country that is always bleating on about “foreign agitators” stirring up the Chechens and Georgians against Russia.

        Of course you idiots don’t even seem to consider the fact that it was Russian genocidal policies in the Caucasus that earned you the undying hatred of most Caucasian peoples, not to mention the horrific deeds of Russia in Ukraine, the Baltic republics, central asia, Finland, Poland, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, etc etc etc.

        Russian paranoia about the west is in every TV news broadcast, in the Russian newspapers and so on.

        • “Russian paranoia about the west is in every TV news broadcast, in the Russian newspapers and so on.”

          What papers do you read and what TV channels do you watch? I see no “paranoia”, unless you count as such the lack of blind submission to everything Western politicians say. Just like you don’t see any “paranoia” regarding Russia in your own media, right?

          “bleating on about “foreign agitators” stirring up the Chechens and Georgians against Russia.”

          The involvement of islamistic terrorist organisations in the Chechen war was openly admitted by the U.S. (who added a number of Chechen terrorists to their black lists). And Mr Saakashvili himself is basically a foreign agent 8=)) Not that it did him or Georgia much good, though.

          “Of course you idiots”

          Sod off, moron. What “horrific deeds of Russia”? The Stalinist purges were indiscriminately harsh against everyone, be it Russian, Ukrainian or any other nationality. Stalin himself was a Georgian, and they still have a respectful museum of Stalin in Georgia. If Russia was genocidal in the Caucasus, there would have been no Chechens, Ingush, Dagestani living there today. And Poland executed thousands of captured Red Army soldiers even before the butchery of Katyn. To say nothing about Nazi Germany.

          Cheerrs.

          • Listen pederast, if you think you can deny Russian crimes in the Caucasus you really are demented.

            Ever heard of the Circassian genocide?

            The deportation of all, and death of over half of, the Chechen population at the end of WW2.

            The ethnic cleansing of Georgians from Abkhazia, and a couple of years ago from South Ossetia?

            As for what programs I watch, well RTR, RTV1, and if I can keep the bile down long enough RT.

            BTW, Stalin was part Georgian, part Ossetian, and part Russian.

            The museum of him in Gori now is mainly devoted to his victims, and his last statue has been removed. Compare this to your silage pit Russia where he is venerated on TV, where there are over 200 statues of him and memorials to him, including 18 that have been put up since Putin came to power.

            Such as the laudatory “Stalin Hero of Russia” museum in Volgograd (Stalingrad), the ode to Stalin in the Moscow metro, the posters of Stalin put up in Moscow for May 9th, the list goes on.

            I mean are you really as retarded/brainwashed as you make yourself appear?

          • And Poland did not “butcher” thousands of Soviet POW’s, those men you were talking about died of communicable diseases in POW cages in the Russo-Polish war, and scum such as yourself seem to forget that even more Polish POW’s died in Russian hands at that time.

            However the Poles WERE executed.

            • Another area where the enforcement of discipline fell short was in the efforts to prevent the murder of prisoners of war. Babel made at least five entries describing the murder of Polish prisoners of war, both during the advance, and the retreat; the scale of killing increased during the retreat. On 19 August 1920 he recorded what was for him a shattering experience:

              “A bloody battle. The military commissar and I ride along the line begging the men not to massacre prisoners. Apanasenko [the division commander] washes his hands of it. I couldn’t look at their faces, they bayoneted some, shot others, bodies covered by corpses, they strip one man while they’re shooting another, groans, screams, death rattles, the attack was carried out by our squadron, Apanasenko remained aloof. It’s hell. Our way of bringing freedom –horrible. They search the farm, drag people out, Apanasenko – don’t waste cartridges, stick them. That’s what Apanasenko always says –stick the nurse, stick the Poles.”

              This was the second massacre of prisoners by the Konarmiia in two days.

              http://www.crcnetbase.com/doi/pdf/10.4324/9780203011850.ch2

              Apanasenko:

              http://www.generals.dk/general/Apanasenko/Iosif_Rodionovich/Soviet_Union.html

          • Russian love Stalin, just look here Constantine.

            And now, half a century later, do the Russians still believe in his genius? There is no doubt that Stalin is back in vogue.

            More than a dozen new statues of Stalin have been erected in Russia in the recent past, in addition to the more than 200 that still existed in the country: in the Siberian diamond-mining town of Mirny, at High School No. 2 in Chelyabinsk in the Ural Mountains, and in the Siberian village of Kureika, where Stalin spent his exile under the czar.

