Tag Archives: Khodorkovsky

Khodorkovsky, Modern Dreyfus Affair?

Michael Khodokovsky was once a billionaire who wielded great power in Russia until he ran directly into the ire of then President Vladmir Putin who brooked no denial of his absolute power. The former Yukos CEO was tried on trumped up charges, convicted and sent off to Siberia. His basic crime had nothing to do with financial transactions as much as for daring to support political opponents of Putin. Khodorkovsky is back in court now charged with stealing 350 million tons of oil, and, once again the court is stacked against any form of fair trial. Sberbank CEO Gefrman Gref appeared in court to defend Khodorkovsky since at the time of the alleged crime he headed the Economic Development and Trade Ministry. “If such an embezzlement had taken place, I would have been aware of the fact” he told the court. Within moments of giving testimony he literally fled from the court and even left his glasses on a table. Gref knows only too well what happens to anyone who dares crossing Putin and endeavored to distance himself from the alleged crimes.

Mikhail Kasyanov, who served as prime minister from 2000-2004 says the entire case is politically motivated. Former Central Bank chief Vicktor Gerashchenko termed the charges, “utter crap.” Putin is using a Jewish industrial leader who dared to support political opponents to draw upon latent anti-Semitism in order to smear anyone who dares to advocate real democracy in Russia.

Is There Rule Of Law In Russia?

Dimitry Medvedev upon assuming the presidency promised the Russian people that law would be respected, but the second trial of former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky raises questions about the accuracy of that promise. Khodorkovsky challenged Medvedev to carry out the promise of an honest judiciary and create independent courts or face the prospect that people eventually will protest in the streets. He charged in court that he had been “deprived of my right to know what I am being accused of,” because the charges are vague. He has also been denied the right to have his former chief financial officer to be allowed to testify on his behalf.

Naturally, prosecutors once again trotted out charges about conspiracies and plots because in Putin Russia if an individual believes in law that means he is, by definition, involved in some sort of plot.

Is Russia A Democracy?

The essence of a democracy is the right of individuals to express their views and to participate in the political arena without concern they will be subject to punishment for opposing the official government. Mikhail Khodorkovsky was a famous and wealthy man who came to the conclusion he had to enter the political arena and pursue the quest to establish a democratic society in his beloved Russia. However, then President Putin was frightened that someone had financial resources to run in an election that might result in gaining victory. Since Putin ran Russia and controlled the judiciary, he had charges brought against his opponent and not only sent him to jail but took over his corporation.

President Dimitry Medvedev, a former lawyer, has promised to end corruption in the Russian judiciary. His real test case is the new trial of Khodorkovsky which shortly will begin in Moscow. If the former business leader is again convicted it sends a message that Russia does not have an independent judiciary. What will Medvedev do?

Putin’s Revenge Never Halts

Once upon a time in the land of Putin, there was a man who had made billions in business and then decided to turn his attention to the needs of his nation by engaging in the world of politics. Little did he realize that in Putin Russia, the man in charge decides who runs or does not run for the office of presidency and having a wealthy businessman place his name in opposition to the supreme leader of the land simply would not do. Mikhail Khodorkovsky who had created the Yukos oil company soon found himself arrested on bogus charges of criminal activity in the world of business and after a speedy trial sent off to Siberia to enjoy the wealth of that region from the inside of a jail.

He has been serving an eight year prison term and his request for a pardon was not only turned down but new charges have been level against him for embezzlement and grand theft. Most probably the only thing Mr. Kodorkovsky has stolen is a moment of freedom of expression and a desire to run for the presidency against the supreme leader and all wise man who runs Russia.

Russian Liberal Punished In Jail

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the jailed Russian businessman who had the temerity to actually try forming a political party that might oppose the Putin way of running Russia, has been placed in solitary confinement in a Siberian prison for giving an interview to the Russian version of Esquire magazine. Khodorkovsky made millions in the world of business and then turned to the field of politics where he hoped to found a political party that would fight to restore the original principles of freedom that arose with the overthrow of the Soviet Union. He is currently in jail and will most probably face new charges of money laundering and embezzlement.

His lawyers are convinced the punishment is not so much for giving an interview but simply another form of humiliation for a brave man who believes in freedom. President Medvedev, a former lawyer, promised on taking office he would restore principles of law and due process to the nation. He might begin by freeing Khodorkovsky.

Medvedev Challenged To Defend Independent Judiciary

President Dimitry Medvedev on assuming office promised the people of Russia he would make certain the court system of the nation was truly independent and free from government control. He is now being challenged to transform words into action. Former Yukos CEO, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was arrested on trumped up charges by former President Putin, and then sentenced to eight years in prison for having the audacity to challenge Putin in a possible race for the presidency, is now asking the courts for a parole after having served half of his sentence. About 50% of non-violent prisoners are released at this point in their prison sentence.

Yury Schmidt, lawyer for Khodorkovsky, is leading the legal battle to free his client. He commented, “If(Medvedev) succeeds in achieving the independence of the courts, it won’t just be reform, but a revolution.” The case will be an indication if President Medvedev is able to carry through on promises to end court control by government. It will also be a test case if he is able to act in an independent manner on a case which challenges the desires of his mentor in life– Putin. After all, medvedev did not put Khodorkovsky in jail.

Khodorkovsky Release Urged By Human Rights Groups

Today marks the 45th birthday of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former head of Yukos, who had the audacity to politically challenge former president Putin, and, in so doing, was deprived of his company and sentenced to an eight year term on trumped up charges of tax-evasion and fraud. He has now reached the half way point of his prison sentence and according to Russian law, a prisoner can appeal for early release based on his good behavior. Prison guards have tried on several occasions to claim Khodorkovsky had caused problems but all of their charges were discounted by courts of law.

Many human rights groups hope President Medvedev will order the release of the former head of Yukos, both in the name of justice, and in the hope by so doing he establishes himself as an independent leader not under the control of Putin. There were rallies in several parts of Russia to celebrate the birthday of one whom many consider an individual who was fighting for a more democratic Russia.