Medvedev, The Tease


Many had placed their hopes on him.  Literally warming up their expectations, he was silent for so long. And now he has spoken.

I immediately recalled the aphorism of Stanislaw Jerzy Lec: «Well, how can one not be an optimist here: my enemies have turned out to be exactly the kind of pigs as I had supposed».

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Medvedev has turned out to be… well, if not a pig, then at least a true companion-in-arms of his friend and «older brother», who had put him in the post of president, – lieutenant-colonel from the KGB Vladimir Putin.

Medvedev has finally spoken at length about the «Khodorkovsky affair». In particular, he said that this matter “does indeed” involve the public interest.  He commented, “First, I would like to say once again that last year alone several thousand private entrepreneurs and employees of large commercial structures were sent to jail.”  What was less clear was whether or not Medvedev was boasting over his management of the country, or indicating who wasn’t on that long list of tax offenders, i.e., the close friends of Vladimir Putin who have plundered the country, as named in the Nemtsov-Milov report.

As a jurist (he never tires of underscoring this) Medvedev said that “the president of any country, including Russia as well, should not discourse upon individual “keysi” [apparently a brand new Russian legal term, which is remarkably similar to the English word “cases”–Trans.] only because this is interference in the judicial system”.

Interesting – is this Russia’s judicial system he is referring to?

But now this is already an interesting declaration: “…I hope that it doesn’t evoke doubts in anybody that in principle the prosecution has the right to present supplementary arguments and advance new charges in relation to those persons who are sitting in jail, no matter how this is perceived.”

That is, the gloomy forecasts are gradually coming true: the spectre of a third criminal case being initiated (based on facts of some kind of murders there, about which Putin has spoken so much in his aggressive appearances) in relation to former managers of the YUKOS company – is not at all a spectre, but a completely concrete thing?

Also Medvedev said that he considers talk about the imperfection of the judicial system as bearing a “destructive effect”.

Of course it is destructive: he and Putin, as two jurists, have literally buried this system in our country, and now regard even insinuations that this system doesn’t exist as destructive. It looks like these «jurists» don’t recognise any criticism whatsoever to their address. Are we left to just assume that they are omnipotent saints?

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 ( and are reprinted with permission.

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