Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:
Some of Russia’s largest and fattest rats are starting to flee the country’s sinking ship. Take, for example, Rosneft, which signed an agreement in January to exchange shares with BP, or Novatek, which sold 12 percent of its shares to the French company Total in February.
Given the individuals involved in these transactions and the fact that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was directly involved in both, the agreements look like an attempt by Russia’s ruling elite to create a financial cushion in the event that the Libyan or Egyptian scenario plays out in Russia.
The heroic Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:
The smell of February is lingering in the air — February 1917, that is.
I am not talking about the revolutions in the Middle East but about Russia’s extraordinarily weak leaders and the growing contempt that the leading public figures and ordinary citizens are showing toward them.
Look how quickly the seemingly ironclad vertical power structure can evaporate into thin air. For example, Bolshoi prima-turned-celebrity Anastasia Volochkova had no qualms about publicly thumbing her nose at United Russia when she quit the party after revealing that she was “tricked” into signing a group letter in support of prosecuting former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky. In the 1970s, no Soviet citizen would have even thought about snubbing the Communist Party.
An editorial in the Moscow Times:
A February ruling by Judge Tatyana Adamova of Moscow’s Savyolovsky District Court must go down as among the most absurd in Russian history.
Adamova presided over the defamation case brought by opposition leaders Vladimir Ryzhkov, Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Milov against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who in answer to the question “What do Nemtsov, Ryzhkov, Milov really want?” on his December live television call-in show said: “Money and power. … In the ’90s, they stole billions of dollars.”
This is an outlandish and reckless claim that previously had never been alleged — except perhaps by a few crackpot bloggers on LiveJournal — much less proven.
Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times, asks why her countrymen are so pathetically spineless:
In an interview with Gazeta.ru, Natalya Vasilyeva, assistant to Judge Viktor Danilkin in the second criminal case against former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, said Danilkin had to obtain approval from the Moscow City Court — and higher — for each of his actions, and that the city court wrote the verdict that Danilkin read at the trial.
There were two surprising things about the interview with Vasilyeva. The first is her claim that Danilkin considered the process unjust and was out of sorts as a result. If that is true, it is unexpected because people tend to rationalize their actions. I find it hard to believe that the average NKVD officer really considered himself an inhumane executioner, despite the historical record showing him to be exactly that.
The second is that, if Vasilyeva spoke the truth, it is amazing how easily Danilkin buckled under pressure and sold out his ideals. After all, what would have happened to him if he had acquitted Khodorkovsky?