            ‘Stalin Raised Us to Be Loyal’

            Once again, Moscow residents can read the phrase “Stalin raised us to be loyal to the nation” when they walk into the Kurskaya metro station in Moscow, where a frieze bearing the inscription has now been restored. And anyone who is interested can visit the website of notorious Stalin apologists or, in any bookstore, choose among dozens of works of lightweight Stalin literature, arranged next to the shelves of bestsellers, with titles like: “Stalin’s Great War,” “Stalin’s Terror: The Great Lie of the 20th Century” or the five-volume work “200 Legends About Stalin.”

            Volume 14 of Stalin’s “Collected Works,” which were no longer published after 1951, is now on the market again. There is even an 800-page book that contains all the information that was meticulously recorded in notebooks in Stalin’s outer office, such as the names of people who went in and out of the general secretary’s office, together with the exact times of their arrival and departure. A new schoolbook goes so far as to praise Stalin as an effective manager.

            http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,692971,00.html

          • “islamistic” is not real word too (and neither is “Cheerrs”). Poland didn’t “execute thousands of captured Red Army soldiers”, or else prove your word by showing me the execution sites, the mass grave sites, and the names of the executioners as well as their victims.

            The Stalinist purges were not “indiscriminately harsh against everyone” – 100% of the “be it Russian, Ukrainian or any other nationality” were not repressed, while, for example, 100% of the natives of Chechnya were (all of them with no exceptions – only temporarily for the soldiers at front lines, and about 1/3 of the nation died).

            The legal definition of genocide: http://www.preventgenocide.org/genocide/officialtext.htm

            And just the Stalinist deportation is certainly covering the points: a) (including the village of Khaibakh where everyone were burned alive) and c) for national group and ethnical group, as well as additionally the cultural genocide by the means of destruction of the Chechen libraries (book burning), cemetaries (gravestones used as building material), historic buildings (towers) and even erasing everything about them from the Soviet books and encyclopedias as a former nation that was to vanish like if it never ever existed. Same goes for the Ingushes, who were covered by the same “operation”.

            What Russian TV am I watching? Russia Today, though infrequently. I’m not masochistic to watch this garbage.

          • @The Stalinist purges were indiscriminately harsh against everyone, be it Russian, Ukrainian or any other nationality.

            Kalmykia marks Memory Day of victims of Stalin deportation

            Dec 28 2010

            Today, Elista – the capital of the republic – and its districts hosted
            commemoration actions dated to the 67th anniversary of deportation of the Kalmyk people. On December 27, 1943, a decree of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet was signed “On Liquidation of the Kalmyk ASSR”, and on the following day the operation “Uluses” was launched, which assumed forced resettling of the entire nation to remote localities of the country.

            “December 28, 1943, is a tragic date in the history of our nation,” says the appeal of the head of Kalmykia Alexei Orlov. “On this day of national mourning, we remember the victims of Stalin repressions and light up candles in memory of those who perished during the years of infernal trials.”

            In the morning a mourning rally was held in Elista in memory of deportation and repression victims. The event held near the monument by Ernst Neizvestny “Exodus and Return” was attended by about 3000 residents. Representatives of broad public and veterans’ organizations, state bodies and citizens laid wreaths and flowers down to the memorial.

            “To forget, forbid, never mention and not to pronounce this word – a Kalmyk – this was Stalin’s order. Thousands perished from hunger, cold and humiliation. The Russian land from the Ural Mountains to Sakhalin is covered with nameless Kalmyk graves. Let us bow our heads in mournful silence and commemorate all our relatives, all those who stayed forever in foreign lands. Eternal Memory to all of them!” these words were pronounced today at the wreath-laying ceremony.

            Funeral prayers were read in Buddhist and Orthodox churches.

            “Over the years of exile we lost almost a third of our nation; the genetic pool of the nation was undermined; and it weakened further generations,” said pensioner Sergey Manzhikov. “We forgot our mother tongue and almost lost our culture, traditions and customs. We suffered so much that it is still felt in every Kalmyk family.”

            http://www.eng.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/15675/

  12. Wow, a blogger that calls herself RUSSIA-HATER! Your perverse love-hate attraction to Mr Putin aside, don’t you think RUSSIA-HATER is a little too much for someone who apparently claims to embody the “democratic” and “liberal” principles of the West? What happened with the celebrated tolerance and respect for the opinion of the people – you know, what DEMOCRACY is all about? Or the only people whose opinion you respect are fervent RUSSIA-HATERS like yourself? Don’t you think you come off as RACIST and NAZI, declaring hate for an entire nation like that? To disagree with the policies of a government is one thing, but this! Of course, it’s hardly a surprise, since in the recent years the mask of decency was slipping off the hypicritical Western governments (slaughter in Iraq and Afghanistan, secret prisons all over Europe, Guantanamo tortures, calls for execution of Julian Assange, support for the Kosovo Prime Minister aka Organ-Harvesting Crimelord Mr Tachi etc. etc.) Only fitting that the common blogger feels free to title herself RUSSIA-HATER.

    But whatever. Back to Khodorkovsky. You say: “The former oil tycoon’s real crime was that he dared to challenge Vladimir Putin”. Are all the crimes he’s charged with now, and those he was already convicted for, a fake? Have you listened to the LIVE broadcast of the reading of the verdict (going on for several days by now)? Have you examined the evidence amassed against Mr Khodorkovsky? Do you believe he is in fact innocent of the massive tax evasions, frauds, and money laundering – of stealing money from the nation? Or all you ever need for proof is that Russian court = kangaroo court, Russian people = dumb and evil, Russian government = evil and corrupt, => everything that Russia does ever is despicable, and everything Russia-haters do is laudable? What a viewpoint! Good thing rational people in charge of the world’s most influential countries (including Europe and the U.S.) pay little heed to such hate-mongering and prefer to see a stable Russia who is a friend and ally, instead of an unjustly antagonised dangerous enemy. So do go on with your Russia-hating, it is an amusing deviancy which entertains us.

  13. Poor Europeans. How could you just cheat! Credulous as children. Your newspaper is made from your zombie idiots who believe the letters rather than facts. I’ll bet that none of you have never been to Russia, but everyone says he knows all about her. And where did you get such “credible” data on corruption and other pressure Labuda?? Kids with a dirty ass. Sitting in his sandbox and not to go to an adult tutor.

    • Russia Forever, open your eyes and look at Moscow; 8 out of 10 inhabitants are from Ceneral Asia – Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, Tadjiks, etc. , so called Russian army is 50% asian – Russia Forever you are doomed but you are too primitive to see it have another gulp of contaminated samogon or better still get high on Afghan heroin…

    • RUSSIA FOREVER is an upcoming Russian prequel to the American film Batman and Robin ( http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/vladimir-putin-slams-american-arrogance-after-batman-robin-slur/story-e6frg6so-1225964750040 ), featuring the popular Russian superheroes known only as ‘RasPutin’ and ‘Mister M’ as an alternative version of this dynamic duo. As you see from the trailer version above, RUSSIA FOREVER is unintentionally hilarious and personally I can’t wait to see it in a cinema near me.

    • RUSSIA FOREVER
      Your comment that “I’ll bet that none of you have never been to Russia,” is pure lies, as I have been to Russia, as too has Andrew, who has traveled there more then once.

      I know about Andrew because I regularly read LR on a daily basis, and I do remember him saying that he visited Russia on several occasions – he even gave the years, and I read LR because it is a pure magic Blog!!! where you will find the truth, the truth and nothing but the whole truth, about your beloved fascist ruSSian. So unlike your ‘Putinland’, where the official party line takes precedence over truth, and the trashy propaganda spewed out makes for a good fairy tale.

  14. The World’s Largest Dying Power
    28 December 2010
    By Vladimir Ryzhkov

    As 2010 and the first decade of the 21st century wind to a close, the dominant social, political and economic trends of the year raise serious doubts about Russia’s future survival as a sovereign country. Chinese analysts, who have been closely observing Russia for the past 20 years, perhaps put it best: Russia is the world’s largest dying power.

    If Russia continues down its current path of autocracy, monopolization, corruption and overall economic, political, cultural and technological degradation, it may prove the Chinese correct in their terminal diagnosis.

    To be sure, the country’s degradation began before Vladimir Putin’s rise to power, but the nature and causes of this degradation are much different than under Putin’s degradation. During the 1990s, Russia found itself in complete political and economic ruins after the collapse of the Soviet Union and was hampered even further by low world oil prices throughout the decade. But during the 2000s, Russia enjoyed record-high oil prices. Nonetheless, the oil windfall was not used to modernize, diversify or reform political and economic institutions. Instead, the lion’s share of oil revenue was stolen or wasted on huge pork-barrel projects.

    There are four main areas that made 2010 a record year for Russia’s degradation:

    1. The country declined on the 2010 United Nations Human Development Index from 57th place five years ago to 65th place this year. This was because of the gap between the rich and poor widened and because the middle class has remained at only 10 percent to 12 percent of the population for the past decade. In addition, education dropped nine positions in the index to 41st place among 60 countries at a time when Russia plans to reduce its investment in education and human capital. The share of gross domestic product spending on science, education and health care will continue to decline, while spending for the military, police, intelligence services and other siloviki structures will increase.

