Category Archives: berezovsky

EDITORIAL: Berezovsky 1, Putin 0

EDITORIAL

Berezovsky 1, Putin 0

He laughs last laughs Berezovsky

When state-operated RTR TV accused Russian “oligarch” Boris Berezovsky of being involved in the assassination of KGB defector Alexander Litvinkenko, Berezovsky cried foul.

Claiming RTR went to press without a shred of evidence linking him to the killing, as part of a political smokescreen designed to deflect blame from the real killers who were Kremlin operatives, Berezovsky filed a libel lawsuit in Britain.  It was Berezovsky against Putin, mano-a-mano, before an impartial arbitrator.

Last week, Berezvosky emerged the smiling victor.  He was awarded £150,000 (a quarter of a million dollars) in damages after the High Court of Britain concluded that Putin’s minions at RTR had been lying.

Ouch.

The verdict is a direct condemnation of the Kremlin, similar to what Mikkhail Khodorkovsky is seeking in the European Court for Human Rights. The British court ruled that the Kremlin was directly complicit in RTR’s libeling of Berezovksy since RTT “had been assisted both before and during the trial by a team from the Russian prosecutor’s office.”

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Berezovsky on Zubkov

Зубков – это не преемник.
Глупо думать, что кто-то придет на полгода и вернет власть Путинy.
Зубков – это либо фальшивка или третий срок.

Блог Бориса Березовського

Translation:

Zubkov is no “successor.”
It’s just plain silly to suggest that he will rule for a little while and then return power to Putin.
Zubkov is a sham or, to put it more bluntly, he’s a third term.

— Boris Berezovsky, on his Live Journal blog

Berezovsky in the Times of London

Writing in the Times of London, exiled Russian “oligarch” Boris Berezovsky says that the West should “call Putin’s bluff.” Those who don’t care for Berezovsky, and don’t care to see him have such a lofty platform, have Vladimir Putin’s ham-handed neo-Soviet attacks on Britain to thank. And they should ask themselves who is a higher-profile critic of the neo-Soviet Union; if they don’t care for BB, they should ask themselves why Russia isn’t civilized enough to have presented other options.

Putin and Putin’s Russia are being widely discussed in the West. Opinions have split: some say it’s better to be friends, others insist that a hardline approach is more fitting.

Despite the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia still plays a key role in world politics. Discord between Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the West is seen everywhere: energy resources and their transport, military security, Kosovo, eastern Europe, Ukraine, the Caucasus, central Asia, the Middle East . . . there is hardly an area left where the interests of Putin’s Russia coincide with those of the West.

The last myth, of co-operation in the fight against international terrorism, was put to rest on November 1, 2006, when London became the target of a radioactive attack using polonium-210, with the Kremlin front and centre behind that assault.

Putin’s regime will inevitably collapse. The USSR collapsed because the centralised political system and the planned economy were uncompetitive. By taking Russia back to the top-down power structure, Putin dooms it to suffer the same consequences as the Soviet Union. However, while the Soviet break-up meant liberation for the people of Ukraine, the Baltic states, the Caucasus, central Asia and others, breaking up Russia would mean a collapse of a unique civilisation that is integral to global civilisation. Will Putin’s regime collapse as a result of Russia failing, or will there be internal powers capable of defeating the regime and stopping the break-up? There is no third option.

Putin’s regime is authoritarian. Under the current system, free elections are impossible. Only pressure on the Kremlin will make it possible to re-establish a constitutional form of government. John Locke, the English philosopher, said: “If a government violates the law, overthrowing it is not just a right, but an obligation of responsible members of society.” I am calling for deliberate pressure aimed at reinstating a form of government that would correspond to the letter and the spirit of the Russian federation constitution which states that “Man, his rights and freedoms are the supreme value. The recognition, observance and protection of the rights and freedoms of man and citizen shall be the obligation of the state.” By abrogating citizens’ rights and freedoms, Putin’s regime has made itself unlawful. The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights — to which Russia is a signatory — states that “it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law”. Everyone fears the bloodiness of revolutions. However, the bloodless revolutions of the late 20th and early 21st century in eastern Europe and in the former Soviet Union teach us a different lesson.

First, the West should acknowledge that Putin’s government is unconstitutional. Events in Russia and the murder of Alexander Litvinenko justify this. Next, deliberate pressure on the institutions of power. This has many forms, including rebellion as the final means. There is one fundamental limitation: such pressure must minimise the provoking of violent action by the state that will cause victims. Ukrainian and Georgian examples show that it can be achieved. Only the people can be the legitimate force to depose an illegitimate government, because democracy is the basis of Russia’s constitutional policy.

Over the past 20 years or so, our people have demonstrated great “flexibility” in their political leanings. Our people trust not the individual, but the position. Instead of giving weight to Putin’s high popularity ratings, a simple question must be asked: who will voluntarily risk their lives to come out on the streets to defend Putin? My answer is — a lot fewer people than those who will voluntarily risk their lives to come out on the streets against him.

Putin’s problem is that until now the corrupt pro-Kremlin elite has been his real source of support. He had a deal with them: they give him power, the “love” of the people and personal wellbeing and, in exchange, he legalises their business and capital in Russia and in the West. But this elite keeps its capital in western, not Russian, banks, so if anything happens it won’t be so easy for Putin to take it from them.

When the West realised that the Kremlin was behind the Litvinenko murder, Putin lost the ability to guarantee protection of this elite’s interests in the West. What’s more, closeness to Putin has become dangerous for them.

Now the question of a third presidential term. Since insecurity is the essence of Putin’s mentality, deceit comes naturally to him. The Kremlin cooked up a story about his third term. The idea behind the deceit is simple: a puppet successor, a constitutional assembly, an amendment to the constitution (presidential authority is set at two seven-year terms), then the successor asks to resign and Putin returns. This plan may have been viable before the Livinenko murder. It won’t work now. The elite do not want Putin to top a chain of command suspected of crimes in its own country and of international terrorism; and any successor covering up Putin’s government’s crimes will himself become an accomplice. And as an accomplice he won’t be able to stay long enough for Putin to return — so Putin can’t hand power to anyone, not even a puppet.

It’s clear that Russia would still be trudging along in the Communist-KGB USSR that Putin loves so much were it not for the West and its decisive leaders, above all Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. There is nothing shameful in using the levers that the West has in order to put Russia back on the path of democratic reform.

A necessary condition for success is for the West to unify its position. Putin’s Russia depends on the West to an incomparably greater extent than did the Soviet Union. All Russian elites are attached to the West by their umbilical cords. The West should direct its efforts at countering those at the source of support for Putin’s regime — the corrupt elite.

The first step should be a comprehensive audit of this elite’s bank accounts, starting with those closest to the Kremlin. Western leaders have all the tools necessary for conducting this audit, which include the agreement on fighting high-level corruption signed in 2006 by the G8 leaders during the summit in St Petersburg. I am certain most of them won’t pass such an audit.

By itself, Russia’s monopoly over Eurasia’s energy resources is not enough as an instrument of political pressure, because it also needs a transport network to deliver them to the consumer.

