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Last Updated:[07-01-2011 07:57:37 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Factoring in Khodorkovsky Effect – Making of Idiots out of Citizens



tradenews Already there are volumes of print, online and audio-visual versions released about the Russian oil baron Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s incarceration and trial - but the fact of the matter is the ‘democratic’ Russia has unconvincingly spelt the verdict disregarding the very principles of judiciary.

Whether in 2003 the then President and incumbent premier Vladimir Putin pre-emptively attempted to forestall an oligarchic rise in the form of Khodorkovsky or not, the second trial verdict with a blatantly hollow conviction will make Russia where businesses should tread cautiously. Though Putin ordered Khodorkovsky’s arrest and prosecution for fraud and tax evasion was also an effort to subdue multi-polar power centres – the recent extension of his imprisonment will hamper Russia’s domestic economic growth and international image as a trustworthy trade partner.

In short term, Putin and the current President Dmitry Medvedev have warded off a free Khodorkovsky, a potential threat as a strong opposition in the coming elections. But the loss again weighs down on the shoulders of ordinary citizens, as it always been in any social system, with freedom and sense of accomplishments at stake.

The background of the delayed verdict by Judge Viktor Danilkin which convicted Khodorkovsky of stealing even more oil than the prosecution had claimed in its final arguments is flimsily executed. The Russian Industry and Trade Minister Viktor Khristenko testified in June that the enormous volume of oil Khodorkovsky was accused of stealing had never gone missing – indicates the verdict is written long ago before the trial.

The Russia’s WTO accession claim may have temporarily affected by this verdict as many leaders who supported its inclusion in the WTO find the human rights violation a bitter pill to swallow. Putin-Medvedev combine knows these events are transient since history suggests world power-wielders yielding to opportunities in the past.

The lesson one should learn from Khodorkovsky case is that last man standing principle applies even in international politics and business. And, regardless of the outcome, common man has to succumb to different forms of powers such as oligarchic parallel governments, authoritarian ‘so-called’ democratic set ups and the real dictatorships.

By Jose Roy




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