Kafka on Steroids

From Phillip P. Pan in the Washington Post:

The government’s decision to put Khodorkovsky on trial a second time on new charges of embezzling nearly 350 million tons of crude oil and laundering more than $20 billion of the proceeds has fed speculation about a feud within the Kremlin elite over how to share dwindling state revenue as Russia confronts its worst economic crisis in a decade.

Prosecutors are calling Khodorkovsky’s alleged crime the largest theft in the history of modern Russia. His supporters describe the accusations as preposterous and say the authorities are staging a second show trial intended to keep Khodorkovsky in prison indefinitely.

Vadim Kluvgant, Khodorkovsky’s lead lawyer, said the new charges were completely fabricated and contradict those leveled against his client five years ago. Another lawyer, Robert Amsterdam, called the case “Kafka on steroids” and said it would present a test of President Dmitry Medvedev’s commitment to rule of law and his pledges to fight “legal nihilism.”