Old Europe’s lack of understanding of the intense reaction of Poland, the Czech Republic, Estonia and other countries toward Putin’s aggressive actions stems from the deep intellectual degradation of the West’s political elites — beginning with their leader, the United States. This was behind western procrastination in integrating Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia into Europe and pushing away Belarus. The West must offer support to those countries on the front lines of resisting the creeping aggression of Putin’s Russia.

Its non-participation in the process of democratic reforms initiated by Boris Yeltsin — and its open encouragement of Putin’s criminal regime — took the world back to the past.

Nuclear blackmail by Iran, the disastrous war in Iraq, the crisis in Palestine and the Middle East in general are a direct consequence of the West miscalculating Russia’s role in the modern world. Bringing Russia back to the democratic community is certainly realistic — what’s more, it is the main duty of all responsible western politicians.

Bloodthirsty Kremlin’s Onslaught Against British Dissidents

Contributor Jeremy Putley points out that The Observer now reports that not only did British police warn Boris Berezovsky that he was an assassination target a month ago, they also warned Maria Litvinenko and Akhmed Zakayev. So it appears that not only was the Kremlin stonewalling the Litvinenko investigation, it was also plotting to commit other Litvinenko-like acts against other British-based Russian dissidents. If true, this would be an act of war by Russia against Britain, and it seems to be true. In the wake of the announcement of these threats, Russia is backing down, seeking raprochment.

Police tracking the would-be killer of business tycoon Boris Berezovsky feared two other London-based Russian dissidents were also assassination targets, The Observer can reveal.

Scotland Yard warned the widow of murdered ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko and the exiled Chechen envoy, Akhmed Zakayev, that there was an increased threat to their personal security shortly before the alleged attempt to kill Berezovsky at the Hilton hotel in Mayfair, London, last month. Police were so concerned they placed a squad of uniformed officers around Zakayev’s house in north London five days before Berezovsky’s alleged assassin was picked up. They also phoned Marina Litvinenko to urge her to take greater security precautions. Berezovsky was told to leave the country for a while after the suspected assassin was flagged entering the UK early last month, a move that saw police take action to protect a number of high-profile critics of the Kremlin living in the UK.

Alexander Goldfarb, a close friend of Alexander Litvinenko and another outspoken critic of the Kremlin, said uniformed officers were outside Zakayev’s house when he attended a party there on 16 June, shortly after arriving with Marina Litvinenko from Hamburg where the two had been promoting their book about the poisoning of the former KGB agent. ‘There were about eight officers outside,’ Goldfarb said. ‘When we asked what was happening we were told there was a security alert. And just after we landed, Marina’s driver said the police had phoned six times to talk to her while she was away. They detained this guy [the alleged assassin] on the twenty-first. It seems they had a lot of intelligence about what was going on and that the attempt to kill Berezovsky wasn’t an isolated event.’

Police fears of a heightened threat to Zakayev and Marina Litvinenko emerged as Berezovsky gave further details of the plot to kill him. In an interview with a Russian news agency, he said he was told the assassin would be someone he knew who would shoot him in the head. ‘He wouldn’t attempt to hide from police, he would explain his actions by saying he had some kind of business claims against me,’ Berezovsky said. ‘In that situation – where a person had alleged business claims, where he didn’t attempt to run away or hide – there’s the possibility that he would be sentenced to 20 years in prison. According to English law, they’ll let you out after 10 years with good behaviour. He would get money [for carrying out the assassination], his family would get money; in other words, he would be completely taken care of. And he wouldn’t be serving his time at [Moscow’s] Matrosskaya prison; he’d be here in an English prison… He could eat well, watch television, exercise, learn a trade.’

The latest lurid claims have again drawn attention to the murky world inhabited by Berezovsky and his London-based acolytes. Moscow has consistently denied having any part in Litvinenko’s death or an assassination attempt against Berezovsky. There is speculation Berezovsky leaked details of the alleged attempt to kill him to the media to antagonise Moscow, once the British authorities had returned the suspected killer to Moscow. There have been reports the man was tracked by the security service, MI5, as he toured London in an ultimately futile attempt to buy a gun only to be arrested by police and handed to immigration officials.

The timing of the story has also been seen as suspicious, coming in the middle of a row over Britain’s attempts to charge a Russian businessman, Andrei Lugovoi, with Litvinenko’s murder. The Russian authorities have refused to hand Lugovoi over, prompting Britain to expel four officials last week. In reply Russia expelled four British diplomats. However, in a sign that Russia wants to calm the increasingly fractious row, foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has suggested the Kremlin now wishes to see a line drawn under the affair. Lavrov told the Interfax news agency: ‘Russia is interested in having relations with Britain brought back to normal.’

Bloodthirsty Kremlin’s Onslaught Against British Dissidents

Contributor Jeremy Putley points out that The Observer now reports that not only did British police warn Boris Berezovsky that he was an assassination target a month ago, they also warned Maria Litvinenko and Akhmed Zakayev. So it appears that not only was the Kremlin stonewalling the Litvinenko investigation, it was also plotting to commit other Litvinenko-like acts against other British-based Russian dissidents. If true, this would be an act of war by Russia against Britain, and it seems to be true. In the wake of the announcement of these threats, Russia is backing down, seeking raprochment.

Police tracking the would-be killer of business tycoon Boris Berezovsky feared two other London-based Russian dissidents were also assassination targets, The Observer can reveal.

Scotland Yard warned the widow of murdered ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko and the exiled Chechen envoy, Akhmed Zakayev, that there was an increased threat to their personal security shortly before the alleged attempt to kill Berezovsky at the Hilton hotel in Mayfair, London, last month. Police were so concerned they placed a squad of uniformed officers around Zakayev’s house in north London five days before Berezovsky’s alleged assassin was picked up. They also phoned Marina Litvinenko to urge her to take greater security precautions. Berezovsky was told to leave the country for a while after the suspected assassin was flagged entering the UK early last month, a move that saw police take action to protect a number of high-profile critics of the Kremlin living in the UK.

Alexander Goldfarb, a close friend of Alexander Litvinenko and another outspoken critic of the Kremlin, said uniformed officers were outside Zakayev’s house when he attended a party there on 16 June, shortly after arriving with Marina Litvinenko from Hamburg where the two had been promoting their book about the poisoning of the former KGB agent. ‘There were about eight officers outside,’ Goldfarb said. ‘When we asked what was happening we were told there was a security alert. And just after we landed, Marina’s driver said the police had phoned six times to talk to her while she was away. They detained this guy [the alleged assassin] on the twenty-first. It seems they had a lot of intelligence about what was going on and that the attempt to kill Berezovsky wasn’t an isolated event.’

