Mikhail Khodorkovsky was one of Russia’s richest men, and among them all, possibly the most above board. Yet Putin’s Kremlin Kriminals, in 2003, used trumped up tax evasion charges to effectively steal his company and toss Khodorkovsky in prison, where he still remains. His real crime was funding political opposition to Putin.
Sergei Magnitsky wasn’t so lucky. His “crime” was to expose massive official corruption, which resulted in those selfsame officials imprisoning him, where he does not still remain. The 37 year old lawyer died in his cell in 2009.
But the Putin regime isn’t letting this case rest. No sirree, they’re determined to get to the bottom of the crimes in question – by putting Magnitsky on trial, despite having already murdered him. And when America adopted sanctions on the Kremlin Krooks deemed responsible, their retaliatory response was to ban adoption of Russian children by Americans.
Now we have Alexei Navalny. This courageous political blogger too was very effective in exposing official corruption, and played a leading role in last year’s anti-Putin demonstrations. So Russia’s judicial system has set about prosecuting – no, not the corrupt officials Navalny fingered, don’t be silly – why, Navalny, of course. He’s on trial now for alleged embezzlement from a state timber company while he was advisor to a regional governor. As The Economist put it, that the company was actually paid for the timber in question, and there’s no evidence Navalny had a role in the transaction anyway, “seem to be details.” He faces up to 10 years in prison. Don’t bet on acquittal.
I had the privilege of visiting Russia when it was a free country. How thrilling that was. How tragic it is now. Martin Luther King once said the moral arc of the universe is long but it always bends toward justice. I have a dream – to see Russia again, and forevermore, free at last, free at last.