Britain and Russia could be heading for another row after multi-millionaire Yevgeny Chichvarkin, seen as a foe of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, fled to the UK to escape arrest in Moscow. Chichvarkin is accused of kidnapping and extortion, which he claims are political charges. Chichvarkin most notably founded mobile phone network Euroset (also referred to as Yevroset) in 1997, but had sold his share of the business to a pro-Kremlin businessman last year. Since then he has been involved in the political party Right Cause, on behalf of the business class in Russia.
Russia will now demand his arrest and extradition from Britain. British tabloid The Daily Mail notes that “all previous demands for other Russian tycoons have been refused by London courts on the grounds that the businessmen cannot expect a fair trial in Russia”.
From the Daily Mail:
“Britain is seeking in vain Russian MP Andrei Lugovoy, wanted to face murder charges over the death of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko who died from polonium-210 poisoning.
The Kremlin is angered by the number of top Russian businessmen, including controversial tycoon Boris Berezovsky, former head of Russneft oil company Mikhail Gutseriyev and a dozen executives linked to jailed billionaire Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who earlier fled to London saying they feared for their freedom.
An earlier mobile phone tycoon who left Russia to base himself in London, Leonid Rozhetskin, vanished from his seaside villa in Latvia in March. His family claimed he had been assassinated by a killer sent from Moscow, but a murder probe has at present date failed to discover what happened to him.
Russia has stepped up legal action against businessmen deemed to have violated the law, notably following the 2003 arrest of former Yukos oil company head Mikhail Khodorkosvky, who was sentenced to eight years for fraud and tax evasion.
Relations between Britain and Russia hit a post-Cold War low last year over the Litvinenko extradition demand, Kremlin action to close the British Council and pressure on BP’s interests in Siberia”.
The protocol for the treatment of opposition to the Kremlin is now infamous and appears to have in no way changed its practice. Indeed there are two edges to every sword, but one must recognize the Kafka-esque lack of transparency and ominous summoning from Russia that has struck fear in those willing to oppose an unjust rule of law.