Police fears of a heightened threat to Zakayev and Marina Litvinenko emerged as Berezovsky gave further details of the plot to kill him. In an interview with a Russian news agency, he said he was told the assassin would be someone he knew who would shoot him in the head. ‘He wouldn’t attempt to hide from police, he would explain his actions by saying he had some kind of business claims against me,’ Berezovsky said. ‘In that situation – where a person had alleged business claims, where he didn’t attempt to run away or hide – there’s the possibility that he would be sentenced to 20 years in prison. According to English law, they’ll let you out after 10 years with good behaviour. He would get money [for carrying out the assassination], his family would get money; in other words, he would be completely taken care of. And he wouldn’t be serving his time at [Moscow’s] Matrosskaya prison; he’d be here in an English prison… He could eat well, watch television, exercise, learn a trade.’

The latest lurid claims have again drawn attention to the murky world inhabited by Berezovsky and his London-based acolytes. Moscow has consistently denied having any part in Litvinenko’s death or an assassination attempt against Berezovsky. There is speculation Berezovsky leaked details of the alleged attempt to kill him to the media to antagonise Moscow, once the British authorities had returned the suspected killer to Moscow. There have been reports the man was tracked by the security service, MI5, as he toured London in an ultimately futile attempt to buy a gun only to be arrested by police and handed to immigration officials.

The timing of the story has also been seen as suspicious, coming in the middle of a row over Britain’s attempts to charge a Russian businessman, Andrei Lugovoi, with Litvinenko’s murder. The Russian authorities have refused to hand Lugovoi over, prompting Britain to expel four officials last week. In reply Russia expelled four British diplomats. However, in a sign that Russia wants to calm the increasingly fractious row, foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has suggested the Kremlin now wishes to see a line drawn under the affair. Lavrov told the Interfax news agency: ‘Russia is interested in having relations with Britain brought back to normal.’

Lucas on Berezovsky

Edward Lucas on the Berezovsky assassination attempt:

If, as some suspect, this assassination was meant to send a warning signal to Mr Berezovsky to halt his political rabble-rousing against the Kremlin, then it has had precisely the opposite effect. His pronouncements have become increasingly shrill.

He told a British newspaper that he wanted to remove Russia’s rulers “by force” – infuriating the British government. At a recent debate at London’s Frontline club, Mr Berezovsky kept Russia-watchers, journalists, spooks and fellow-emigres transfixed with his demolition of his native country’s lethal fusion of business and political power, enforced by secret police tactics.

But a sardonic intervention from the audience left him – for once – speechless. “You have well described the monster that runs Russia. But it is one that you yourself created.”

Mr Berezovsky’s analysis may indeed be hypocritical, but it is still largely correct. And while he may be a difficult man to admire, if the Russian authorities have indeed tried to kill him, there could be little more convincing proof of the terrifying contempt in which the Kremlin holds our way of life.

Battle Berezovsky

The Beeb reports on a threat against the life of dissident oligarch Boris Berezovsky. BB’s critics may well point out how “convenient” it is that this “threat” emerges just when BB has been indicted for fraud in Brazil. What they won’t notice is just how “convenient” that indictment itself is, coming just when the Kremlin has entered a massive diplomatic conflict with Britain over its refusal to extradite accused Litvinenko killer Andrei Lugovoi. Does the Kremlin have its malignant hooks into the Brazilian government? Or did that government just so happen to decide to move against BB right at the perfect time? A fascinating story is unfolding, to be sure. The European Union has stepped solidly behind Britain in the confrontation. The new cold war has begun. Vladimir Putin has led his country into a battle with NATO, the EU and the USA that it can’t possibly even wage, much less win — in other words, he’s led it to the brink of utter ruin.

Exiled Russian billionaire Boris Berezovsky has claimed British intelligence officers thwarted a plot to kill him.

Mr Berezovsky told the BBC he had been warned about the alleged plot by sources in Russia and Scotland Yard. The Sun newspaper reported that a Russian hitman had been hired to execute him at a London hotel. The claims could further damage Russia-UK relations which are already strained in a row over extradition.

‘Business reasons’

Mr Berezovsky, 61, who lives in London, told BBC Radio Five Live he had received information about the alleged plot from sources in Russia. He said he was told that “someone who you know will come to Britain, he will try to connect to you, and when you meet him he will just kill you and will not try to hide”. The killer would then say the murder was “just because of business reasons”, Mr Berezovsky said. “And in this case he will get 20 years, he will spend just 10 years in jail, he will be released, his family will be paid, he will be paid and so on,” he added. Mr Berezovsky’s spokeswoman said he had been informed of the alleged plot three weeks ago and had been advised to leave the country for a week. The Sun claims Britain’s security services, MI5 and MI6, intercepted intelligence about the plot and the hitman was seized within the last two weeks. Neither police or security officials have commented on the allegations. The Sun’s political editor, George Pascoe-Watson, said it was not clear what had happened to the alleged hitman. “The security surrounding this case is so incredibly tight because of the diplomatic ramifications that we have not yet established where he’s been taken, whether or not he’s been charged, what the situation is,” he told BBC One’s Breakfast.

‘No involvement’

Russia’s ambassador to the UK, Yuri Fedotov, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme there was “nothing that could confirm” the plot. Asked if the Russian government was involved, he said: “It is excluded.” The claims come after Britain expelled four Russian diplomats in the escalating row over the murder of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko. Moscow has refused to hand over the man suspected of the murder – Andrei Lugovoi, another former KGB agent. Mr Lugovoi denies involvement. Russia says it is planning a “targeted and appropriate” response to the expulsions, adding that its constitution prevents it from extraditing its citizens to face trial in another country. Speaking on BBC2’s Newsnight on Tuesday, Mr Berezovsky urged Mr Lugovoi to submit himself for trial in a third country like Germany, Denmark or Norway. Mr Berezovsky added: “Maybe the Russian constitution is against [extradition] but Lugovoi personally, if he wants to clear the situation, he is able to travel anywhere he wants if he feels he is not guilty.” Mr Fedotov later told the BBC Britain’s decision to halt contact with Russia’s Federal Security Service would harm its fight against terror. “So by stopping these contacts, the British authorities are punishing themselves,” he said.

Response ‘considered’

A full statement is expected from Moscow, which has warned Britain to expect “serious consequences”. But the Foreign Office said it had set out its position, adding: “No retaliation on Russia’s behalf is justified.” Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s official spokesman said any formal response from Moscow would be “considered carefully”. Mr Litvinenko died of exposure to radioactive polonium-210 in London in November 2006. The radioactive isotope used to poison him was found in several places that Mr Lugovoi had visited in London. But Mr Lugovoi told Russian television that the outcome of the inquiry had been predetermined. Under the European Convention on Extradition 1957, Russia has the right to refuse the extradition of a citizen. The UK has the right to request Mr Lugovoi be tried in Russia, but the UK’s director of public prosecutions, Sir Ken Macdonald, has already turned down the offer. He recommended Mr Lugovoi be tried for murder by “deliberate poisoning”.

The Associated Press reports that British authorities have already made an arrest. LR dares to wonder how long it will be before the crazed Russophiles try to claim that Berezovsky paid to have himself assassinated just so he could laugh at Putin from the grave.

