An insightful piece by Victor Davidoff in the Moscow Times this weekend connects the jailing of Mikhail Khodorkovsky ten years ago with certain aspects of Russia’s decline, noting in particular that Yukos, before its demise, was in the habit of funding philanthropic projects, nongovernmental organisations and, most fatefully, the Kremlin’s political opponents.
Khodorkovsky’s arrest altered the relationship between business and politics in Russia. Yukos openly funded oppositional parties like Yabloko and the Union of Right Forces. Since then, business executives who dare to finance the political campaigns of people and parties out of favor with the Kremlin soon feel the full weight of state pressure. This usually begins with financial audits and often ends with criminal charges and the destruction of their businesses.
The full piece is here.