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Press Release: New White Paper Details Broader Implications of Khodorkovsky Affair

In our efforts to maximize distribution of this white paper, the attached press release was sent out internationally today. You can download the English verison of the paper here. Within a couple of days, the full version of the paper will be available in both Russian and German – please check back to this blog to download it. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE New White Paper Details Broader Implications of Khodorkovsky Affair LONDON 8 February, 2007 —“Abuse of State Authority in the Russian Federation,” a new White Paper issued yesterday by Robert Amsterdam, Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s international defense counsel, says the United States and Western European governments have failed to effectively protect and advance their own values and foreign policy interests in Russia, willfully ignoring the Russian government’s increasing repression at home and its use of energy resources as a weapon against its neighbors. “The Russian authorities’ campaign against Mr. Khodorkovsky and Yukos cannot be regarded as a purely internal Russian matter,” the White Paper says. “The campaign has played out in the context of deepening authoritarianism in Russia. The Russian political system is mutating rapidly, with serious implications for the rule of law in Russia, jeopardising the protection of human rights and legal guarantees of private property, including foreign investments.” Yet the White Paper says Western governments have so far “shied away from anything more than tepid expressions of concern over the Khodorkovsky case…a shocking surrender to sinister forces within the Russian leadership, and an overt signal to them that their belligerent authoritarianism will be tolerated—in exchange for preferential treatment in energy relations. This is a dangerous signal to send to a regime that has taken to wielding power with recurring disregard for both Russian and international law.” Released just three days after new charges were brought against Khodorkovsky and his business partner, Platon Lebedev, in Chita, Siberia, the White Paper accuses the Kremlin leadership of using Russia’s courts to silence Khodorkovsky and other dissidents, and to justify the re-nationalisation of what remains of Yukos, once Russia’s most efficient and most profitable energy company. “A new cast of wealthy and influential property owners has emerged in Russia, and they operate within President Putin’s entourage,” the White Papers says, adding that Khodorkovsky will never receive a fair trial in Russia as long as the Kremlin leadership has a direct and personal financial interest in the outcome. “The timing of the new charges is not accidental. Russia’s image abroad has been badly tarnished by a series of highly publicised murders, both in Moscow and in London, while there is intense behind the scenes jockeying for favour and power inside the Kremlin as the 2008 change in presidential leadership nears,” the White Paper states. “The Kremlin may hope that the continued persecution of Mr. Khodorkovsky will divert attention from Russia’s international and domestic problems.” The 75-page White Paper provides cogent analysis—buttressed by massive documentation of facts—to underscore its principal contention that the Khodorkovsky Affair is not an isolated example of the dangerous economic, political and foreign policy developments which are now apparent in Russia. “In the name of justice and as a clear signal of their concern,” the White Paper says, “foreign governments and human rights organisations should support freedom for Mr. Khodorkovsky and other Yukos executives or employees who have been wrongfully incarcerated.” The full text of the White Paper can be downloaded from: http://www.robertamsterdam.com/