Police said Wednesday they had arrested a man suspected of plotting to kill Boris Berezovsky, the exiled Russian tycoon and vehement Kremlin critic who is one of the key figures in the escalating tensions between Moscow and London. The Metropolitan Police said the man was arrested June 21 and turned over to immigration authorities two days later. The police did not further identify the man and British immigration officials declined to comment; the Russian Embassy said it had not been notified of such an arrest.

The police statement came hours after Berezovsky said he had fled the country for about a week in mid-June after police warned him his life was in danger. Berezovsky was a close associate of Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB agent who was killed in London last year with a dose of the radioactive isotope polonium-210. Litvinenko, also a harsh Kremlin critic who had received asylum in Britain, alleged in a deathbed statement that Russian President Vladimir Putin was behind his poisoning. Britain named Andrei Lugovoi, a Russian businessman and former KGB agent, as a suspect in the Litvinenko murder and demanded his extradition. Russia refused, saying it is constitutionally prohibited. Britain on Monday said it would expel four Russian diplomats in response to the extradition refusal, and Moscow threatened unspecified strong measures in return.

The dispute marks a new low in Russia-Britain relations, which already had been troubled by Russia’s opposition to the war in Iraq, by Britain’s refusal to extradite Berezovsky to face embezzlement charges and by Moscow’s allegation last year of spying by British diplomats. The alleged plot against Berezovsky is likely to increase widespread suspicion that Russian agents are aiming to wipe out prominent political foes abroad. Russian agents killed a top Chechen separatist leader in 2004 in Qatar, and Russia later passed a law authorizing its forces to act against enemies overseas. “I am happy that the British are very strong in protecting people,” Berezovsky told the British Broadcasting Corp. “I don’t have any chance to be alive, if not for the protection of the state which gave me asylum.”

There was no confirmation that the alleged assassination plot was connected with Berezovsky’s dissident views. He is one of the richest of the so-called “oligarchs” who amassed gargantuan wealth in shadowy privatization deals after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Berezovsky says he would be willing to face the Russian charges against him if the trial were held in a neutral country’s court, and he has suggested Lugovoi consider a similar arrangement. Russia has made no official response to that idea and Britain openly dismisses it. “We want the trial to be in a British court, on British soil,” said Michael Ellam, the spokesman for Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Europe Minister Jim Murphy told the Foreign Affairs select committee Wednesday that Britain had made a targeted and measured response to Russia. Britain’s refusal to extradite Berezovsky, who was granted British citizenship after fleeing Russia, has long angered the Kremlin.

The Foreign Office said in a document Wednesday that relations with Moscow have been “overshadowed by tensions” over asylum granted to Russian dissidents. Moscow has not “fully accepted that these questions are matters of law, not of politics or diplomacy,” said the document, prepared by officials as part of a parliamentary inquiry into Russian-British relations. Berezovsky, a one-time Kremlin insider who has fallen out with Putin, said Wednesday he fled Britain briefly last month because British intelligence services told him his life was in danger. “I was informed by Scotland Yard that there was a plot to kill me, and they recommended to me to leave the country,” Berezovsky told The Associated Press. He said he left Britain for about a week and returned when informed the plot had been foiled. Berezovsky was granted political asylum in Britain in 2003. His visibility has increased since Litvinenko’s murder. Scotland Yard confirmed Berezovsky’s remarks, saying they had arrested a man on suspicion of conspiring to murder the tycoon on June 21. Police said the suspect was handed over to immigration officials two days later. “Berezovsky is a very high-profile critic of the Putin regime, and history does show that it would appear that the Russians are prepared to take action against their critics abroad,” said a MI5 domestic intelligence agency official, who demanded anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence work. The official could not say whether British intelligence services believe Russia has tried to attack dissidents in London since Litvinenko’s murder. But the official confirmed that about 30 Russian spies are believed to be based in London to monitor exiles in the city.

Russian Ambassador Yury Fedotov told BBC radio said the alleged plot to assassinate Berezovsky was “quite strange information, and I have nothing that could confirm it.” He alleged Berezovsky is linked “to many criminal international schemes of money laundering, corruption and organized crime.” Berezovsky said he first learned of the plot through contacts within Russia’s Federal Security Service, the successor agency to the KGB. “They told me that someone I knew would come and kill me openly and present it as a business matter. He would say there was a disagreement over the business,” he said.

Berezovsky Speaks

The BBC show “Hard Talk” sat down with exiled oligarch Boris Berezovsky for a one-on-one 20-minute interview (in English) which you can download and listen to here. It’s a hostile interview, and nobody can claim the reporter is a patsy of the oligarch. Berezovsky calls Putin a “traitor” who used to be his “friend” but breached his trust. He says he is sure Putin ordered the killing of Alexander Litvinenko based on what he was told by the stricken man, who he found reliable based on prior experience. He also states that Polonium could not be used without state involvement and that it is suspicious how Russia protects those accused of the murder by British authority. Attacked by the reporter with the claim that he personally benefited from the killing, Berezovsky calmly points out that Scotland Yard formally investigated the killing and indicated Andrei Lugovoi, whom the Kremlin refuses to produce for trial. Nobody can deny this point; there is no hint of evidence from the British investigators that Berezovsky was involved, and if Lugovoi can implicate him then the Kremlin is protecting Berezovsky from that implication. The reporter seriously mischaracterizes Scotland Yard’s level of interest in Lugovoi, saying that he was only wanted for for questioning, and Berezovsky calmly refutes him.

Confronted with his quoted remark about favoring violent action against Putin, Berezovsky states that there was a “misunderstanding” and that he had indicated “force” in the context of Ukraine and Georgia, where the public refused to accept the imposition of corrupt, anti-democratic regimes. The interviewer points out that there is no basis in Berezovsky’s background to believe that he himself is a true “democrat,” including his “mentoring” of Putin in the early days and his huge profits from oligarchy. Berezovsky wonders what the word “democracy” means in Russia, where in the first four presidential elections the only serious rival to the incumbent was a card-carrying communist. He makes the valid point, emphasized by Yeltsin, that it was necessary to disperse state assets rapidly due to the risk of a return to an authoritarian regime, and nobody can deny that this occurred (nor can they, of course, deny that Berezovsky is fundamentally corrupt — perhaps as corrupt as the current president of Russia). The interviewer claims that “the public wants transparancy” — yet he ignores the fact that Mikhail Khodorkovsky was actively pursuing Western-style transparancy at Yukos when he was arrested on bogus charges and sent to Siberia. Certainly, Putin’s new oil firms that have seized the Yukos assets cannot be claimed by any thinking person to have pursued transparancy. The interviewer points out that Berezovsky has been attacked by the lunatic George Soros, clearly a strong point in his favor (Berezovsky points out that Soros lost money in Russia, and may be a sore loser).

Confronted with Putin’s approval ratings, Berezovsky agrees that Putin has public support. The interviewer questions the legitimacy of attacking Putin given this support, but Berezovsky effectively nullifies this argument, pointing out that the West opposed the USSR despite “elections” where the Communists won huge majorities.

Asked why he does not return to Russia to face Putin’s charges if he is innocent as he claims, Berezovsky, Berezovsky reminds the interviewer that he was granted political asylum in Britain in the first place specifically because the Russian government would not give him justice but rather would persecute him for political reasons.

