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Time for Russia to Pay Up

Alexander Lebedev has a bone to pick – well, he has several bones to pick – with the way that the Boris Berezovksy vs. Roman Abramovich court case, dramatically played out in London’s High Court, is – he says – creating distorted impressions of all kinds.  The first false conclusion that spectators will drawn from the case is that it’s an isolated phenomenon.  On the contrary, he says, the buying-up of assets after the fall of the Soviet Union has created all kinds of grievances among Russia’s richest men, and this won’t be the only case of its kind coming to the surface this year (the British tabloids will be happy to hear this, having a distinct love of garish Russian stereotypes).  A further false conclusion that might be drawn from the case relates to the stereotypical flamboyant impression that these rich, warring businessman give of Russia in general:

Together with the autocrats of the Kremlin, some controversial Russian businessmen have come to convey an image of Russia that is cruel, inhumane, and deeply unjust. Actually this nation of tolerant and honourable people is nothing like the stereotype that now prevails.

He also makes an unsubstantiated claim that ‘shady deals and contracts’ have cost Russia dearly, to a (personally-estimated) tune of over $500 billion.  It’s time for Russia to pay up, he says – and for the British government to end their complacency in welcoming wealthy businessmen to its shores.  Read his piece here.