    2. The state has become more corrupt and criminalized. The most striking example was the Kushchyovskaya massacre in early November that unmasked the complete fusion of organized crime and the local government, including the regional legislature, the court system and law enforcement agencies. It is no surprise that Russia fell 12 places in the most current World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report from 51st to 63rd place among 134 countries. Russia’s state institutions were ranked among the very worst in the world at 118th place. While the Kremlin pronounces empty words and slogans about “modernization” and “nanotechnology,” Russia has fallen to 80th place in the ranking for innovation, 126th place in terms of protection of property rights, 125th place for development of the financial market and 128th place for the high burden of state regulation on business. As a result, Russia again had the worst economic performance among the BRIC countries in 2010, including indexes for direct investment and economic growth, with capital flight from the country reaching $29 billion over 11 months.

    3. The economy has become more state-controlled and ineffective. The share of the raw materials sector in the economy continued to grow in addition to its already oversized share in the country’s export budget revenues. With the state’s share in the economy now at 50 percent according to government sources — and even higher if you count businesses owned or controlled by state officials — and with state workers now accounting for every second employee, the level of economic competition is woefully low, which means a rise in prices and overall inflation and a drop in quality, productivity and quality of goods.

    4. Most Russians are overcome by cynicism and anger over their declining standard of living and the fact that the ruling elite abuse their power and continue to embezzle money and assets from the people and businesses with impunity. In short, Russians have lost all hope for the future under the current leadership. This is reflected in rising crime, xenophobia and violence. The most striking evidence of the people’s growing anger and intolerance and the disintegration of Russian society was the riot by ultranationalists on Manezh Square in early December.

    To make matters worse, Moscow’s practice of appointing Kremlin-friendly yet highly unpopular governors from outside the regions only intensifies the provinces’ sense of alienation from the federal center. The Kremlin has taken an imperial approach to governing the regions, laying the foundation for an increase in separatist sentiments, particularly in the North Caucasus, Kaliningrad and in the Far East.

    Putin’s desire to remain in power for another 12 years after the 2012 presidential election spells disaster for Russia. In the best case scenario, we can expect long-term economic stagnation and social decline. This will be coupled with a continued rise in corruption, drop in foreign investment and the flight from Russia of both capital and millions of its best and most talented citizens. In the worst case scenario, the continued degradation caused by corruption, monopolization and lawlessness could result in a total collapse and disintegration of the country, and if the country’s leadership doesn’t change this happen in the next decade.

    http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/the-worlds-largest-dying-power/427896.html

  15. Oh cmon, these articles are so fun to read! Economy is bad, state is corrupted, 8 out of 10 are not russians, we die (i accept though, that we have problems with demography), ethnic cleansings are everywhere, everything is bad etc etc… No new! Just as i said. Let me just go and shot myself right now! People if you have good education that doesn’t mean you know everyhting about Russia. I dont wanna get in to conversation leading nowhere… I’m ok if you hate us, that makes us strong and keeps our belts hold tight! But that is so stupid…. Russia IS a biggest country in the world with like 150 nacionalities. Do you know what that means? That means democracy the way you see it can go to hell! Live with that, your methods don’t work here, and they never will. State Department dreams in the night, when Caucasus will be given democracy… We’re not kids right? Or here we should think how innocent you guys are…m? Ok, next, about our history what done is done… Yea, Katyn is a tragedy, holodomor the same, Stalin is a tragedy…. How long we gonna talk about what he did. YES! That’s our history… So let’s make a new better one for our kids together! That’s positive! Or it’s not? Russians want to live well, that’s all… That’s our goal… This site is showing negative things, right…. But you should also see what progress we have made for last 20 years… And that is my friends i bet what brings horror to you minds fellow americans… That you’re not only nation in the world. 5-7 years and we will see where america will be with it’s democracy///

    • NIKOLAI,

      I’m not an American. Your fellow poster RUSSIA FOREVER (his motto: “Like Russia Today, but now with a double dose of retarded!”) called us Europeans, I guess a guy after you will call us all Australians. But let me ask one thing: where are you coming from? As in, who’s sending you there now. }Please don’t be shy.

  16. Pingback: Notes on the Value of Sovereignty and the All Too Human Delusions of Grandeur « Shanghai Blueprints

  17. Putin is learning from Yanukovych :

    RIA Novosti: Russian opposition leader Limonov detained by police ahead of protest in Moscow

    Today at 17:39

    The opposition leader of The Other Russia, Eduard Limonov, told Ekho Moskvy radio station that he has been detained ahead of a protest scheduled on Moscow’s center Triumfalnaya Square on Friday. Limonov, who was preparing to join an unsanctioned protest on the square, said he has been taken to a local police station for a “prophylactic discussion.” Read more.

    Read more:

    http://www.kyivpost.com/news/russia/detail/93951/#ixzz19hoWjOu0

  18. Pingback: Diplomatic Relationships - Nuclear Missile Info

  19. Pingback: Rusland politiestaat « George Knight

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