Shadows Hanging over Khodorkovsky’s Judge

Barring a likely delay or rescheduling, Judge Viktor Danilkin is due to begin reading the verdict in the second trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev on December 15.

It’s no use waiting for an acquittal or even a very mild verdict from Judge Danilkin: he’s not the one writing the most important part of the verdict, which is the term of sentencing. From the very start of the prosecution of the Yukosites and Khodorkovsky, it was clear who is standing behind all these no-holds-barred actions. It’s exactly the same way now, with these same people hanging in the shadows, heavily and obnoxiously breathing down the timorous nape of Judge Danilkin’s neck.

If you’re counting on a mild sentence, remember the gestures, the words and the look of Vladimir Putin, when he answered Adam Michnik’s question and when he uttered his classic slander – “their hands are covered in blood”. A disinterested person could not answer such a general, garden-variety question about a not-so-garden-variety event – the prosecution of the one-time richest person of Russia – with such fury.

The paradox of Putin is just in this, that he, from the times of the proletarian childhood of his loathing of all rich people, nevertheless himself strove to become – and became! – one of the richest people of all time. Became accidentally and unexpectedly, because he accidentally and unexpectedly shot to the pinnacle of power in a big country. Up on top the air is thin. There it’s already not a breathing mixture, but an entrancing opium. Speaking more simply – it blows the roof of.

With the keen insight of a philosopher and a writer André Glucksman dissected this type in his book «Dostoyevsky in Manhattan». He also noticed Putin’s predilection for being the «head obstetrician of any truth» (hence the unapeallability in the words « their hands are covered in blood»); and the intoxication of the pinnacles, which «is stronger than the fit of self-love that seizes an upstart who has made a career», and that “the intoxication of the pinnacles transcends both moral dilemmas and the fear of falling into contradiction with oneself…

It’s not likely that Putin has even once over the entire time of the finding of Khodorkovsky behind bars has thought about how the innocent person kangaroo-courted not without his knowledge has children and elderly parents. But in all this time they have no doubt reminded him not once that he must support with cruelty his image as an exterminator of oligarchs (into the number of which, I shall note, he himself has entered for a long time, but it’s doubtful that he even gives thought to the notion that they will start to prosecute him himself for something some time). With the lips of some court ideologist, the entourage of grovelling toadies has no doubt not failed to remind him about how power has to be seized and held, like a woman, not once and not twice, every time proving one’s capability of this. And cruelty… Oh well – «cruelty in others – a flaw, but a virtue in a sovereign».

A shadow, the sinister shade of a little person, small and spiteful, endowed with huge power, is looming now behind the back of another little man – also endowed with power, but way less than that of the «head obstetrician of all truth», also small, but, we’ll hope, not evil.

We hope… Hope… These words – from the last word of not one million innocent sufferers. Even one going to the gallows is hoping for a miracle. A miracle, as a rule, does not take place. Of course, I tried to see at least some kind of good sign in this trial, remembering «my» trial. The fact of the permitting to «Novaya gazeta» to take an interview from the defendants at the end of the trajectory of the trial reminded me: an hour and a half before the pronouncement of the verdict in the first trial the judge allowed journalists to take an interview from me. For an hour I spoke, answering questions, and then there was the verdict, as the result of which the court accounted it possible to find me guilty, but to release promptly, in the courtroom. Of course, that was the desperate move of a judge understanding my innocence, but still having issued a guilty verdict.

Because they were also breathing down his back. The second trial was simpler and more comprehensible: nearly all the points of the charge were pulverized into lint and ash not without the help of another judge, but this did not hinder him from issuing an unambiguously guilty verdict and sending me to a strict-regime colony. There was also someone standing behind the back of the second judge…

Even if one were to imagine to oneself that our judges were once independent, then, according to Jerzy Lec, interaction with midgets has deformed not only their spines, but the consciousness as well. They will adopt that decision which is needed by the midgets.
…Whosoever feeds on hope, he, as is known, dies of hunger. And let us not forget: even though shadows did loom behind the backs of my judges, they were not as ominous as the one that is now looking behind the back of judge Danilkin. Don’t wait for courage from him: they’re not even going to let him remember about how he once had it.


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Grigory Pasko

Grigory Pasko is a Russian journalist and publisher of an environmental magazine. In November 1997 Pasko was arrested by FSB agents in Vladivostok and accused of espionage for publications on the environmental problems in the Japanese sea but found not guilty due to lack of evidence. He was found guilty of “abuse of his official position,” but released immediately under a general amnesty. He was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. His articles appear at Robert Amsterdam's website (http://www.robertamsterdam.com) and are reprinted with permission.

2 thoughts on “Shadows Hanging over Khodorkovsky’s Judge

  • December 18, 2010 at 2:17 pm
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    Funny enough I got a totally different impression from all the Russians I met. They seem to think that a small group of people, not one of whom was an ethnic Russian, just grabbed Russia’s oil and othere resources as if it was their birthright and of course became billionaires overnight.

    Perhaps the words “just grabbed” is misleading. Mayors of oil towns were murdered, as were people who simply stood in their way, and even the hitmen themselves were removed. And the Russian oil became the property of companies (ie non Russians) who proceeded to make the “companies” eg Yukos, “efficient” ie schools and libraries were closed and Russians were thrown out of work.

    The other funny thing is that the “little man” is extremely popular in Russia. The only thing they dislike is that they think that the other oligarchs should be punished too.

    As for what Andre Glucksman, Robert Amsrerdam etc say, well, they would, wouldn’t they?

    Reply
    • December 22, 2010 at 12:57 am
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      Russians get information mostly from local media, which are totally controlled by Kremlin. What would you expect to hear from an ordinary Russian? Fairy tales of bad oligarchs who stole all natural resourced under Eltsin, whose successor made them pay for their sins? Russians are very good at allowing the authorities to brainwash them.

      Reply

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