On YUKOS’s “transparency” and liberalism in Russia

Legal hearing of the case of the owners of YUKOS company Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev has started in Meshansky District Court in Moscow.
However, at the first session the court suspended the hearing as lawyer Henrikh Padva recently had had a surgery, and now he needs some time for recovery.

The so-called “liberal press” has been writing for almost a year that this hearing will not be fair as it will turn into political prosecution. Seeing how Russian media silence the methods of the operation of the “most transparent Russian company”, nobody is interested in pursuing the truth. Consequently, Khodorkovsky, Lebedev, Pichugin and the other will account not for their real deeds. In this sense, there will not be the fair legal hearing on YUKOS and its bosses.

The press publishes little information on one more defendant in the YUKOS case – Head of 9th Department of Inner Economic Security of YUKOS Alexei Pichugin. The media are silencing the information on this man for a reason. In case of Lebedev and Khodorkovsky, it is convenient to write that this is all about politics, and to accuse the authorities of authoritarianism.  As for Mr. Pichugin, he is accused of murders and attempted murders, and there is no politics here, only pure crimes.

Aleksei Pichigin has been accused of murdering the spouses Gorins in town Tambov in 2002 and attempted murders on Olga Kostina, the Moscow government employee, and on Mr. Kostin from MENATEP company (Mikhail Khodorkovsky was the Head of MENATEP). Meanwhile, the number of Russian human rights organizations want Aleksei Pichugin to be recognized a political prisoner.

PRAVDA.Ru already wrote about Pichugin’s former colleagues exerting pressure on the victims and eye-witnesses on his case. The case has few proofs, but the methods used by Mr. Pichugin’s colleagues to solve the problem, say much. They use all methods, the only thing the “transparent” employees of YUKOS Security Department do not do now, are more murders.

”Office fights in YUKOS were a routine”, wrote in the Stringer newspaper Olga Kostina, the former aide on PR for MENATEP company Head Khodorkovsky. No victim called the police, on the contrary, the happy member of the friendly corporation spitted out his broken teeth and thanked for a good lesson. Some of such people were promoted, others were sent abroad. Servility has been in bigger demand than professionalism”.

In January, 1999 there was attempted murder on Olga Kostina, and Aleksei Pichugin, YUKOS employee, is suspected of this crime. Both Olga Kostina and Russian media are well-aware that YUKOS became the testing area for Russian “criminal” liberalism. YUKOS’s “know-how” on “working with the people it wanted to influence” was willingly borrowed by all other Russian companies.

”Being a victim is always bad, either if there was an attempted murder on you or if you were robbed”, writes Olga Kostina in her article. “The lazy cynicism of our law-enforcement system, and sometimes the criminals’ going on with assaulting you, increase the humiliation you experience. When the criminal is an ordinary bandit, it is not the worst case. But if the criminal is rich and powerful or has patrons from this circle, different people (law-enforcers, human rights activists, liberal journalists) will start persuading you that nothing terrible and unusual happened”.

The misfortune of the biggest Russian oil company YUKOS has lasted for a year. There have been many publications, but no article contained the opinion of the defendants. No “democratic” mass media published it. The reasons are well-understood. Nobody maintains the illusion of pluralism already. Who are the defendants? Plebeians. Cockroaches. Who is interested in the opinion of the cockroach?

When the “liberals” denounce the corruption, Chechen war and lack of civil freedoms in Russia, for some reason it does not occur to them that all this resulted from the 8 years of oligarchs’ rule in Russia. In the end of the 1990s the group of the oligarchs were the real authorities in the country as President Boris Yeltsin was sick and unpopular among Russians.

Who would Mikhail Khodorkovsky be under the Communist rule? Secretary of the Central Committee of the Young Communist League. Being a product of his epoch, he inherited its features. Power means money plus information. After having made some money, all Russian oligarchs started purchasing media. Their found “buying” the press management and employees the better option that purchasing the media outlet legally. If the employees are sold out, the newspaper will always stand for your interests whoever owns it. The most important thing was to continue having media people being dependent on the “shadow money”.

Mr. Khodorkovsky overtook everybody in purchasing “freedom”. By the Parliamentary elections of 2003 he invested both in all fractions of the future Parliament and in all major mass media. The operation of YUKOS and its bosses was made the taboo by the press. Khodorkovsky became untouchable, as Communist Party Secretary General was in the Soviet Union.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has not enjoyed such worship as Khodorkovsky did, the media posed him as the savior of the country and the sufferer for us all. However, the people who contacted YUKOS CEOs, are well-aware that Khodorkovsky is far from being a “liberal”. Just the terrible thing happened – our society allowed them to believe in their own PR, in all the books they had written, in all the titles and awards they had received. They believed they were allowed to do anything.

We are living under totalitarianism. This renewed totalitarianism started much earlier than Vladimir Putin came to power, and is doing well under Putin’s rule. However, the latest events around YUKOS shareholders can change the established construction.

Russia cannot have the crisis of liberalism as we have never experienced liberalism in its traditional sense. Misters oligarchs declared the unlimited gangsterism of the Yeltsin’s epoch as liberalism.

We need not this kind of society, but really free and intelligent discussion. We, Russian citizens, can consider ourselves victims.

Whatever happens during the legal hearing on YUKOS, the truth will not be revealed. The crimes committed under the curtain of corruption and hidden by the “purchased” press, will remain unknown.

Petr Ermilin

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Author`s name Evgeniya Petrova