Khodorkovsky and the Legal Battlefield

Kim Zigfield (also known as La Russophobe) has a new blog post about Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Nezavisimaya Gazeta article and the Yukos ECHR case as being two fronts of a legal battle against Putinism, published on PajamasMedia:

Make no mistake: If the ECHR determines that Russia, a signatory to its treaty, violated basic international law when it stripped Khodorkovsky and his fellow shareholders of their property rights in YUKOS, it can order that property restored. And if the Kremlin won’t pay?  The ECHR can order the seizure of Russian assets throughout Europe, and there are plenty of them available for seizure.

More important, though, such a ruling by the ECHR would strip awaythe last vestiges of legitimacy enjoyed by the Putin regime.  It wouldmake the accusations in Khodorkovsky’s op-ed the law. The Putin regimehas already been convicted many times of state-sponsored murder andtorture in the Caucasus region by the ECHR, and it has liquidated threehigh-profile human rights advocates who tried to tell Russians thatstory (Anna Politkovskaya, Natalia Estemirova, and Stanislav Markelov). An earth-shaking hundred-billion-dollar judgment would bringinternational attention to those rulings as well.

It’s simply amazing that, even from behind bars, Khodorkovsky couldso masterfully arrange these proceedings in Europe to correspond withhis own trial back in Russia. There’s no telling how far this man couldhave taken his country if he’d been given a chance to lead it.