The interviewer also raises the question of Berezovsky’s financial support for the “Other Russia” coalition, confronting him with the fact that Garry Kasparov has said the organization receives such support from him. Berezovsky does not attempt to claim he has ever directly funded Other Russia. He flatly denies it. In fact, he states that Kasparov asked him for support three years ago and Berezovsky refuse, concluding Kasparov was “not tough enough” to deserve it or to become a national Russian leader. According to an interview with Kommersant, Berezovsky merely told the paper that he merely “finances ‘a number of people who are the Other Russia members,’ and some of them are leaders of the movements that form the coalition. The emigrant refused to name those people, underlining that he “provokes the opposition members on purpose, so that they say the truth themselves.” If one gives money to a firefighter collecting money with his boot at a traffic light, one is not therefore supporting the Republican Party of which that firefighter happens to be a member.

Trial in Absentia: Precedent Established!

Helpfully, the Kremlin has decided to try Boris Berezovsky in absentia for theft:

Self-exiled businessman Boris Berezovsky will be tried in absentia in Moscow and could be jailed for up to 10 years if found guilty of theft from flagship carrier Aeroflot, prosecutors said Friday. Once part of the country’s business and political elite, Berezovsky is now a vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin and a political emigre sheltered by Britain. London has rejected Moscow’s requests to extradite him. “Berezovsky is charged with large-scale theft of company funds worth a total of 214 million rubles [$8.3 million] … and laundering part of the sum stolen from Aeroflot worth over 16 million rubles [$620,000],” the Prosecutor General’s Office said in a statement. Berezovsky’s lawyers said the case was a sham. “We have lodged a request to close the case because it contains no evidence of his guilt,” lawyer Andrei Borovkov was quoted by RIA-Novosti as saying. The Prosecutor General’s Office said the investigation into the theft had been completed and, after Berezovsky’s lawyers had finished reading his criminal case, it would be sent to one of Moscow’s district courts and heard there. “The articles of the Russian Federation’s Criminal Code with which Berezovsky is charged call for a maximum jail term of 10 years,” it added.

This means, of course, that the precedent has now been established so that Andrei Lugovoi can be tried in absentia by Britain, and Vladimir Putin by the International Court of Human Rights, and the Kremlin can’t say a word about it.

Nice move, Russia! We couldn’t have done better ourselves!

Of course, LR can’t help but notice that it’s rather odd for the Kremlin to claim that the Russian Constitution allows the trial of a Russian in absentia but doesn’t allow the extradition of a Russian. Something is definitely wrong somewhere . . .

Berezovsky Speaks on Russia’s Mental State

Writing in the Independent, exiled oligarch Boris Berezovsky delivers an icy blast at the neo-Soviet Kremlin. Blogger Cicero says:

Berezovsky goes straight to the heart of the problem of Putin’s Russia: the failure by Putin to acknowledge that the USSR was a criminal state. The disgusting behaviour of Putin’s Nashi thugs towards the British Ambassador in Moscow reflects the fact that Putin not only feels no shame about the crimes of the Soviet era, he is actually proud of them. The fact that Moscow can continue to launch cyber attacks against Estonia, together with closure of the border and all the other acts of harrassment, simply reflects that Putin’s regime is not one that the West can do business with.

Now, here’s Mr. B, playing the national psychiatrist which Russia oh-so-badly needs (along with a truly ginormous tabletka of lithium, or at least prozac):

WHY MODERN RUSSIA IS IN A STATE OF DENIAL

Last week saw the commemoration of Victory Day in Russia, which remembers the defeat of Nazi Germany in the Second World War. Last month came the upsetting removal of a Soviet war memorial, known as The Bronze Soldier, from the centre of the Estonian capital, Tallinn, to a Russian military cemetery on its outskirts.

These events forced me to revisit aspects of the Soviet Union’s shameful and violent communist past, which now need to be addressed by present-day Russia in order to preserve relations between my motherland and post-communist Eastern Europe.

There are several unquestionable truths that were passed on to the majority of Soviet citizens from their parents. Some were destroyed by the reality of life, but one remained intact and holy: that Soviet soldiers liberated the world from the Nazi plague. That is my belief as well. But on the other hand. . .

The current battles between Russia and Estonia (concerning the reburial of Soviet soldiers’ remains) have much wider significance than just being one more spat between Russia and its former vassals.

The roots of this clash go much deeper than the gas wars against Ukraine (and then Belarus), than the war of wines against Georgia, and deeper even than Russia’s struggle against the deployment of US missile defence elements in Eastern Europe.

The fundamental cause of this conflict lies in the main unsolved issue of modern Russia: the denial by the Kremlin, and by President Vladimir Putin, of the Soviet regime’s criminal nature.

Objectively, this issue was inherited by President Putin from former president Yeltsin. Boris Yeltsin undoubtedly made several mistakes, some of which are the favourite theme of his detractors. They all, however, stay silent about the two main mistakes of Russia’s first president.

First, Yeltsin lacked the will (or, maybe, the courage) to indict the communist regime as a criminal one – no less so than the Nazi regime, with all the resulting consequences for the communists themselves, and for their vanguard, the Soviet secret police. Second, Yeltsin also failed to lead Russia to repentance, to make every Russian acknowledge his own responsibility for the crimes of the communist regime. Without repentance, however, those who were oppressed and raped by Russia, such as Estonia and the other Baltic states, will never trust it again.

It is not just that Putin has not corrected these mistakes, he has actually brushed aside the idea of repentance altogether. The return of the Soviet national anthem for Russia points to the Kremlin’s outdated view of Russia and its place in the modern world.

On top of that, playing the Soviet anthem during Yeltsin’s funeral was a particularly elaborate way of abusing the memory of a man who bestowed freedom upon Russia, and others beside it.

It is a well-known historical fact that the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany constituted a replacement of Nazi oppression with Communist enslavement for Eastern European countries – an enslavement that lasted for 45 years, far longer than Nazism. Therefore, the defeat that Putin’s Russia is now suffering in Estonia will soon reverberate around Poland, Hungary, Latvia, and other places where the crimes of the Communist Party and KGB were duly appraised. Thus, the cause of the abuse of our soldiers’ graves is not the bad behaviour of the Estonian government, but the very denial of historical truth by the Kremlin.

So, who is the Soviet Soldier, really – a liberator or an enslaver? The answer to this question can be given only by the people of Russia. If we will not repent, he will remain the enslaver. And if repentance comes, he will be an honest but misguided soldier. May that memory be blessed forever.

Berezovsky Speaks on Russia’s Mental State

Writing in the Independent, exiled oligarch Boris Berezovsky delivers an icy blast at the neo-Soviet Kremlin. Blogger Cicero says:

Berezovsky goes straight to the heart of the problem of Putin’s Russia: the failure by Putin to acknowledge that the USSR was a criminal state. The disgusting behaviour of Putin’s Nashi thugs towards the British Ambassador in Moscow reflects the fact that Putin not only feels no shame about the crimes of the Soviet era, he is actually proud of them. The fact that Moscow can continue to launch cyber attacks against Estonia, together with closure of the border and all the other acts of harrassment, simply reflects that Putin’s regime is not one that the West can do business with.

