Russia’s War on Lawyers

trepashkin.jpgI was forwarded a link to an interesting article by Paul Goble at Windows on Russia, which comments on recent statements made by the leaders of the All-Russian Congress of the Unions of Lawyers. It’s no secret that over the past six years, the Russian government has began to target the lawyers and partners of its perceived opponents – a successful Soviet-style method of creating a culture of fear, whereby the enemy of the state is left without any support. In the Yukos case, we’ve seen the medical blackmail (and possible manslaughter) of general counsel Vasily Alexanyan, the attempt to disbar Karinna Moskalenko, my forced exile from the country, as well as many other motley office raids and interference. We’re of course not the only ones. Just ask Boris Kuznetsov, Serge Brovchenko, and Mikhail Trepashkin (photograph) about the cost of performing their normal legitimate duties as lawyers. Goble reports the following comment from a conference participant: “Unfortunately,” one of them pointed out, the government has not done anything to halt this or to take the steps needed to prevent the creation of a situation in which “soon there will not be any independent lawyers” in Russia “and citizens will have no one to turn to for their defense when their rights are violated by government officials. Read the full article here.