Will the real Shokhin please stand up?
By the Polittechnologist
Member of the Presidium of the General Council of United Russia (this is the putinite analogue of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union) Mr. Alexander Shokhin has practically spoken out in support of Khodorkovsky. The key word in the given sentence is “practically.”
Being concurrently the head of the Russian Union of Industrialistsand Entrepreneurs (RSPP), an organization which before Khodorkovsky’sarrest had engaged in lobbying the interests of large industrialgroups, Mr. Shokhin at the beginning of Khodorkovsky’s trial allowedhimself to question the properness of the charges to the address ofKhodorkovsky. On the air of the state telechannel “Rossiya” in one ofthe more rated programs he declared the following: “In the Khodorkovskycase there arises bewilderment: either they convicted people for nothaving paid taxes, but then how can you try them for having stolensomething for which they did not pay taxes, either the first case mustfall apart, or the second does not have any basis. This is my personalopinion, I am not a jurist, but it seems to me that to try someone twotimes for one and the same thing is not accepted either in Russianlegislation, or in any other country of the world.“
One would like to think of this as a sign of positive changes on thepart of the power being sent to Khodorkovsky, but for some reason onedoes not very much believe that this is truly so. Being familiar, andnot by hearsay, with the byzantine cunning of the Russian rulers, I cansay that the words of Mr. Alexander Shokhin have in the given situationmuch less weight than the words of the man who happens to share hissurname – the young, decorated procurator Dmitry Shokhin.
The distinguished head of the RSPP is not a lawyer, which he himselfhonestly admits. His opinion is the opinion of a private person, whichcan not even be called public opinion (but if one wishes one could passit off as such). He took upon himself the courage to question what thestate machine of the Procuracy had fabricated and is fabricating for 5years and more already. They allowed him to voice his doubts ontelevision. He agreed and voiced. And what next?
Next, everything will remain as it was. Will the opinion of Mr. A.Shokhin influence the decision of the court? – No. Will the conditionsof detention of the YUKOS prisoners change in any way from the opinionof A. Shokhin? – No. Maybe some one of them will be amnestied? – No.Will Mr. A. Shokhin go to court and provide a personal pledge thatKhodorkovsky will not abscond anywhere? – No. And you know why? Becausethe true weight in the given situation is had by words that havealready been written and which Mr. D. Shokhin is going to say in court.Because D. Skokhin receives decorations for his words, while Mr. A.Shokhin – doesn’t get anything.
So what will be? Why all this noise on the air of the main Russiantelechannel? I answer – this is a continuation of the show, this – isthe creation of an illusion of freedom of speech and public opinion.See, Russian entrepreneurs think like this. Well, and let them think.Let them question. The given opinion has nothing to do with reality.Because even if Mr. A. Shokin were to come to court and speak out insupport of Khodorkovsky, Mr. D. Shokhin will remind him that he is nota lawyer, so it would be best if he did not get involved in questionsof jurisprudence, the way that the procuracy does not get involved inthe questions of the RSPP – for now.
All of this reminds one of the joke where an unfortunate member ofthe intelligentsia comes home to find his wife in the embraces of alover – as strong as two Arnold Schwarzeneggers. After a small scuffle,the lover sticks the hapless husband in the kitchen, draws a circlearound him with a piece of chalk, and says that he’ll kill the poorwretch if he steps over this boundary. After a certain time, thecuckold’s laugh emanates from the kitchen, as he joyously reports thathe has already crossed the boundary of the circle three times and hasreturned yet has nevertheless remained alive.
One would very much not want to compare Russian entrepreneurs with thisluckless husband, but one ought to have been more choosy about the wifeway back in the year 2000.
Well, we’ll see. The Soviet Union also began to crumble when someone(we won’t name any names) began to question his loyalty to Lenin’sideas aloud.