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A Russian Wake Up Call

Consider the cumulative weight of these facts: A Dutch court rules that Yukos was illegally auctioned, the European Court of Human Rights finds that Russia violated Platon Lebedev’s rights, and the Swiss Federal Tribunal denies Russia mutual legal assistance in the Yukos and Khodorkovsky investigations due to political persecution. We are looking at the establishment of consensus in the international legal community that the Russian Federation has lost its claim to legality with regard to its conduct in the Yukos and Mikhail Khodorkovsky affair. The fact of the matter is that this loss of legality bleeds directly into the succession disputes, and the bitter infighting among the top officials involved in the decision to rob Yukos and its shareholders. The erosion of legality caused in part by this blowback is best documented in today’s article by Vladimir Milov, the former Deputy Energy Minister of the Russian Federation. I fully subscribe to Milov’s analysis here, and I believe that his brave article, in combination with the cited legal decisions, puts to great shame the relative silence of observers in this affair. It is time for the governments of Italy and Germany, who have served as two of the chief participants in the reputation laundering of the Kremlin’s conduct, to wake up and recognize the institutional damage being done, before their complicit role in these illegal seizures taint the very democratic values that they were put in office to uphold.