Anne Applebaum, writing in the Washington Post, explains why the Kremlin feels strong enough to ignore the law and extend Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s sentence illegally:
The judge had already postponed the verdict without explanation (“The court does not explain itself,” said a spokesman). Before reading it, he barred journalists and the defendant’s family from the courtroom. No one should have been surprised, therefore, when Mikhail Khodorkovsky – the Russian oil baron who once defied the Kremlin – received a further six years in prison last week, on top of the eight he’s served. This time, he was sentenced for “stealing” an impossible quantity of oil, the same oil he has already been accused of selling without paying taxes.