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Grigory Pasko: The Chichvarkin Chronicles

Everybody here seems to be talking about the video appeal of the not-yet-fully-imprisoned businessman to the man sitting in the president’s chair. Yevgeny Chichvarkin, a multi-millionaire businessman and founder of a mobile phone company Yevroset, was chased into hiding in London following an incident of apparent corporate raiding and political charges. He has most recently initiated a public outreach and dialogue on YouTube (as we Russians are prone to do), naming the names of his enemies, and pleading for the release and humane treatment of his colleague Boris Levin who is being held in pre-trial detention. I’m not sure that the case has attracted very much attention outside of the capital. Having driven 126 km from Moscow, I asked a person, the first one who happened to come my way, whether he knew who Chichvarkin was. He did not. Nor did another dozen people I asked.


Whatever, let’s read some of the comments from SNOB magazine, where the video was originally posted.One observer wrote: «…It’s time for our representatives in power too to start taking the rubbish out of the hut».Wait, they’ve all run off. And besides, I can’t really imagine how they, the poor dears, would go about throwing themselves out?I noticed that, when commenting on Chichvarkin’s speech, the people on «Snob» often mention Khodorkovsky. Although I can’t recall a single utterance by Chichvarkin himself about Khodorkovsky or about the YUKOS affair in general.There’s one like this too: «All of our open journalistics are reminiscent of Gaponism. “But the tsar doesn’t know HOW bad it is for us!” And hasn’t the tsar been elected to rule us? After all, he gets a salary so that he will know EVERYTHING, will penetrate into everything. Or what, didn’t KHODORKOVSKY address them enough??? The result?»And some more here : «…The most correct way – this is to release Khodorkovsky and end normally with Chichvarkin and a mass of other businessmen from those 60 thousand who to this day were under investigation and in places of detention. And then, maybe, something might work out over there in Skolkovo or Figolkovo. For now, this is a senseless undertaking and a waste of money, what the president’s trying to do».Here I agree: Khodorkovsky should be released. A long time ago. And Lebedev too.In my opinion, this is simpler and cheaper than building a «silicon valley» in Skolkovo. And there will be more benefit for the country.The opinion of Grigory Revzin : «Chichvarkin’s reputation isn’t as bright as Khodorkovsky’s. Not that they consider him a bandit or anything, it’s just that he was the same kind of hard-nosed capitalist as Khodorkovsky, but in so doing he didn’t have any veneer of philanthropy. From the point of view of the power — they consider him a bandit, just as they consider their own department «K». You can dig up a lot on Chichvarkin, and you can dig up a lot about these guys too, but we need these guys more».Revzin has hit the nail on the head: there are bandits, and then there are bandits whom we need more. Who is Chichvarkin for the current power? That’s a rhetorical question, if we take into account the place of location of Chichvarin.A video appeal to the president – is a specific kind of genre. Neither bad nor good. Simply – useless. Because there is no president. There is a post. There is a person who has been seated at this post. For a time. Without the right to jiggle the knobs. Like the Vietnamese cosmonaut. It can be seen that the person, in the given situation Chichvarkin, and not Dymovsky (although, in the big picture, the difference is not very big), did this out of desperation. Moreover, for Chichvarkin this desperation is much greater than for Dymovsky, because he has lost much more.I apologise profusely, but all this – is like farting into flour. The same result.Chichvarkin himself is hoping, of course: «Naive or not naive, soon we’ll find out».It’s entirely possible that he’s hoping too for the return of his business, in exchange, let us say, for a «request» to put the lion’s share of the not-yet-stolen money into Olympic facilities.But it seems to me that this will not be. Well, just who is this Chichvarkin for the current power? Nobody. Not even a bandit. He’s simply already – not needed. Putin-Sechin are not getting any benefit for themselves from doing something for Chichvarkin.The opinion of Igor Ganzha: «And he appeals to the father-tsar. For whom, let us note, Khodorkovsky with Lebedev continue to rot in jail. That is for the tsar he is – one of. And far from the biggest one. What needs to be done for the success of the entreaty? To become not a single unit, but a group. A socially significant phenomenon. For example (for now – just an example) to create a civic anticorruptional foundation».Chichvarkin responds to Ganzha: «Having the possibilities of the ex-Yukos team, one can organize signatures in support of Bakhmina and Alexanyan, and as we can see, it worked, albeit late. But if I’m going to be «heating up» public opinion in a comparable manner, then I will soon run out of «coals»».I shall note that the scientist Igor Sutyagin, sitting 10 years in the zone, did not have and does not have the «possibilities» either of the ex-Yukos team, nor of Chichvarkin’s «coals». But public opinion, I daresay, is still on his side. It is sufficient to recall that two collegiums of jurors acquitted him.But in general, it’s probably not worth it at all to strongly break lances in the struggle for the release of Chichvarking himself from the captivity of London solitude. Here, he even writes himself: «I see my principal designation in trade, and not in struggle».Well, just give the guy a flag with an image of Mercury.Also he writes: «I want to return to a Russia where the infrastructure is being built actively, as under Alexander III, freedom of speech is like under Yeltsin. So that the tsar would be progressive, like sheikh Muhammed, and the legislation like in Georgia».Well, then you should have video-appealed to the gravestones of Alexander and Yeltsin, to portraits of the sheikh and Saakashvili. What does some Medvedev have to do with any of this?A very important point. A certain Ilya (his image of voracious piranhas is very appropriate in the given situation) advises: «I think that it is imperative for Yevgeny to find the right allies. Those whose interests coincide with his own. Those who will be able to turn the situation over exclusively for the sake of their own personal benefit. And public opinion in this game – nothing but loose change».And Chichvarkin agrees with him: «Ilya, this is a very good thought. Sooner or later that’s how it will happen».So enough with shedding snivel and tears on account of the persecution of the unfortunate Chichvarkin. He, as an adherent of trade, will either find ways to reach agreement with the piranhas, or will remain restlessly living away in London. We know the price of his political principles against the background of his entry into a party (I don’t recall the name any more).So I’m not worried for him.And Medvedev too is no doubt not worried for him. Especially, if we take into account that they have reported to him about the well-fitting little suit and the painstakingly chosen background of the video appellant.