Now, here’s Mr. B, playing the national psychiatrist which Russia oh-so-badly needs (along with a truly ginormous tabletka of lithium, or at least prozac):

WHY MODERN RUSSIA IS IN A STATE OF DENIAL

Last week saw the commemoration of Victory Day in Russia, which remembers the defeat of Nazi Germany in the Second World War. Last month came the upsetting removal of a Soviet war memorial, known as The Bronze Soldier, from the centre of the Estonian capital, Tallinn, to a Russian military cemetery on its outskirts.

These events forced me to revisit aspects of the Soviet Union’s shameful and violent communist past, which now need to be addressed by present-day Russia in order to preserve relations between my motherland and post-communist Eastern Europe.

There are several unquestionable truths that were passed on to the majority of Soviet citizens from their parents. Some were destroyed by the reality of life, but one remained intact and holy: that Soviet soldiers liberated the world from the Nazi plague. That is my belief as well. But on the other hand. . .

The current battles between Russia and Estonia (concerning the reburial of Soviet soldiers’ remains) have much wider significance than just being one more spat between Russia and its former vassals.

The roots of this clash go much deeper than the gas wars against Ukraine (and then Belarus), than the war of wines against Georgia, and deeper even than Russia’s struggle against the deployment of US missile defence elements in Eastern Europe.

The fundamental cause of this conflict lies in the main unsolved issue of modern Russia: the denial by the Kremlin, and by President Vladimir Putin, of the Soviet regime’s criminal nature.

Objectively, this issue was inherited by President Putin from former president Yeltsin. Boris Yeltsin undoubtedly made several mistakes, some of which are the favourite theme of his detractors. They all, however, stay silent about the two main mistakes of Russia’s first president.

First, Yeltsin lacked the will (or, maybe, the courage) to indict the communist regime as a criminal one – no less so than the Nazi regime, with all the resulting consequences for the communists themselves, and for their vanguard, the Soviet secret police. Second, Yeltsin also failed to lead Russia to repentance, to make every Russian acknowledge his own responsibility for the crimes of the communist regime. Without repentance, however, those who were oppressed and raped by Russia, such as Estonia and the other Baltic states, will never trust it again.

It is not just that Putin has not corrected these mistakes, he has actually brushed aside the idea of repentance altogether. The return of the Soviet national anthem for Russia points to the Kremlin’s outdated view of Russia and its place in the modern world.

On top of that, playing the Soviet anthem during Yeltsin’s funeral was a particularly elaborate way of abusing the memory of a man who bestowed freedom upon Russia, and others beside it.

It is a well-known historical fact that the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany constituted a replacement of Nazi oppression with Communist enslavement for Eastern European countries – an enslavement that lasted for 45 years, far longer than Nazism. Therefore, the defeat that Putin’s Russia is now suffering in Estonia will soon reverberate around Poland, Hungary, Latvia, and other places where the crimes of the Communist Party and KGB were duly appraised. Thus, the cause of the abuse of our soldiers’ graves is not the bad behaviour of the Estonian government, but the very denial of historical truth by the Kremlin.

So, who is the Soviet Soldier, really – a liberator or an enslaver? The answer to this question can be given only by the people of Russia. If we will not repent, he will remain the enslaver. And if repentance comes, he will be an honest but misguided soldier. May that memory be blessed forever.

Berezovsky Speaks on Russia’s Mental State

Writing in the Independent, exiled oligarch Boris Berezovsky delivers an icy blast at the neo-Soviet Kremlin. Blogger Cicero says:

Berezovsky goes straight to the heart of the problem of Putin’s Russia: the failure by Putin to acknowledge that the USSR was a criminal state. The disgusting behaviour of Putin’s Nashi thugs towards the British Ambassador in Moscow reflects the fact that Putin not only feels no shame about the crimes of the Soviet era, he is actually proud of them. The fact that Moscow can continue to launch cyber attacks against Estonia, together with closure of the border and all the other acts of harrassment, simply reflects that Putin’s regime is not one that the West can do business with.

Now, here’s Mr. B, playing the national psychiatrist which Russia oh-so-badly needs (along with a truly ginormous tabletka of lithium, or at least prozac):

WHY MODERN RUSSIA IS IN A STATE OF DENIAL

Last week saw the commemoration of Victory Day in Russia, which remembers the defeat of Nazi Germany in the Second World War. Last month came the upsetting removal of a Soviet war memorial, known as The Bronze Soldier, from the centre of the Estonian capital, Tallinn, to a Russian military cemetery on its outskirts.

These events forced me to revisit aspects of the Soviet Union’s shameful and violent communist past, which now need to be addressed by present-day Russia in order to preserve relations between my motherland and post-communist Eastern Europe.

There are several unquestionable truths that were passed on to the majority of Soviet citizens from their parents. Some were destroyed by the reality of life, but one remained intact and holy: that Soviet soldiers liberated the world from the Nazi plague. That is my belief as well. But on the other hand. . .

The current battles between Russia and Estonia (concerning the reburial of Soviet soldiers’ remains) have much wider significance than just being one more spat between Russia and its former vassals.

The roots of this clash go much deeper than the gas wars against Ukraine (and then Belarus), than the war of wines against Georgia, and deeper even than Russia’s struggle against the deployment of US missile defence elements in Eastern Europe.

The fundamental cause of this conflict lies in the main unsolved issue of modern Russia: the denial by the Kremlin, and by President Vladimir Putin, of the Soviet regime’s criminal nature.

Objectively, this issue was inherited by President Putin from former president Yeltsin. Boris Yeltsin undoubtedly made several mistakes, some of which are the favourite theme of his detractors. They all, however, stay silent about the two main mistakes of Russia’s first president.

First, Yeltsin lacked the will (or, maybe, the courage) to indict the communist regime as a criminal one – no less so than the Nazi regime, with all the resulting consequences for the communists themselves, and for their vanguard, the Soviet secret police. Second, Yeltsin also failed to lead Russia to repentance, to make every Russian acknowledge his own responsibility for the crimes of the communist regime. Without repentance, however, those who were oppressed and raped by Russia, such as Estonia and the other Baltic states, will never trust it again.

It is not just that Putin has not corrected these mistakes, he has actually brushed aside the idea of repentance altogether. The return of the Soviet national anthem for Russia points to the Kremlin’s outdated view of Russia and its place in the modern world.

On top of that, playing the Soviet anthem during Yeltsin’s funeral was a particularly elaborate way of abusing the memory of a man who bestowed freedom upon Russia, and others beside it.

It is a well-known historical fact that the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany constituted a replacement of Nazi oppression with Communist enslavement for Eastern European countries – an enslavement that lasted for 45 years, far longer than Nazism. Therefore, the defeat that Putin’s Russia is now suffering in Estonia will soon reverberate around Poland, Hungary, Latvia, and other places where the crimes of the Communist Party and KGB were duly appraised. Thus, the cause of the abuse of our soldiers’ graves is not the bad behaviour of the Estonian government, but the very denial of historical truth by the Kremlin.

