Monday, December 27, 2010

In Defense of an Oil Baron?

Is it necessary to protest against the guilty verdict announced by a Russian court against Mikhail Khodorkovsky in Moscow today? After all, he is super wealthy, certainly took advantage of every possibility to line his pockets available, but he is an opponent of Putin and has already been in prison for seven years awaiting the outcome of this trial on charges of embezzlement. Mr. Putin, only a few days ago, called him "a thief who belongs in jail", which is quite an impartial pronouncement from a Russian premier only a few day prior to the (postponed, for that reason?) announcement of the verdict.
Now we can all wait who knows how long for the other shoe to drop: the sentence, which will be the next indication of whether justice in Russia is possible these days.
Mr. Putin had earlier, back in 2000, warned Mikhail that he could keep his holdings if he did not interfere with the Kremlin and stayed out of politics. Mikhail Khodorkovsky did not stay out of politics and has therefore been staying in prison for quite some time.
Mr. Medvedev should sieze the opportunity to demonstrate the capacity of Russia to achieve and promote justice with independent courts, or, if necessary, with a presidential pardon or commutation of the sentence, whenever it finally comes.
And when WikiLeaks releases documents on the involvment of prosecution and judges in this case with Putin and his election and governmental machine, I will be sure to read them and all analyses true journalists provide of them.
Come on, Mother Russia, join the world of justice!

Imprisoned Russian Oil Tycoon Is Convicted Again
The New York Times, by CLIFFORD J. LEVY and ANDREW E. KRAMER, Published: December 27, 2010
Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky was found guilty Monday on embezzlement charges in a case seen as a sign of the Kremlin’s control of the justice system.

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