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More of the Same in the Khodorkovsky Appeal Hearing

Business columnist Joe Nocera of the New York Times has published a very strong article on the elaborately rigged judicial procedure to send Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev back to the gulag of Krasnokamens, Siberia.

In China, when the country’s rulers want to get rid of a troublesome dissident, they just lock him up. There is not a lot of pretense. But Russia wants the world to believe that it abides by the rule of law. “It has a Constitution, courts, judges and established procedures,” said Pavel Ivlev, one of Khodorkovsky’s lawyers.

But, Ivlev adds, “You also have the reality that everything is controlled by Putin and his friends.” So when someone starts making trouble for Russia’s premier, Vladimir Putin, and his corrupt cronies, things play out a little differently. An “investigation” is begun, which leads to a series of criminal charges, which, in turn, leads to a lengthy trial. The illusion of justice is created. But the ending never varies: The defendants wind up in prison for crimes they never committed.

When they are done putting this case bed, the kangaroo court will begin the dirty work to put away Alexei Navalny, says Nocera.