So, who is the Soviet Soldier, really – a liberator or an enslaver? The answer to this question can be given only by the people of Russia. If we will not repent, he will remain the enslaver. And if repentance comes, he will be an honest but misguided soldier. May that memory be blessed forever.

Berezovsky Speaks on Russia’s Mental State

Writing in the Independent, exiled oligarch Boris Berezovsky delivers an icy blast at the neo-Soviet Kremlin. Blogger Cicero says:

Berezovsky goes straight to the heart of the problem of Putin’s Russia: the failure by Putin to acknowledge that the USSR was a criminal state. The disgusting behaviour of Putin’s Nashi thugs towards the British Ambassador in Moscow reflects the fact that Putin not only feels no shame about the crimes of the Soviet era, he is actually proud of them. The fact that Moscow can continue to launch cyber attacks against Estonia, together with closure of the border and all the other acts of harrassment, simply reflects that Putin’s regime is not one that the West can do business with.

Now, here’s Mr. B, playing the national psychiatrist which Russia oh-so-badly needs (along with a truly ginormous tabletka of lithium, or at least prozac):

WHY MODERN RUSSIA IS IN A STATE OF DENIAL

Last week saw the commemoration of Victory Day in Russia, which remembers the defeat of Nazi Germany in the Second World War. Last month came the upsetting removal of a Soviet war memorial, known as The Bronze Soldier, from the centre of the Estonian capital, Tallinn, to a Russian military cemetery on its outskirts.

These events forced me to revisit aspects of the Soviet Union’s shameful and violent communist past, which now need to be addressed by present-day Russia in order to preserve relations between my motherland and post-communist Eastern Europe.

There are several unquestionable truths that were passed on to the majority of Soviet citizens from their parents. Some were destroyed by the reality of life, but one remained intact and holy: that Soviet soldiers liberated the world from the Nazi plague. That is my belief as well. But on the other hand. . .

The current battles between Russia and Estonia (concerning the reburial of Soviet soldiers’ remains) have much wider significance than just being one more spat between Russia and its former vassals.

The roots of this clash go much deeper than the gas wars against Ukraine (and then Belarus), than the war of wines against Georgia, and deeper even than Russia’s struggle against the deployment of US missile defence elements in Eastern Europe.

The fundamental cause of this conflict lies in the main unsolved issue of modern Russia: the denial by the Kremlin, and by President Vladimir Putin, of the Soviet regime’s criminal nature.

Objectively, this issue was inherited by President Putin from former president Yeltsin. Boris Yeltsin undoubtedly made several mistakes, some of which are the favourite theme of his detractors. They all, however, stay silent about the two main mistakes of Russia’s first president.

First, Yeltsin lacked the will (or, maybe, the courage) to indict the communist regime as a criminal one – no less so than the Nazi regime, with all the resulting consequences for the communists themselves, and for their vanguard, the Soviet secret police. Second, Yeltsin also failed to lead Russia to repentance, to make every Russian acknowledge his own responsibility for the crimes of the communist regime. Without repentance, however, those who were oppressed and raped by Russia, such as Estonia and the other Baltic states, will never trust it again.

It is not just that Putin has not corrected these mistakes, he has actually brushed aside the idea of repentance altogether. The return of the Soviet national anthem for Russia points to the Kremlin’s outdated view of Russia and its place in the modern world.

On top of that, playing the Soviet anthem during Yeltsin’s funeral was a particularly elaborate way of abusing the memory of a man who bestowed freedom upon Russia, and others beside it.

It is a well-known historical fact that the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany constituted a replacement of Nazi oppression with Communist enslavement for Eastern European countries – an enslavement that lasted for 45 years, far longer than Nazism. Therefore, the defeat that Putin’s Russia is now suffering in Estonia will soon reverberate around Poland, Hungary, Latvia, and other places where the crimes of the Communist Party and KGB were duly appraised. Thus, the cause of the abuse of our soldiers’ graves is not the bad behaviour of the Estonian government, but the very denial of historical truth by the Kremlin.

So, who is the Soviet Soldier, really – a liberator or an enslaver? The answer to this question can be given only by the people of Russia. If we will not repent, he will remain the enslaver. And if repentance comes, he will be an honest but misguided soldier. May that memory be blessed forever.

Berezovsky Speaks on Russia’s Mental State

Writing in the Independent, exiled oligarch Boris Berezovsky delivers an icy blast at the neo-Soviet Kremlin. Blogger Cicero says:

Berezovsky goes straight to the heart of the problem of Putin’s Russia: the failure by Putin to acknowledge that the USSR was a criminal state. The disgusting behaviour of Putin’s Nashi thugs towards the British Ambassador in Moscow reflects the fact that Putin not only feels no shame about the crimes of the Soviet era, he is actually proud of them. The fact that Moscow can continue to launch cyber attacks against Estonia, together with closure of the border and all the other acts of harrassment, simply reflects that Putin’s regime is not one that the West can do business with.

Now, here’s Mr. B, playing the national psychiatrist which Russia oh-so-badly needs (along with a truly ginormous tabletka of lithium, or at least prozac):

WHY MODERN RUSSIA IS IN A STATE OF DENIAL

Last week saw the commemoration of Victory Day in Russia, which remembers the defeat of Nazi Germany in the Second World War. Last month came the upsetting removal of a Soviet war memorial, known as The Bronze Soldier, from the centre of the Estonian capital, Tallinn, to a Russian military cemetery on its outskirts.

These events forced me to revisit aspects of the Soviet Union’s shameful and violent communist past, which now need to be addressed by present-day Russia in order to preserve relations between my motherland and post-communist Eastern Europe.

There are several unquestionable truths that were passed on to the majority of Soviet citizens from their parents. Some were destroyed by the reality of life, but one remained intact and holy: that Soviet soldiers liberated the world from the Nazi plague. That is my belief as well. But on the other hand. . .

The current battles between Russia and Estonia (concerning the reburial of Soviet soldiers’ remains) have much wider significance than just being one more spat between Russia and its former vassals.

The roots of this clash go much deeper than the gas wars against Ukraine (and then Belarus), than the war of wines against Georgia, and deeper even than Russia’s struggle against the deployment of US missile defence elements in Eastern Europe.

The fundamental cause of this conflict lies in the main unsolved issue of modern Russia: the denial by the Kremlin, and by President Vladimir Putin, of the Soviet regime’s criminal nature.

Objectively, this issue was inherited by President Putin from former president Yeltsin. Boris Yeltsin undoubtedly made several mistakes, some of which are the favourite theme of his detractors. They all, however, stay silent about the two main mistakes of Russia’s first president.

First, Yeltsin lacked the will (or, maybe, the courage) to indict the communist regime as a criminal one – no less so than the Nazi regime, with all the resulting consequences for the communists themselves, and for their vanguard, the Soviet secret police. Second, Yeltsin also failed to lead Russia to repentance, to make every Russian acknowledge his own responsibility for the crimes of the communist regime. Without repentance, however, those who were oppressed and raped by Russia, such as Estonia and the other Baltic states, will never trust it again.

