Vedomosti’s Man of the Week

alexanyan012408.jpgThe following op/ed about Vasily Alexanyan (or Alexanian, Aleksanyan if you prefer), was translated from Monday’s Vedomosti. The author argues that even under Joseph Stalin, the Russian government at least provided medical care to sick zeks.

Man of the week: Heal thyself Kirill Kharatyan 21.01.2008, №9 (2031) Former lawyer, former head of the YUKOS legal department, former executive president of YUKOS with the powers of president, a former wealthy, educated, and, they say, sharp-witted person; now – a gaunt, nearly blind inmate, suffering concurrently from two fatal diseases, who thinks only about whether or not he’ll live to see the day of his trial. Such a fate has befallen Vasily Alexanyan. For what, one asks? Ah, for taxes, that is for complicity in an oil company.

And the company doesn’t even exist any more, while its brave head Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who seemingly threw a challenge to president Putin, is sitting out eight years, facing the prospect of getting another 22.5 years, while his financial comrade-in-arms, who didn’t throw out any challenge to anybody, Platon Lebedev – is in the same exact situation, with the same prospects; another few people are in jail as well, including mother of two minor children Svetlana Bakhmina; the remaining accomplices in YUKOS are scattered all over the place, but at least they get to sleep in their own beds at night.The danger that, perhaps, really may have emanated from YUKOS and its erstwhile precision-tuned team, from its big money, from its integration into world business is obviously past for the state. One could, it seems, already make such a magnanimous gesture – release the shadow of the former Alexanyan, at least prior to trial, so that he could rejoice in the free sun, if he’s even capable of discerning it any more.But no. Alexanyan, apparently, has to remain locked up in jail; he, apparently, is a symbol of something important, for example a reminder: nothing is forgotten, no one is forgotten [stock Soviet slogan about the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945)—Trans.].Just one question: So this vertical of power that’s being erected, lo, these nearly eight years already, and all this tough-and-unflinching positioning – What?, do they work so poorly that you need to be afraid of releasing a nearly-blind wraith of a human being on his last legs, to use an old camp term [dokhodyaga]?Even under Stalin, they used to ease the lot of sick zeks – and that was a cannibalistic regime.The opinions published in the column «From the editors» do not affect the selection and coverage of news in the remaining part of the newspaper. Other opinions published in the column «Commentaries» may not coincide with the position of the editorial staff.