Russian oil tycoon involves USA in serious international scandal

The situation with Leonid Nevzlin's recent public appearance in the USA raises an obvious question

American officials obviously showed an inadequate reaction, when they gave Leonid Nevzlin (co-owner of Russian oil giant Yukos) certain promises. The fact of promises is evident – Mr. Nevzlin would not run his head into the noose otherwise. He apparently did not wish to strain his nerves with a demonstrative extradition to the detention center.

The notorious Russian oligarch, Leonid Nevzlin, who was put on the international wanted list in connection with a series of economic and criminal offences, called upon high-ranking US officials to exclude Russia from the Group of Eight. In addition, Mr. Nevzlin urged American officials not to make Russia a member of the World Trade Organization. The oligarch exemplified his statement with the recent real estate scandal, which occurred to Russia's ex-Prime Minister, Mikhail Kasyanov, and presented it as a separate link of one chain. Nevzlin stated publicly earlier, though, that he would support the ex-prime minister at the forthcoming presidential election in 2008.

The situation with Leonid Nevzlin's recent public appearance in the USA raises an obvious question: why does a separate natural person (it does not matter that it is a wealthy person) instruct the world power on what it should and should not do? That was the essence of Mr. Nevzlin's speech in Washington. According to the oligarch's opinion, the USA and other G8 members should not let Russia chair the club, taking account of the current situation in the country. “Does Russia deserve the WTO membership?” Nevzlin asked afterwards.

The fact of the doubtful speech delivered to a group of US congressmen in USA's capital has occurred. What's going to be next?

The position, in which the USA found itself in, is easy to imagine. Ostentatious games to protect democracy and economic freedom played by certain persons have virtually set US President Bush up. Other high-ranking officials, including member of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, found themselves in an awkward position as well: nine senators, nine congressmen and spokespeople for the US State Department, the Pentagon and the Department of Commerce.

It goes without saying that the Russian embassy in Washington demanded the US State Department should deliver Leonid Nevzlin. The claim to extradite the Russian oil tycoon was based on severe criminal charges, not just financial fraud accusations. The oligarch became internationally wanted in connection with murder and attempted assassination charges. A Moscow court issued a warrant to arrest Yukos's main shareholder [Nevzlin] almost a year ago.

This is the portrait of the person, whom influential US officials planned to defend, being guided with one-sided and unsubstantiated information of a professional spin doctor, a master of working with various audiences. One has to give Mr. Nevzlin credit for his eloquence and the choice of words, though.

The superpower has faced the danger of being involved in an international scandal, which will touch upon not only US-Russian relations, but US-European relations as well. It is especially dangerous at present time, when the European community is deeply concerned about security issues. The leaders and the society of the Old World have always linked the private capital of petrodollars with a potential terrorist threat.

Leonid Nevzlin's disguised anti-Semitism may bring even more trouble to the USA. Thinking highly of himself, Nevzlin apparently managed to sort Russian Jews into “proper,” who stand against Putin, and “improper” ones, who are not Jews at all for they come to terms with KGB. A lot of outstanding Russian personas of the Jewish origin, who have numerous fans in the USA, found themselves in the “improper” category, according to Mr. Nevzlin's classification: song-writer Vladimir Shainsky, singer Alexander Rosenbaum and actor Alexander Kalyagin.

It is noteworthy that the Jewish subject is extremely important for the USA: this nation makes a considerable share in the structure of the American population.

One may thus infer that the USA was given a criminal and anti-Semitic surprise in the face of Leonid Nevzlin. It is highly unlikely that the US administration will manage to smooth out all the consequences in the nearest future.

Why did Leonid Nevzlin visit the USA? Was he pursuing one-day fame and an opportunity to cause an international scandal? To all appearance, the answer is simple: offense is the best defense, especially when the latter has been exhausted and wasted. 

On the photo: Leonid Nevzlin

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Author`s name Olga Savka