Susanne Scholl, Moscow Bureau Chief for Austrian Public Television, writing in the Moscow Times:
Colonel Yury Budanov is a convicted rapist and murderer. After serving half of his 10-year prison sentence for the rape and murder of an 18-year-old Chechen, Elza Kungayeva, he was released in January on parole for good behavior.
Svetlana Bakhmina worked as a lawyer for former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky. In 2004, she was arrested and sentenced in 2006 to 6 1/2 years on embezzlement and tax fraud charges. Like Budanov, she applied for early release from prison in 2008. Her request was refused, as was her earlier plea in 2006 to suspend her sentence until her two small sons reached the age of 14 — a request she was entitled to make under Russian law.
Svetlana Bakhmina with her children
First Russian “president” Dima Medvedev sits down with Kremlin foe Novaya Gazeta and now the Kremlin has released Khodorkovsky attorney Svetlana Bakhmina, who will walk out of prison almost three years to the day after she was sentenced to six for fraud.
Nothing could better prove how desperate the Kremlin is becoming to deflect criticism as the Russian economy faces a relentless tsunami of bad news. Unemployment is soaring, inflation is doing the same, and Russia is caught in a merciless vortex of finanical hardship that the KGB thugs who rule Russia simply have no idea how to correct.
Svetlana Bakhmina, in Kremlin custody
A note from the translator: Yuliya Latynina is a great columnist with the requisite gifts of perception and clear-sightedness and the ability to write straightforwardly. This is very noticeable when one translates things. Some texts just flow from the Russian through the keyboard into English, others are a struggle. Milov, for example, is much harder to translate than Yuliya. It’s not a matter of subjects, it’s a matter of good thinking and expression. I see it the other way round too — I can read a free translation of an Economist article out loud to my wife [the Economist has strict style standards] but pieces from other journals are always harder. Translateability, therefore, can be a measure of the excellence of the author. Yuliya ranks high.
A note from the editor: You can sign a petition to call for Bakhmina’s freedom here. A second piece about Bakhmina’s plight from the same Russian source follows Latynina’s.
First she did not Apply
and Secondly she Withdrew the Application
31 October 2008
Translated from the Russian by Dave Essel
Cops flag down a black Mercedes on Kutuzovsky Prospekt. They find a body with a bullet in its head in the trunk. “What’s all this, then?’ they ask. “Well, our friend here committed suicide and we’re on our way to bury him,” answers the driver. “And why’s he got a soldering iron up his rectum?” “Oh, that was the deceased’s last wish.”
I was reminded of this wonderful anekdot [TN: the Russian анекдот is so special it does not deserve to be translated by the word ‘joke’] when I saw the Kremlin’s reaction to Svetlana Bakhmina’s request for release on parole. The Kremlin said she had made no such application. The camp authorities said she had withdrawn her application. As for Bakhmina herself, not even her lawyers are able to get in touch with here – she’s been hidden away in hospital.
Isn’t that just typical of those liberal swine: they raise Cain in support of Bakhmina but she never even asked for parole and in any case has rescinded her request!