It is not just that Putin has not corrected these mistakes, he has actually brushed aside the idea of repentance altogether. The return of the Soviet national anthem for Russia points to the Kremlin’s outdated view of Russia and its place in the modern world.

On top of that, playing the Soviet anthem during Yeltsin’s funeral was a particularly elaborate way of abusing the memory of a man who bestowed freedom upon Russia, and others beside it.

It is a well-known historical fact that the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany constituted a replacement of Nazi oppression with Communist enslavement for Eastern European countries – an enslavement that lasted for 45 years, far longer than Nazism. Therefore, the defeat that Putin’s Russia is now suffering in Estonia will soon reverberate around Poland, Hungary, Latvia, and other places where the crimes of the Communist Party and KGB were duly appraised. Thus, the cause of the abuse of our soldiers’ graves is not the bad behaviour of the Estonian government, but the very denial of historical truth by the Kremlin.

So, who is the Soviet Soldier, really – a liberator or an enslaver? The answer to this question can be given only by the people of Russia. If we will not repent, he will remain the enslaver. And if repentance comes, he will be an honest but misguided soldier. May that memory be blessed forever.

Comparing Berezovsky and Trotsky

Andrei Piontkovsky, a Russian journalist and a visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute Andrei Piontovsky offers the following analysis in Insight magazine which suggests that when Putin condemns Berezovsky he is really condemning himself, implying they are father and son, and comparing Berezovsky with Trotsky:

The former Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky has told the British daily, The Guardian, he is plotting the violent overthrow of President Vladimir Putin from his base in Britain after forging close contacts with members of Russia’s ruling elite.

In his April 13th interview, the multi-millionaire claimed he was already bankrolling people close to the president who are conspiring to mount a palace coup.

“We need to use force to change the regime,” he said. “It isn’t possible to change this regime through democratic means. There can be no change without force, pressure.” Asked if he was effectively fomenting a revolution, Berezovsky said: “You are absolutely correct.”

In the 1930s, Leon Trotsky repeated, in numerous interviews for Western newspapers and radio stations, that he had a vast number of supporters in the Soviet Union, including military personnel, secret policemen and members of the top echelons of the administrative apparatus of the Communist Party. These, he claimed, included many who had earlier fought against Trotskyism. “Every day I am directly and indirectly in contact with very many people who are persuaded of the necessity of replacing the Stalin regime and that it is impossible to remove Stalin from power by means of intra-party democracy,” one of the seminal leaders of the October 1917 Bolshevik Revolution confided.

It is difficult to judge how far these claims were based on delusion and how far they were based on cynical political and psychological calculations.

To be sure, many top dogs in the Russian Communist establishment at the time were giving vent to their disgruntlement in private. But most probably Trotsky harbored few illusions regarding the Soviet establishment. On the other hand, he was fully acquainted with the paranoid psychology of the man he so recklessly underestimated when describing him as the “most outstanding mediocrity in our Party”—Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Having deliberately set up the entire Soviet “elite” (military personnel, secret policemen, etc.), Trotsky supposed that the repressions unleashed by the paranoid dictator would be so monstrous in scope that they would detonate an explosion of outrage which would then sweep away Stalin’s regime.

The first part of Trotsky’s prognosis proved accurate. But the follow-up forcible overthrow of Stalin somehow did not follow. In the show trials, the elite corroborated in great and imaginative detail everything Comrade Trotsky had trumpeted urbi et orbi and then and with a sense of having performed their duty to the Party, they climbed the scaffold with cries of “Long live Comrade Stalin!” The final chord in this heroic symphony was the blow struck with an alpenstock by Ramón Mercader, Hero of the Soviet Union, at Trotsky’s head.

Seventy years have passed and, as in Hegel’s bad infinity, we hear once more, only now from London, those same words: “Military, business circles and the secret services, an enormous number of supporters, for the past year and a half we have been preparing a forcible seizure of power.”

What are we to make of Berezovsky’s megalomaniacal stream of consciousness? This time there is no possibility of delusion. Trotsky created the Red Army, not just several financial pyramids like Berezovsky. Trotsky did have some loyal supporters. Berezovsky has none and never could have and he knows it.

So what does that leave? If our supreme leader was able to believe on February 23, 2004 in a conspiracy to seize power, and possibly also assassinate our Most August Ruler, and that the author of this plan was the exceedingly mild-mannered Mikhail Kasianov, why should he not believe in a ramified conspiracy among these elites, orchestrated from abroad by the fugitive oligarch behind whom there stand, needless to say, those familiar “traditional, powerful and dangerous enemies of Russia who dream of weakening and dismembering her”?

The Kremlin provocateurs and propagandists do not have to invent anything in order to scare either their boss or society. Boris Berezovsky obligingly offers them all the arguments they could possibly need, once more dazzlingly confirming my characterization of him on the pages of Grani on his 60th birthday: “For the past six years, Berezovsky has been acting as an extremely valuable foreign agent for Putin by trying to ‘head,’ and thereby discrediting, any opposition to Putin’s regime.”

Finally, let us note a strange aberration in the political mindset of such exceptional people as Trotsky and Berezovsky. Did Trotsky, who undoubtedly passionately desired to see Stalin removed, really not understand that the overthrow of Stalin’s Communist regime would put him, along with all the other “Old Bolsheviks,” in the dock, where they would have to answer, not just for fictitious crimes dreamed up by Stalin, but for the entirely real crimes against humanity that were committed in the course of the civil war they unleashed on Russia?

At my instigation, a call has been inserted in the program of the Yabloko Party for the “removal from power of the Putin regime by all possible constitutional means.” We will attempt to do this for many reasons, not least to enable a trial to take place in Russia of all those guilty of organizing the series of outrages which led to the second Chechen war: Chechen warlord Shamil Basaev’s raid on Dagestan, the blowing up of apartment blocks (with their occupants) in Moscow and Volgodonsk, FSB “exercises” in the basement of an apartment block in Ryazan, among many others.

Once he was in emigration, Berezovsky began claiming, and clearly knew what he was talking about, that these explosions were the work not of Chechens but of the Russian authorities. In the process, he omitted to mention who was effectively ruling Russia in the autumn of 1999. The highest authority in the land was the team in charge of “Operation Successor,” (Berezovsky, Voloshin, Yumashev, Diachenko) who were acting on behalf of an incapable President Boris Yeltsin. By means of the incursion of Basaev and Hattab in Dagestan, the blowing up of apartments in Russian cities, and the destructive war in Chechnya, they and their television hit men ushered into the presidency a certain Vladimir Putin. At the time, Putin was totally unknown and unable to take any independent decisions. Their aim was to avert a takeover of the Kremlin by the rival clan of Luzhkov and Primakov, which threatened their business interests.

The shameful secret of how the Putin regime was conceived binds Putin and Berezovsky together with a single chain. It seems strange that they fail to understand this. Or perhaps they know it full well, and that is why they pass the ball to each other so deftly.