We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Anders Åslund, Senior Fellow at the Petersen Institute for International Economics, to discuss some of the most pressing issues in Russia affairs. In this exclusive interview segment, Åslund discusses his views on the second trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and how its timing seems to suggest a potential conspiracy to damage the reputation of the president (an opinion which was echoed in Åslund‘s March 25 article in the Moscow Times). In describing the proceedings, Åslund points out that like the first trial, the second experience is expected to be “a complete sham” and a “provocation,” characterized by “total legal arbitriness.”
In reponse to a question about what preconditions would be necessary for Russia to return to a rule of law system and eliminate legal nihilism, Åslund makes reference to the importance of “big gestures” – such as Mikhail Gorbachev’s decision to return Andrei Sakharov from internal exile.
Photo: Fallen Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky arrives at the court forhis new trial on money laundering and embezzlement charges in MoscowApril 20, 2009 REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva