The Jewish Russian Mob
The Role of Politics in Contemporary Anti-Semitism.
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. September 15, 1999
"That Jews control a disproportionately large share of the Russian economy and Russian media certainly has some basis in fact. Between 50 and 80 percent of the Russian economy is said to be in Jewish hands, with the influence of the five Jews among the eight individuals commonly referred to as 'oligarchs' particularly conspicuous. (An oligarch is understood to be a member of a small group that exercises control in a government. The five oligarchs of Jewish descent are Boris Berezovsky, Mikhail Friedman, Vladimir Gusinsky, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and Alexander Smolensky. The other oligarchs are Vagit Alekperov, Vladimir Potanin, and Rem Vyakhirev.) Perhaps the most famous (and simultaneously the most infamous) of the oligarchs is Boris Berezovsky. In common with most of the other Jewish oligarchs, Berezovsky controls industries in three critical areas: the extraction and sale of a major natural resource, such as oil, as a source of great wealth; a large bank (useful in influencing industry and transferring assets abroad); and several major media outlets (useful for exerting influence and attacking rivals). He also controls a significant share of the Aeroflot airline and the Moscow automobile industry."
Red Mafiya: How the Russian Mob Has Invaded America.
New York Review of Books, November 16, 2000 [book review, posted at Center for Defense Information/Johnson's Russia List]
"Whatever the American laws, a successful campaign against Russian mobsters will require the cooperation of other governments, particularly those of Russia and Israel, the two countries that are now the principal residences of most Russian crime bosses ...'Of all the nations where the Russian mob has established a presence, none has been more deeply compromised than the State of Israel,' [Robert] Friedman writes, adding that the Russian mafia has 'become a grave threat to the stability of Israel.' Although this may be a bit hyperbolic, the Russian mafia does have a strong, safe base in Israel -- a story that American and Israeli journalists have largely overlooked. One FBI report observes, for example, that most members of Mogilevich's criminal organization have Israeli passports. And Jonathan Winer told Friedman (when Winer was still the State Department's crime expert), 'There is not a major Russian organized crime figure whom we are tracking who does not also carry an Israeli passport.'"
'Jews Are Fighting and the Whole Country Has To Watch' Jews in Power or Jewish Power? The Captains of Russia's Post-Communist Economy Invited Uneasy Questions,
[Jewish] Forward, September 13, 2002
[Review of: The Oligarchs: Wealth and Power in the New Russia, by David E. Hoffman],
"Sometime during the autumn of 1996, a small group of the most powerful men in Russia gathered in a villa on Moscow's Sparrow Hills district and worried aloud about antisemitism. They were Russia's famous 'oligarchs,' men who, in the aftermath of communism's fall, ran banks, oil companies, television stations and, increasingly, the country, and they had reason to worry: Most of them were Jews. 'In earlier years, when the moguls gathered to talk or make deals, when they dined in the villa on Sparrow Hills, or when they entered the Kremlin to warn Yeltsin, they were largely hidden from public view,' writes former Washington Post Moscow correspondent David E. Hoffman in his recent book, 'The Oligarchs: Wealth and Power in the New Russia.' But in the autumn of 1996, it was no longer possible to conceal their ambition and their presence in the highest councils of the state. They worried, among themselves, about a backlash. The threat of an antisemitic uprising never materialized. The oligarchs, and Jews in general, are frequent targets of the nationalist press, and extremist firebrands still occasionally call out their names in public, but the Russian street has yet to take up calls for their blood ... If the book has a flaw, however, it is in not answering one of the central questions it raises: Why is it, and what does it mean, that so many of these men - men who ruthlessly acquired and manipulated Russia's resources and, for a time, its government - are Jewish? Of the six main characters in the book, four are Jews: Boris Berezovsky, now exiled and wanted at home for corruption, who at one point owned everything from auto-makers and airlines to banks and a TV network and earned the moniker 'Godfather of the Kremlin'; Vladimir Gusinsky, banker turned media-magnate whose quarrels with President Vladimir Putin sent him into exile; Alexander Smolensky, perhaps Russia's most notorious banker, the collapse of whose bank in 1998 wiped out thousands of people's savings, and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, leader of Russia's second-biggest oil company, who survived political scandals and the collapse of his own bank. The other two - Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov and reformist-politician-turned-energy-czar Anatoly Chubais - are not Jewish, though that hasn't stopped nationalists from making accusations about Jewish heritage. (The book's index, meanwhile, contains at least another 25 prominent Russian Jews, including tycoons Roman Abramovich, Pyotr Aven and Mikhail Friedman and politicians Yegor Gaidar, Boris Nemtsov, Yury Skuratov and Bella Zlatkis.) They were, by and large, men who learned early how to manipulate the system. Gusinsky bought copper wire on the black market to make the bracelets that funded his first fortune. Berezovsky did a brisk shuttle trade in German cars and Italian computers. Khodorkovsky used connections in the Communist Youth League to finagle lucrative software contracts ... . But by 1996, some of the oligarchs were beginning to worry. Nationalist politicians on the left and right were decrying what they called the theft of Russia's industry and the 'oligarch Yids' who engineered it ... Between them, Berezovsky and Gusinsky controlled the country's two biggest television stations, the leading news radio station and several of the largest newspapers and magazines. The fact was that the media in Russia was controlled by Jews; antisemites didn't really care which Jews in particular. Even mainstream politicians such as former Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin didn't really like the idea; when Berezovsky and Gusinsky were embroiled in one of their public quarrels, broadcast for all to see on their respective television stations, Chernomyrdin said, 'Two Jews are fighting and the whole country has to watch." For anyone familiar with Russian history, the road from scandal to pogrom would have seemed perilously short. Awareness of that history led the oligarchs in contradictory directions. On that fall evening in Sparrow Hills, the attendees - Berezovsky, Friedman, Gusinsky, Khodorkovsky and Smolensky - collectively decided that masking their Jewish identities would be the best option. A non-Jewish oligarch, Vladimir Potanin, was chosen to be their public liaison to government. Berezovsky was soon seen wearing a cross and attending Russian Orthodox churches. Still, no matter how hard they tried to distance themselves from Judaism, until very recently a glance at their passports would have given them away [i.e., Israeli passports]. And yet less than a year earlier Friedman had joined Gusinsky and a handful of other prominent Jewish businessman in organizing the Russian Jewish Congress. Outwardly, the congress's aim was that of any Jewish group anywhere - to support synagogues, schools and other religious and cultural activities. But, according to Boris Usherenko, a Russian actor turned Jewish activist and journalist who documents his stint as the first executive secretary of the Russian Jewish Congress in his self-published book, 'My Jewish Fate,' fear of antisemitism also played a part. At one of the congress's early planning sessions in late 1995, Usherenko writes, the founders' purposes were bluntly, if awkwardly, put. 'Fiery speeches were made. [Chief Rabbi Adolf Shayevich] inspiringly contrasted the depressing past with the shining future. [Gusinsky] expressed his nostalgia for the old rusty pipe he used as a boy to beat antisemites. I remember [one attendee's] fierce defense of his ideal - Jews with machine guns.' It was not, however, the first time Jews were attacked for being at the vanguard of a tumultuous revolution. Before and after 1917, nationalists pointed to the heavy Jewish presence in the Bolshevik leadership, from Trotsky on down. Even today, Lenin's guttural 'r' - the key element of what Russians refer to as 'the Jewish accent' - is a running joke among Russian satirists; at least one of Lenin's grandparents was Jewish, which, as the satirists point out, would have made him eligible for aliya [immigration to Israel]."
More information on the "Russian mafia" here and here.
Russia's Oil Czar Looks West,
Bloomberg Markets Magazine, July 2002
[Article about Jewish Russian mogul Mikhail Khodorkovsky, in pdf form]
"With 3.5 billion barrels of oil reserves, Priobskoye is a black gold mine for Mikhail Khodorkovsky, chief executive and main shareholder of AO Yukos Oil Co., Russia's second- largest oil producer ... Khodorkovsky is one of the so-called oligarchs who took control of state assets after the collapse of the Soviet Union and oversaw some of Russia’s worst violations of shareholder rights. Amid the country's financial crisis in 1998 and 1999, Khodorkovsky transferred stakes in Yukos subsidiaries to off-shore tax havens like the Isle of Man and Cyprus."
Open Russia Foundation,
[At least three of the posted four Board Members of this organization are members of international Jewry: Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, and Lord Jacob Rothschild
THE MEN WHO REALLY RULE RUSSIA,
New Statesman, 08/28/98
"Boris Yeltsin's quixotic decision this week to bring back the prime minister he so ignominiously dismissed just five months ago makes him look like a modern-day tsar. But Kremlin omnipotence is a myth and its governments a constitutional facade -- the outgoing one has been aptly described as 'a virtual government'. The truth about Russia is that it is ruled, not by Yeltsin or any of his ministers, but by a handful of men with almost no formal political role: the half-dozen businessmen who call themselves 'the oligarchs' ... Their elder statesman is Boris Berezovsky, a mysterious mathematician-turned-car-salesman-turned-financier, who is the only one to occupy a state post, albeit a rather minor one. Three others head conglomerates with businesses ranging from banking to oil: Vladimir Potanin [of the 'oligarchs' here noted, only Potanin isn't Jewish], head of the Interros group, Mikhail Khodorkovsky of the Rosprom empire, and Mikhail Friedman of the Alfa group. Vladimir Gussinsky has a bank, too, but his strength is his vast media kingdom. Aleksandr Smolensky, the weakest of the gang, controls the huge but struggling SBSAgro retail bank. With the exception of Berezovsky, who seems to relish the limelight, all these men insist that they are humble businessmen, with diverging interests and no direct purchase on the Kremlin. This has a grain of truth: the oligarchs are not always united (indeed, their quarrels have gone so far as to include allegations that two of them once tried to have one another assassinated) and their influence over the government waxes and wanes. But even with these qualifications, it is striking to what extent Russia's oligarchs have grouped themselves into a capitalist cabal beyond the wildest imaginings of the most fevered Soviet propagandist. In times of crisis, like the current financial meltdown, the oligarchs are ever at the state's elbow. Late in the night on Sunday 16 August, as cabinet ministers put the frantic final touches on the devaluation and default they would announce the next day, the oligarchs flocked back from their Mediterranean holiday homes to keep vigil in the White House, the seat of the Russian government. A few days later, as I waited all afternoon for an interview that never happened, I watched the oligarchs, en masse, troop from a meeting with one deputy prime minister, to a meeting with another, to a meeting with the prime minister himself. Collectively, they have been conferring almost daily with the Central Bank chairman. And while the financial turmoil has highlighted differences of opinion and of economic interest among the oligarchs, they seem to have taken a conscious decision to present the world with a common front ... This week three of the most powerful corporate empires -- Interros, Rosprom and Most -- announced they would consolidate their troubled banking arms into a single bank, to be owned and controlled equally by each member of the troika. Certainly, the oligarchs carry all the visible symbols of their quasi-ministerial status. Their sleek Mercedes and Land Cruisers all sport the blue flashing lights and special licence plates that the state issues to its highest officials, granting immunity from the traffic laws and traffic jams which hem in lesser Muscovites. Russia's corporate politburo had its economic genesis in 1995, with the loans-for-shares privatisation scheme, a bizarre programme that transferred control of some of Russia's choicest companies to a handful of corporate insiders at knockdown prices. But it took the 1996 presidential elections to elevate these barons into the nation's kingmakers. Less than six months before the ballot, Yeltsin's campaign was being run by feuding and corrupt Kremlin courtiers, and a communist victory seemed assured. But then, after a late-night meeting in an Alpine restaurant during the "businessmen's summit" -- the World Economic Forum conference in Davos, Switzerland -- the oligarchs stepped in. They masterminded and bankrolled Yeltsin's political comeback; they seconded their smartest executives to work flailhme on the elections; and they transformed their television stations into presidential propaganda machines. Their weekly meetings which included a rollcall detailing who had spent what on the president's behalf became the guiding force of Yeltsin's reelection drive. By the time Yeltsin had beaten the odds and triumphed over his communist opponent, the oligarchs had been born ... By choosing to surrender the electoral process to the oligarchs in 1996, the Kremlin created their political power."
[The Jewish Lobby's social engineering to veil popular recognition of what is happening in Russia:]
ADL, Russian Law Enforcement Exchange Information,
Anti-Defamation League, November 13, 2002
"The Anti-Defamation League has established a partnership with Russian militia officers, government officials, educators and non-profit leaders through 'Climate of Trust' (COT), a program aimed at fighting intolerance in the former Soviet Union through hate and bias crime training. In August of this year, ADL leaders and educators met with a Russian delegation during a weeklong visit to San Francisco. The in-depth training included visits to police stations, government buildings, courts, and non-profit agencies, where trainers from the San Francisco Police Department, as well as the San Francisco District Attorney's Office and ADL, spoke to participants about United States law and the structure of our justice system. Following that presentation, ADL shared its expertise and materials on combating hate groups and extremists, and trainers from the A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE ™ Institute demonstrated the need to educate children about bias and encourage adults to look at their own prejudice. In turn, the Russian delegation shared its efforts to combat and respond to acts of xenophobia and intolerance ... COT is organized by the Bay Area Council for Jewish Rescue and Renewal, BACJRR, and operates in cooperation with the United States Department of State and the Russian Federation government. Partners in this program include the Anti-Defamation League, The San Francisco Police Department, the San Francisco District attorney's office, as well as a San Francisco Superior Court Judge and an Administrative Law Judge from the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing. As a result of COT, new programs adapted from the hate crimes and tolerance curriculum were established in a number of Russian police academies and schools."
"World On Fire" by Amy Chua. A new book argues that when Third World countries embrace democracy and free markets too quickly, ethnic hatred and even genocide can result, by Michelle Goldberg, Salon.com, Jan. 13, 2003
"The case Amy Chua makes in 'World On Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability' is so clear and persuasive it almost seems as if it had been obvious all along. Yet her argument, that rapid switches to majoritarian rule and free-market democracy in many Third World countries benefit certain ethnic groups over others and lead to vicious sectarian strife, is quite new, if occasionally overstated ... 'World On Fire' is about a phenomenon Chua calls 'market-dominant minorities,' groups like the Chinese in Southeast Asia, Jews in Russia, whites in Zimbabwe and Indians in East Africa and Fiji. Market-dominant minorities control hugely disproportionate percentages of their countries' resources ... Jews make up a similarly tiny proportion of Russia's population, but of the seven 'oligarchs' who control virtually all of the country's business, six are Jewish ... It's enormously touchy to talk about the economic element of communal violence, especially regarding Jews, since rhetoric about one ethnic group exploiting another is so often a precursor to atrocity. But that's exactly why Chua's book feels so urgent. No matter how politically incorrect it is to talk about, her book makes clear that minority market domination is a reality in much of the world, one that's tied up in many ways with smoldering group hatreds and explosions of mass slaughter, and one that's made worse by Western policies. Chua, a professor at Yale Law School, is a careful, precise writer, and she makes it very clear that she's not blaming prosperous ethnic groups for violence directed against them, or blaming capitalism alone for fomenting genocide ... 'The point, rather, is this,' she writes. 'In the numerous countries around the world that have pervasive poverty and a market-dominant minority, democracy and markets -- at least in the form in which they are currently being promoted -- can proceed only in deep tension with each other. In such conditions, the combined pursuit of free markets and democratization has repeatedly catalyzed ethnic conflict in highly predictable ways. This has been the sobering lesson of globalization in the last twenty years' ... The reasons for Jewish economic success are more mysterious -- especially in Russia, where they've been repeatedly subjected to vicious pogroms -- and 'World On Fire' does little to illuminate them. Chua is less interested in how minority groups come to dominate than what happens when they do. She argues that when economic liberalization and democracy are rapidly introduced to countries with market-dominant minorities, the two forces necessarily come into conflict. 'Markets concentrate enormous wealth in the hands of an 'outsider' minority, fomenting ethnic envy and hatred among often chronically poor majorities,' she writes. 'Introducing democracy in these circumstances does not transform voters into open-minded cocitizens in a national community. Rather, the competition for votes fosters the emergence of demagogues who scapegoat the resented minority and foment active ethnonationalist movements demanding that the country's wealth and identity be reclaimed by the 'true owners of the nation.'"
Mark Rich Helped KGB Create Hidden Government,
Newsmax, Saturday, March 31, 2001
"Mark Rich, the most-wanted fugitive pardoned by former President Clinton, was a key figure in the Communist Party and the KGB's creation of an underground government that survived the break-up of the Soviet Union and still rules Russia today behind the scenes. As previously reported by NewsMax.com., in 1983, the year Rich fled the U.S. to avoid prosecution, he took advantage of the grain embargo imposed on the USSR by the United States because of their war in Afghanistan. Rich ignored the embargo and imported grain into the Soviet Union, winning friends in the Soviet hierarchy with whom he would ally himself when the Communist government collapsed. According to NewsMax.com sources, from then on Rich was guided in his business dealings 'by the Communist Party and KGB senior figures. Everybody in that carousel, commie and KGB got personal benefits ... commissions in Western accounts.' Thanks to the influence he gained from sharing his profits with Party and KGB officials, Rich was drawn into the inner reaches of the hierarchy that ruled the Soviet union and was included in the creation of the sinister, behind-the-scenes government that was designed to outlive the deliberate dismantling of the Soviet Union. According to Dr. Joseph D. Douglas, an expert in national security matters and a former official of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) of the Defense Department, Rich played an important part in the deception that allowed the old Communist apparatus to maintain its grip on Russia and the rest of the old Soviet Union after the so-called collapse of communist rule. In an interview with the current New American magazine, Dr. Douglas, an expert on international organized crime and its role in long-term Soviet/Russian strategy, made the startling revelation that "No revolution took place in Russia or the other Soviet "republics" that would account for the sudden dismantling of the Soviet state. Nothing forced the Communist Party of the Soviet Union [CPSU] to relinquish its monopoly on power. In fact, what the CPSU did was diversify its holdings, rather than dispense with its monopoly.' Douglas said that Communist Party bosses surreptitiously 'either created new parties, or took over the leadership of existing ones.' He said that years before the 'end' of the Soviet Union the CPSU and the KGB 'set up all of the structures of what they call the 'invisible party economy.' This was already going on in the early 1980s, even before Gorbachev came along with his 'reforms.'' Because of the hidden superstructure Rich and his KGB colleagues created, members of the Communist nomenklatura had put themselves in a position to become the masters of the new, "privatized" economy."
[Another apolegetic for Jewish wealth and power and Russia. These many Jewish billionaires are just "fronts," you see, for the real bad guys. As always, even the fabulously wealthy Jews -- most with ties to the Jewish "Russian" mafia -- who have shaped post-commuist Russia are depicted as victims,]
The Jews and The Bicycle Riders,
by Dr. Gary K. Busch, Pravda (Russia), July 26, 2003
"My grandmother, from Kovno, had a standard response to weighty matters of social and political policy. She would say ?I suspect it's all the fault of the Jews and the bicycle riders.' When people would ask 'Why the bicycle riders?' she would reply 'Why the Jews?' In the current discussion about the deteriorating fate of the 'oligarchs' in Russia the unspoken question is not about the bicycle riders. The question, to put it as a Russian euphemism, is a line five question. This refers to line five of the internal passport which deals with nationality; e.g. 'Jew'. There are a number of very good reasons why it is the Jewish oligarchs that are feeling the cool breeze from St. Petersburg and Moscow. First it was Gusinsky and Berezovsky and now the pressure is spreading to Khodorkovsky, and Abramovitch. The answer, in short, is the real powers behind the process of capital accumulation, the KGB and the 'Old Guard', no longer think they need to use them as an acceptable front. The elevation of Putin and many of those who have accompanied him have convinced them that there is no longer any need to mask who really has power, both economic and political, in Russia. There are many in Russia, let alone abroad, who may not understand why so many of today's oligarchs are Jews. This is to use the Russian line five classification of Jew which has nothing to do with faith or observance but is an inherited ethnic and nationality distinction. These Jews are oligarchs because they were chosen to be oligarchs and set up in business by the Chekists and the boys from the Aquarium for this purpose. I can only extrapolate from my own experiences in Russia in the early 1990's, helping to set up the trade in non-ferrous metals with the West ... The KGB and its allies, under Silayev and Kryuchkov, set up a system in which loyal and trusted members of the Komsomol system and friendly businessmen could form their own banks v Russian banks. Men like Khodorkovsky, Aven, Fridman and others were chosen and set up in the money business. They used the banks to channel the returning Mafia money into long-term businesses. With few exceptions, those chosen for this were all Jews. When Western pioneers like Marc Rich, David Reuben, Gerry Lennard or Jerry Cligman agreed to work within this system by creating the -tolling business, they were given a kick start of roubles to help pay for the initial costs of the tolling system, They, too, were mainly Jews, albeit foreign Jews. Between these two groups there was another layer of 'facilitators'; people who knew the parallel system. They set up the deals. They traded the hard earned cash from aluminium into cigarettes and vodka which could be brought back into Russia and sold for cash, providing liquidity to the system. These facilitators were among the first private businessmen in Russia. They had ties to the very independent private sector who had access to the raw materials and the internal organizations which could deliver on the agreements made; the Izmailova (the late Anton Malevksy), Soltsnevo, Long Pond groups to name but a few. The facilitators included the Chernoy brothers (Mischa and Lev), Sam Kislin, and the 'institutionals' Gregory Luchansky, Semyon Mogilevich (Lyubarsky and Long Pond) or Vadim Rabinovich in the Ukraine. Most of these, too, were Jews. Without these men the Russification of Russia couldn-t have taken place. They provided the only working system in Russia."
Jewish capital is good for Russia, Jewish politics less so,
By Eliahu Salpeter, Haaretz (Israel), August 17, 2003
"Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the wealthiest man in Russia, is under investigation. It's Anti-Semitism again, say Jewish sources It is doubtful whether there are many Jews in the world the value of whose assets reach $5 billion. Certainly, there is no other Jew who can afford to lose a billion dollars and still be the richest man in Russia. Mikhail Khodorkovsky, 39, looks in photographs (depending on the angle) like a young Shas politico or like a successful Wall Street investment consultant. According to Fortune magazine, Khodorkovsky controls 16 percent of the shares in the company Yukos and owns more than half of them personally. Yukos is said to be worth $15-20 billion, and with the completion of the deal to acquire the Sibneft, which was signed about three months ago, it will become the third-largest oil company in the world, and the largest in Russia. The troubles started for Yukos (and Khodorkovsky) at the beginning of July, when the police arrested his aide and chief ally, Platon Lebedev, and accused him of fraud, forgery and tax violations and also interrogated (but did not arrest) Khodorkovsky himself. About two weeks ago, the General Prosecutor's Office announced that it had also opened an investigation of five murders or attempted murders of officials and businessmen at odds with the company. In Moscow, it's said, the police are investigating Khodorkovsky's aides but are aiming at him; the authorization for the investigation was given by President Vladimir Putin. The burning question in Moscow is what lies behind the investigation? Maybe the Kremlin is embarking on a new hunt of the "oligarchs," the very wealthy Russians who made their fortunes during the Nineties' privatization ... The Jews in Russia are, of course, concerned about whether there are anti-Semitic elements in the affair. Of the dozen or so Russian billionaires who made their fortunes during the past decade, seven were Jewish. Three of them have already been deposed from heading their companies and pushed out of Russia as well - Aleksandr Smolensky, the crash of whose bank in 1998 led to the worst financial crash in the post-Communist era; Boris Berezovsky, "the Kremlin godfather," whose demonstrative conversion to Christianity proved to be of no avail; and Vladimir Gusinsky, who was not helped by his demonstrative Jewishness as chairman of the Jewish Congress in Russia. Four remain: Khodorkovsky, bankers Pyotr Aven and Mikhai Fridman and the current media star of the oligarchs, Roman Abramovich - among other things, the main owner of Sibneft - who is considered the richest man in Russia after Khodorkovsky. ... Aleksandr Osovtsov, former vice president of the Jewish Congress in Russia says the anti-Semitism in the affair is clear. The same team from the Prosecutor General's Office that in its day forced Gusinsky to leave Russia is active now and by chance or not, Gusinsky was one of the financial supporters of the Jewish Congress and Khodorkovsky is also among its supporters. Chelsea's new owner In recent weeks international attention has been accorded to the seventh of the Jewish oligarchs, Roman Abramovich, who purchased the English soccer team Chelsea for about $200 million ... The patronage of Berezovsky (who at the time still enjoyed the support of the Kremlin) helped him acquire, for the paltry sum of about $100 million, dozens of local oil companies and to build from them the huge Sibneft company. In 2002, the profits of Sibneft came to $1.1 billio ... The Khodorkovsky affair gives rise to a more realistic question: Is there a likelihood that influential Jews in Moscow, oligarchs and politicians, will be able in the foreseeable future to help Israel in the Kremlin? Their relative weight is no less than the weight of Jews in the upper reaches of the American economy."
St. Petersburg Jews jolted by stiff sentence for local leader,
By Lev Krichevsky, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, August 21, 2003
"The stiff prison sentence handed down to Russian businessman and Jewish leader Mikhail Mirilashvili is sending shock waves through Russia’s second-largest Jewish community. On Aug. 1, the Leningrad District Military Court in St. Petersburg sentenced the local business magnate and Jewish philanthropist to 12 years in a high-security prison. Mirilashvili, 43, has spent the last 30 months in jail on charges of creating a criminal gang, kidnapping and attempted murder. The verdict, handed down the same day as the sentencing, cleared the businessman of the attempted murder charge but found him guilty of trespassing, kidnapping and detaining persons against their will ... Mirilashvili has served as president of the [Russian Jewish Congress] RJC’s St. Petersburg branch since the group’s founding in 1996. He retained his post after he was imprisoned in January of 2001. The group says that despite his imprisonment, Mirilashvili still remains the largest local supporter of the Jewish community. Last year, the RJC raised $350,000 in St. Petersburg, according to the group’s 2002 annual report. RJC president Yevgeny Satanovsky said most of the money had been a donation from Mirilashvili. “Despite his imprisonment, he remains one of the most affluent people in St. Petersburg,” Satanovsky said. A native of the former Soviet republic of Georgia, Mirilashvili is said to have a wide range of business interests in St. Petersburg, including casinos, real estate, retail, entertainment and hotel businesses. The businessman, who has never been shy about his Jewish background, holds Russian and Israeli citizenship and used to divide his time between St. Petersburg and Tel Aviv. His 18-year-old son, Slava, recently graduated from an English-language high school in Israel and will attend Tufts University near Boston this fall ... A week before his sentencing, Mirilashvili became embroiled in a public argument with another powerful Russian Jew, exiled tycoon Boris Berezovsky — who in the mid-1990s unsuccessfully tried to take over a local television station Mirilashvili ran. In an open letter published July 24 in the Moscow newspaper Kommersant Daily, Berezovsky accused Mirilashvili of being involved in an underhanded deal in the early 1990´s to privatize a St. Petersburg-based alcohol producer ,,, He also denied accusations by Berezovsky and others that he has ties to the criminal underworld. In the same letter, Mirilashvili accused Berezovsky of changing his religion to Orthodox Christianity after Berezovsky failed in an alleged attempt to become a leader of the Russian Jewish community."
[Gusinksky is just one of the Jewish Russian "oligarchs" who looted Russia. Boris Berezovsky is another Jewish media billionaire, also with Israeli citizenship, who fled that country.]
Ex-Russia Media Mogul Arrested in Greece,
By THEODORA TONGAS, Asbury Park Press (From Associated Press) August 24, 2003
"A former Russian media mogul who clashed with the Kremlin and fled under fraud accusations three years ago was in Greek custody after being arrested at the Athens airport. Vladimir Gusinsky, whose former empire included the independent NTV television station, was detained Thursday after arriving from Tel Aviv, Israel, where he has lived since April 2001. His name appeared on an Interpol wanted list for fraud in excess of $250 million, airport authorities said Saturday. Gusinsky, who became one of Russia's best-known oligarchs after the fall of communism, is scheduled to appear before a Greek prosecutor Monday. Russia initially sought Gusinsky on charges of misrepresenting the assets of his company Media-Most to obtain a $262 million loan from the government-controlled gas giant Gazprom. It later added allegations of money laundering ... Gusinsky, who holds Russian and Israeli passports, claims the charges against him are politically motivated. He was arrested in December 2000 at his home in Spain, but a Spanish court refused to extradite him, saying the grounds for the case wouldn't amount to a crime in Spain. Gusinsky then moved to Israel."
[More about the oppressed Jews of "antisemitic" Russia:]
ALONG THE TRANS-SIBERIAN RAILROAD. Thanks to prominent locals, city sees revival in Jewish expression,
By Adam B. Ellick, Jewish Telegraphic Agency
"Simon Spector has thick, expressive eyebrows and a heavily wrinkled forehead. But the 67-year-old’s portrait won’t be gracing the cover of any fund-raising brochures depicting elderly, impoverished Russian Jews slurping borsht at a soup kitchen. The dapperly dressed Spector is the antithesis of a needy Russian Jew. He is a man in power, representative of a disproportionately high number of prominent local Jews who are revealing their ethnic roots and transforming the face of Russian Jewry — though it’s not clear how willing they are to use their clout in support of local Jewish life. Spector is the deputy governor for the Sverdlovsk region, an influential area of 4.5 million in Russia’s Ural Mountains, where Europe and Asia meet. Yekaterinburg, the regional center and Russia’s third largest city, is home to just 13,000 Jews, or 0.05 percent of the population. “There’s a myth in Israel that Russian Jews cannot be powerful people. Israeli doctors come here and cannot believe I’m Jewish,” says Spector, who heads the local veterans hospital. “The governor tells me to go to Israel, recruit 30,000 Jews and bring them here, because we’re such good leaders.” Three other Jews also serve as deputy governors, including the health and property ministers. There are 10 Jewish cultural directors in the region, including the head of the Yekaterinburg Philharmonic Orchestra and Russia’s Motion Picture Union. Other prominent local Jews include the head coach of the Russian chess team, the dean of the local university, Yekaterinburg’s chief cardiologist, the region’s chief doctor, who oversees 33 hospitals, and dozens of businessmen, including a bank president. Indeed, Yekaterinburg can be seen as a microcosm of Russia, where five of 12 owners or majority stockholders of the largest industrial or financial institutions are Jewish — a considerable number for Russia, where Jews make up less than 2 percent of the population ... Domnich and Yekaterinburg’s Hillel director cannot cite any specific support, but the government gave the ambitious Ashkenazi — a Chabad rabbi who enjoys close ties with the Kremlin — a free, 45,000-square-foot plot of land in the city center to build a $1.6 million community center and synagogue. They currently are under construction after four years of delays. What’s more, the separate Jewish day school that Ashkenazi runs is tax- and rent-free. The new complex will be Russia’s largest Jewish center outside of Moscow and will house two mikvahs, a gym, a weight room, a pool, a medical center, a library, a computer lab, a music studio and study rooms."
[The two richest Russians today, Roman Abramovich and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, are Jewish. So are the below mentioned Russian billionaire fugitives Boris Berezovsky and Vladimir Gusinsky. All looters of Russia. All "gangster capitalists." All with dual citizenship: Russian and Israeli.]
Boyish Billionaire Turns His Sights Outside Russia As Others Face Probes, Abramovich Sells Assets,
By Peter Baker, Washington Post, September 5, 2003; Page A12
"One sits in prison, another just got out on bail, a third awaits extradition hearings. But while many Russian tycoons face legal pressure from their government, Roman Abramovich passes time in the director's boxes at British stadiums, leaping to his feet in triumph, burying his face in disappointment, relishing each kick by the London soccer team he has just bought. Life as a British sports magnate seems to agree with Abramovich, a boyish orphan-turned-billionaire with designer stubble on his chin. Between soccer matches, he retires to his 450-acre English country estate and considers which British schools his children should attend while accountants back in Moscow unload more of his assets. Abramovich, Russia's second-richest man and the quietest of the men known as oligarchs who once seemed to run the country, appears to be extricating himself from the tangled and untamed business-political world in his home country, where many of his peers find themselves the target of criminal investigations. With Russian parliamentary elections scheduled for December and a presidential election next March, Abramovich hopes to avoid the fate of other business leaders who play the role of villain in many campaigns .. Now 36, he is worth $5.7 billion, according to Forbes magazine, making him one of the world's 50 richest people. President Vladimir Putin's government seems to be renewing a campaign against the oligarchs as the elections draw nearer. Prosecutors this summer opened eight investigations into the Yukos oil company and associates of its chief executive, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the only Russian with more money than Abramovich. Khodorkovsky's adviser and fellow billionaire, Platon Lebedev, was arrested on fraud charges and was ordered held until Oct. 30. Khodorkovsky was called in for questioning. Abramovich's estranged partner, Boris Berezovsky, who had fled Russia, faces an extradition hearing in Britain in October. And another self-exiled tycoon, Vladimir Gusinsky, was detained in Greece and released on bond pending a Russian extradition request. For a time, rumors swirled that Abramovich was next, but nothing has come of it. Abramovich eschews public talk of political maneuvering and instead focuses with childlike delight on the joys of buying virtually any soccer player he likes and soaking up the novelty of part-time life in the West ... Abramovich recently said he would not seek a second term as governor of Chukotka, a barren Arctic region across the Bering Strait from Alaska and home to more reindeer than people. Abramovich won the governorship in 2000 promising to transform the destitute wasteland where winter lasts nine months. Since then, he has put $200 million of his own money into reviving Chukotka ... "It's not going to be better up here without him, that's for sure," Alexander Adelshtein, a spokesman for the district government, said by telephone. "It's natural to keep hoping to the end that he will change his mind." His recent transactions are yielding a massive cash windfall, much of it kept abroad. Last year Sibneft, which Abramovich and Berezovsky acquired from the state for $250 million in 1995, paid $1 billion in dividends to Abramovich and his remaining partners. Sibneft recently promised another $1 billion dividend this year. The sale to Yukos will bring in $3 billion more and his Russian Aluminum holdings are on the block for yet another $3 billion ... Abramovich bought the storied Chelsea soccer club in July, paying the equivalent of $94 million and assuming debt of $141 million. Since then he has gone on a spending spree, shelling out $150 million to secure some of the most talented players in the country in pursuit of the team's first league championship since 1955. Britain reacted to the purchase with a mixture of awe and dread. A member of Parliament questioned whether Abramovich was a "fit and proper person" to own a soccer club, given his emergence from Russia's gangster capitalism ... He already owns a Boeing Business Jet, the equivalent of a 737 airliner, and recently bought a 355-foot yacht. He has a 100-acre estate outside Moscow, a luxury apartment in St. Tropez and the estate in West Sussex south of London, with stables for 100 horses, two polo pitches, a swimming pool, tennis court, rifle ranges and go-kart track. He's selling a $7.9 million London apartment so he can get a bigger place."
Russian Jewry’s Point Man Feliks Frenkel is widely regarded as the chief liaison between his community and the Jewish establishment,
by Walter Ruby, The Jewish Week, September 19, 2003
"If any Russian Jew can claim to be an essential bridge between the Russian-speaking community of New York and the world of American Jewish philanthropy, Feliks Frenkel may be that person. Having risen in less than 25 years from a penniless immigrant from Kiev to a wealthy arbitrageur and considerable power within the world of Jewish philanthropy, the engaging 48-year-old Frenkel is widely seen as the Russian Jewish layperson who is best able to explain the needs and the general gestalt of the Russian community to the top leaders of UJA-Federation, and vice versa. Unlike other Russian Jewish millionaires in New York who tend to live and work in a largely Russian-speaking environment, Frenkel, who speaks fluent, lightly accented English, divides his time between his office in a thoroughly American corporate environment in Westchester County and a condominium on the Upper East Side he shares with his wife, Marina, and their two children. Yet Frenkel, who mainly socializes with fellow Russian Jews and has undertaken his philanthropic work within a specifically Russian Jewish context, says he sees his role as “not only bringing the message and expertise of UJA-Federation to the Russian community, but also bringing the soul of Russian Jewry to the mainstream community.” ... Frenkel says he has never had a problem relating to the lay leaders of the American Jewish establishment, in part because he is every bit as wealthy and powerful as they are ... Frenkel says he imbibes his strong ethic of responsibility to the Jewish community in his mother’s milk, noting that both of his parents considered it their responsibility to help fellow Jews in need back in Kiev ... After graduating in 1980, he submitted 100 resumes to Wall Street firms, including Bear Stearns, where someone showed his resume to the firm’s legendary CEO Alan “Ace” Greenberg. According to Frenkel, “Greenberg looked at my resume and noticed that I had studied at the University of Siberia. So he said, ‘I’ve hired people from all walks of life. I’ve had geniuses and embezzlers, undergraduates and PhDs. But I have never had anybody from the University of Siberia. Let’s give him the job.’ ” Just over a year later, however, Frenkel left Bear Stearns and joined the predecessor of OTA Limited Partnerships, a trading firm that specializes in corporate takeovers, as a research analyst in risk arbitrage ... Frenkel has always made it a point to live in Manhattan, which he calls “a lemon from which my wife and I try to squeeze as much juice as we can.”
[The Jewish Telegraph Agency noted that "Chubais is not ... open about his Jewish roots." [KRICHEVSKY, L., 5-23-99] You'll note that the blueprint for economic destruction and looting of Russia seems to have been a largely Jewish job. Chubais, Sachs, Lipton, Summers, Soros, etc. etc. etc.]
The Harvard Boys Do Russia,
by Janine R. Wedel, The Nation, May 14, 1998
"After seven years of economic "reform" financed by billions of dollars in U.S. and other Western aid, subsidized loans and rescheduled debt, the majority of Russian people find themselves worse off economically. The privatization drive that was supposed to reap the fruits of the free market instead helped to create a system of tycoon capitalism run for the benefit of a corrupt political oligarchy that has appropriated hundreds of millions of dollars of Western aid and plundered Russia's wealth. The architect of privatization was former First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais, a darling of the U.S. and Western financial establishments. Chubais's drastic and corrupt stewardship made him extremely unpopular. According to The New York Times, he "may be the most despised man in Russia." Essential to the implementation of Chubais's policies was the enthusiastic support of the Clinton Administration and its key representative for economic assistance in Moscow, the Harvard Institute for International Development. Using the prestige of Harvard's name and connections in the Administration, H.I.I.D. officials acquired virtual carte blanche over the U.S. economic aid program to Russia, with minimal oversight by the government agencies involved. With this access and their close alliance with Chubais and his circle, they allegedly profited on the side. Yet few Americans are aware of H.I.I.D.'s role in Russian privatization, and its suspected misuse of taxpayers' funds. At the recent U.S.-Russian Investment Symposium at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, Yuri Luzhkov, the Mayor of Moscow, made what might have seemed to many an impolite reference to his hosts. After castigating Chubais and his monetarist policies, Luzhkov, according to a report of the event, "singled out Harvard for the harm inflicted on the Russian economy by its advisers, who encouraged Chubais's misguided approach to privatization and monetarism." Luzhkov was referring to H.I.I.D. Chubais, who was delegated vast powers over the economy by Boris Yeltsin, was ousted in Yeltsin's March purge, but in May he was given an immensely lucrative post as head of Unified Energy System, the country's electricity monopoly. Some of the main actors with Harvard's Russia project have yet to face a reckoning, but this may change if a current investigation by the U.S. government results in prosecutions. The activities of H.I.I.D. in Russia provide some cautionary lessons on abuse of trust by supposedly disinterested foreign advisers, on U.S. arrogance and on the entire policy of support for a single Russian group of so-called reformers. The H.I.I.D. story is a familiar one in the ongoing saga of U.S. foreign policy disasters created by those said to be our "best and brightest." Through the late summer and fall of 1991, as the Soviet state fell apart, Harvard Professor Jeffrey Sachs and other Western economists participated in meetings at a dacha outside Moscow where young, pro-Yeltsin reformers planned Russia's economic and political future. Sachs teamed up with Yegor Gaidar, Yeltsin's first architect of economic reform, to promote a plan of "shock therapy" to swiftly eliminate most of the price controls and subsidies that had underpinned life for Soviet citizens for decades. Shock therapy produced more shock--not least, hyperinflation that hit 2,500 percent--than therapy. One result was the evaporation of much potential investment capital: the substantial savings of Russians. By November 1992, Gaidar was under attack for his failed policies and was soon pushed aside ... Print this article E-mail this article Write to the editors .I.I.D. had supporters high in the Administration. One was Lawrence Summers, himself a former Harvard economics professor, whom Clinton named Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs in 1993. Summers, now Deputy Treasury Secretary, had longstanding ties to the principals of Harvard's project in Russia and its later project in Ukraine. Summers hired a Harvard Ph.D., David Lipton (who had been vice president of Jeffrey D. Sachs and Associates, a consulting firm), to be Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary for Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. After Summers was promoted to Deputy Secretary, Lipton moved into Summers's old job, assuming "broad responsibility" for all aspects of international economic policy development. Lipton co-wrote numerous papers with Sachs and served with him on consulting missions in Poland and Russia. "Jeff and David always came [to Russia] together," said a Russian representative at the International Monetary Fund. "They were like an inseparable couple." Sachs, who was named director of H.I.I.D. in 1995, lobbied for and received U.S.A.I.D. grants for the institute to work in Ukraine in 1996 and 1997 ... Andrei Shleifer, a Russian-born émigré and already a tenured professor of economics at Harvard in his early 30s, became director of H.I.I.D.'s Russia project. Shleifer was also a protégé of Summers, with whom he received at least one foundation grant ... Another Harvard player was a former World Bank consultant named Jonathan Hay, a Rhodes scholar who had attended Moscow's Pushkin Institute for Russian Language. In 1991, while still at Harvard Law School, he had become a senior legal adviser to the G.K.I., the Russian state's new privatization committee; the following year he was made H.I.I.D.'s general director in Moscow. The youthful Hay assumed vast powers over contractors, policies and program specifics; he not only controlled access to the Chubais circle but served as its mouthpiece ... With help from his H.I.I.D. advisers and other Westerners, Chubais and his cronies set up a network of aid-funded "private" organizations that enabled them to bypass legitimate government agencies and circumvent the new parliament of the Russian Federation, the Duma. Through this network, two of Chubais's associates, Maxim Boycko (who co-wrote Privatizing Russia with Shleifer) and Dmitry Vasiliev, oversaw almost a third of a billion dollars in aid money and millions more in loans from international financial institutions ... The device of setting up private organizations backed by the power of the Yeltsin government and maintaining close ties to H.I.I.D. was a way of insuring deniability. Shleifer, Hay and other Harvard principals, all U.S. citizens, were "Russian" when convenient. Hay, for example, served alternately and sometimes simultaneously as aid contractor, manager of other contractors and representative of the Russian government ... Against the backdrop of Russia's Klondike capitalism, which they were helping create and Chubais and his team were supposedly regulating, the H.I.I.D. advisers exploited their intimate ties with Chubais and the government and were allegedly able to conduct business activities for their own enrichment. According to sources close to the U.S. government's investigation, Hay used his influence, as well as U.S.A.I.D.-financed resources, to help his girlfriend, Elizabeth Hebert, set up a mutual fund, Pallada Asset Management, in Russia ... After Pallada was set up, Hebert, Hay, Shleifer and Vasiliev looked for ways to continue their activities as aid funds dwindled. Using I.L.B.E. resources and funding, they established a private consulting firm with taxpayer money. One of the firm's first clients was Shleifer's wife, Nancy Zimmerman, who operated a Boston-based hedge fund that traded heavily in Russian bonds. According to Russian registration documents, Zimmerman's company set up a Russian firm with Sergei Shishkin, the I.L.B.E. chief, as general director. Corporate documents on file in Moscow showed that the address and phone number of the company and the I.L.B.E. were the same. Then there is the First Russian Specialized Depository, which holds the records and assets of mutual fund investors. This institution, funded by a World Bank loan, also worked to the benefit of Hay, Vasiliev, Hebert and another associate, Julia Zagachin. According to sources close to the U.S. government's investigation, Zagachin, an American married to a Russian, was selected to run the depository even though she lacked the required capital ... Anne Williamson, a journalist who specializes in Soviet and Russian affairs, details these and other conflicts of interest between H.I.I.D.'s advisers and their supposed clients--the Russian people--in her forthcoming book, How America Built the New Russian Oligarchy. For example, in 1995, in Chubais-organized insider auctions of prime national properties, known as loans-for-shares, the Harvard Management Company (H.M.C.), which invests the university's endowment, and billionaire speculator George Soros were the only foreign entities allowed to participate. H.M.C. and Soros became significant shareholders in Novolipetsk, Russia's second-largest steel mill, and Sidanko Oil, whose reserves exceed those of Mobil. H.M.C. and Soros also invested in Russia's high-yielding, I.M.F.-subsidized domestic bond market. Even more dubious, according to Williamson, was Soros's July 1997 purchase of 24 percent of Sviazinvest, the telecommunications giant, in partnership with Uneximbank's Vladimir Potanin. It was later learned that shortly before this purchase Soros had tided over Yeltsin's government with a backdoor loan of hundreds of millions of dollars while the government was awaiting proceeds of a Eurobond issue; the loan now appears to have been used by Uneximbank to purchase Norilsk Nickel in August 1997. According to Williamson, the U.S. assistance program in Russia was rife with such conflicts of interest involving H.I.I.D. advisers and their U.S.A.I.D.-funded Chubais allies, H.M.C. managers, favored Russian bankers, Soros and insider expatriates working in Russia's nascent markets ... Despite exposure of this corruption in the Russian media (and, far more hesitantly, in the U.S. media), the H.I.I.D.-Chubais clique remained until recently the major instrument of U.S. economic aid policy to Russia. It even used the high-level Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission, which helped orchestrate the cooperation of U.S.-Russian oil deals and the Mir space station. The commission's now-defunct Capital Markets Forum was chaired on the Russian side by Chubais and Vasiliev, and on the U.S. side by S.E.C. chairman Arthur Levitt Jr. and Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. Andrei Shleifer was named special coordinator to all four of the Capital Markets Forum's working subgroups. Hebert, Hay's girlfriend, served on two of the subgroups, as did the C.E.O.s of Salomon Brothers, Merrill Lynch and other powerful Wall Street investment houses. When The Nation contacted the S.E.C. for information about Capital Markets, we were told to call Shleifer for comment. Shleifer, who is under investigation by U.S.A.I.D.'s inspector general for misuse of funds, declined to be interviewed for this article. A U.S. Treasury spokesman said Shleifer and Hebert were appointed to Capital Markets by the Chubais group--specifically, according to other sources, by Dmitry Vasiliev."
Greek Court Rejects Russian Extradition,
Yahoo! News (from Associated Press), October 14, 2003
"A Greek appeals court on Tuesday rejected a Russian extradition request for media tycoon Vladimir Gusinsky, accused in his country of fraud and money laundering. In a hearing that lasted one minute, an appellate court judge threw out the Russian request after ruling that under Greek law the accusations did not constitute a crime as he had no outstanding debts to the Russian state. "I am satisfied with the court's decision," Gusinsky said without further comment. Gusinsky left the downtown Athens court in a jeep. He was expected to return to Israel, where he lives, later Tuesday, lawyers said. One of his lawyers, Antonis Vgontzas, said the court decision saved Greece from "an insane adventure." Gusinsky claimed the Russian accusations were part of a politically motivated vendetta for criticizing Moscow's leaders and their policies. He was arrested on Aug. 21 on his arrival from Israel. He was released on bail a week later and had since been staying at a luxury hotel in Athens. His $117,000 was returned. Last week Russian prosecutors — acting on the Greek court's request — sent additional documentation to bolster the extradition bid for Gusinsky, who once controlled Russia's influential NTV television network. Gusinsky contended the charges were engineered in retaliation for NTV's critical coverage of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the war in Chechnya. During a Sept. 29 hearing, a Greek prosecutor had described the extradition request as "unclear." Russia initially sought Gusinsky on charges of misrepresenting the assets of his company Media-Most to obtain a $262 million loan from the state-owned gas company Gazprom. It later added allegations of money laundering."
[Khodorkovsky -- along with Berezovsky, Gusinsky and other billionaire Jewish Russian robber barons wanted by Russian police -- is Jewish.]
Russia Arrests Head of Largest Oil Co.,
By DEBORAH SEWARD, Daily News, October 25, 2003
"Camouflaged special forces arrested Russia's richest man, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, at a Siberian airport on Saturday, and he was ordered jailed on charges of tax evasion and fraud. The dramatic arrest of the head of Russia's largest oil producer alarmed the country's business and political elite, with many analysts saying the actions against the oil company, Yukos, are a Kremlin-directed campaign to keep him out of politics. Khodorkovsky, who has openly funded opposition parties, is the latest of Russia's superrich oligarchs to be pursued by President Vladimir Putin's government. Tycoons Boris Berezovsky and Vladimir Gusinsky have gone into self-imposed exile to avoid criminal prosecution. For months, Russian prosecutors have been investigating officials and shareholders at Yukos, looking for evidence of tax evasion and theft of state property. With the pressure against him intesifying since the summer, Khodorkovsky has vowed that he would not be driven out of Russia like Berezovsky and Gusinsky, who also allege the Kremlin targeted their companies for political reasons."
Hard-labor sentence for Jewish tycoon,
by the Foreign Staff, Jewish Chronicle (UK, paper copy), August 8, 2003, p. 9
"The Deputy Head of the Russian Jewish Congress, Mikhail Mirilashvili, has been sentenced to 12 years in a hard-labor colony for kidnapping. He was found guilty by a military court in St. Petersbourg of organising the abduction of two Georgian businessmen alleged to have been involved in the August 2000 kidnapping of his father. Miralashvili's father was freed unharmed after one day. The Georgian's mutiliated bodies were found a year lter on the outskirts of the city ... The 12-year sentence came at the end of a two-and-a-half-year trial -- during which Mr. Mirilashvili, who also has Israeli citizenship, has run extensive local gambling, hotel and construction interests, and continued to help fund a variety of Jewish charities, from a jail cell."
[Here we have it clearly: Jewish international tribalism at its ugliest. Jewish power in the Pentagon/Washington translates into world defense of Jewish corruption, and punishment for countries that dare to notice Jewish criminals. Perle, as any reader of this web site knows is Jewish. As is the Russian oligarch he defends, Khodorkovsky. The anti-American world in all corners grows because the U.S. has been so deeply poisoned by Zionism and Judeocentism.]
Throw Russia out of G8: US defence advisor,
" Senior Pentagon advisor Richard Perle said Russia "should be excluded" from the Group of Eight (G8) industrial nations for its arrest at gunpoint of its top oil baron, it was reported. "Not one of the G8 countries would allow itself to behave in such a way with one of its leading businessmen," the US Defence Department advisor said of the arrest last Saturday of the head of the Yukos oil giant Mikhail Khodorkovsky in an interview published Thursday in the business daily Kommersant, warning that Russia was "heading in the wrong direction." Khodorkovsky, whose oil group is the centre of a wide-ranging fraud investigation, was surrounded by armed security forces in a dawn raid at an airport in Siberia while he was on a business trip and flown back to Moscow. He was charged on seven counts of fraud, including one of embezzling the state of more than one billion dollars, and imprisoned. The arrest has been widely seen in Moscow as politically motivated, with Khodorkovsky having financed opposition parties ahead of December 7th parliamentary elections. As quoted by Kommersant, Perle said he hoped "the US administration will not allow Russian companies to return" to Iraq, noting that Washington had "liberated the Iraqis from the monstrous regime of Saddam Hussein with which Russian had fruitfully cooperated for a long time."
[Apologetics for the Jewish oligarchy/capitalists' rape of Russia.]
Kremlin Targets Jewish Tycoons In War on Critics,
By S.A. GREENE, [Jewish] FORWARD, October 31, 2003
"Oil titan Mikhail Khodorkovsky is not the first Jew who has risen to become Russia's richest citizen. Before him Roman Abramovich and Boris Berezovsky had their stints, while Vladimir Gusinsky got close. In Russia, however, life at the top is not all that it's cracked up to be. Berezovsky and Gusinsky are now in exile, facing prosecution if they ever return to Russia, while Abramovich, having cashed in much of his Russian oil and metals empire and bought a British soccer team, is a frequent guest of Berezovsky in London. As for Khodorkovsky, he's in jail. Russian authorities arrested Khodorkovsky at gunpoint October 25 on a snowy Siberian runway. He is being held on charges ranging from tax evasion to fraud. The charges concern post-communist privatization deals for the companies that went on to become Yukos, the oil behemoth that Khodorkovsky founded and recently merged with Sibneft, another firm that he bought from Abramovich. If a court so decides, both companies could end up back in state hands. The crackdown caused a sharp drop in Russia's stock market this week and has prompted warnings that foreign investors might back away. It's not only the economy that took a hit, though. Russian antisemites are in trouble, too. Their favorite bogeymen, the Jewish "oligarchs," as the country's tycoons are called, are becoming an endangered species. In the eyes of most Russians, the oligarchs are clearly guilty, of theft and corruption in the best case, and probably a lot worse. That much of their wealth is ill-gotten, no one really doubts. And what is to be done? Most Russians would answer: Lock 'em up, ship 'em out. There's plenty of room in Siberia. This, of course, is not what's happening. As Khodorkovsky sits in Moscow's most notoriously disease-ridden prison, most non-Jewish oligarchs are still riding high, even if a few are not likely to step foot in Russia again. The metals empire of Vladimir Potanin — who, along with Berezovsky, most brazenly boasted of his influence over Boris Yeltsin's Kremlin — is thriving, as are Vagit Alekperov's oil wells. The list of safe oligarchs goes on, but there are only a few Jews still on it: Mikhail Fridman of Alfa Bank, for example. What are we to make of the fact that almost all of the major oligarchs in jail or exile are Jews, while almost all of those still in business are not? The answer is not as obvious as it may seem." [Oh, yes it is.]
[Khororkovsky, Rothchild, Nevslin: Jews all.]
Stockholders may take government to human rights court,
By Andrew Jack, Financial Times, Nov 2 2003
"Key Yukos shareholders are considering launching high-profile international and domestic challenges in the coming days to the actions brought by the Russian authorities against Mikhail Khodorkovsky, according to advisers to the company. Lawyers are studying the possibility of appealing abroad as well as within Russia over the validity of the freeze brought by prosecutors last Thursday on more than 42 per cent of Yukos' shares, which they claim are controlled by Mr Khodorkovsky. Another specialist legal team, which includes attorneys from North America, is examining options for seeking an emergency ruling from the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in relation to procedural violations in the criminal cases brought against Mr Khodorkovsky, who was arrested last month, and other key Yukos shareholders. Russian lawyers are nervous about taking their legal battle abroad, as it is likely to irritate the Kremlin. Such a move could escalate diplomatic tensions between the Russian authorities and foreign countries, which have already openly criticised the conduct of the investigation and argued that it may be political. It could also make any attempts to reach a negotiated settlement with Mr Khodorkovsky still more difficult. Advisers to Mr Khodorkovsky say that ownership of his shares, including voting rights and the possibility of selling them to third parties, was transferred after his arrest, in accordance with a trust document that he made public last year. One of his advisers firmly denied reports that control of his shares had passed to the influential British financier Jacob Rothschild, and indicated that it was instead held by Leonid Nevzlin, Yukos's second-largest shareholder and a long-standing partner of Mr Khodorkovsky who is now based in Israel. Mr Rothschild may play an intermediary role in the legal and lobbying battle in the weeks and months to come. He is a trustee of the British branch of Mr Khodorkovsky's Open Russia philanthropic organisation, and has got to know him over several years"
[When one reads this headline below, the natural response is to wonder: "Well, which corrupt Jewish Russian tycoon does this refer to, of the Jewish Russian oligarchy criminal pack? Berezovsky, Gussinsky, et al already HAVE Israel citizenship, after looting Russia as Russian citizens. Get in trouble in Russia? Play the "I'm a persecuted Jew" card and look to get to Israel.]
Israel Grants Russian Tycoon Citizenship,
Earthlink (from Associated Press), November 5, 2003 10:01
"Israel has granted citizenship to a Russian tycoon who could be targeted in Russia's tax evasion and fraud investigation of oil giant Yukos, the Interior Ministry said Wednesday. Israeli authorities said becoming an Israeli would not automatically shield Leonid Nevzlin from possible extradition to Moscow. Nevzlin is the top aide of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who resigned earlier this week as head of Yukos, the world's fifth-largest oil company. Khodorkovsky, Russia's richest man, has been in a Russian prison since Oct. 25 on charges of tax evasion and fraud. Critics say Khodorkovsky is being targeted because of his growing financial and political clout and his funding of opposition parties. Russian media have reported that Khodorkovsky assigned to Nevzlin "beneficiary rights" to 50 percent of shares in Yukos holding company, Group Menatep. That would make Nevzlin a key figure in protecting the company's multibillion-dollar assets from the authorities who might try to seize them. Nevzlin, who is Jewish and as such entitled to citizenship in the Jewish state, was questioned by Russian police in July, but no criminal charges have been brought against him. He arrived in Israel on a tourist visa two months ago and was granted citizenship on Sunday, the Interior Ministry said. Israeli opposition legislator Colette Avital said it appeared the process was unusually quick. "Suddenly, overnight he became a dedicated Zionist and he got citizenship in a speedy manner and we have to ask why?" Avital told The Associated Press. The ministry said Nevzlin went through the proper procedures and was not given preferential treatment. Nevzlin is No. 386 on Forbes magazine's list of the world's richest people, with an estimated wealth at $1.1 billion. Forbes ranks him as the 11th richest Russian. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, meanwhile, brought up his concern about recent arrests of Jewish businessmen in Russia during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Monday. "He said that as a Jew and as prime minister he is worried that there is persecution" of Jews, said Sharon adviser Raanan Gissin. Sharon fears the arrests could lead to greater anti-Semitism, Gissin said. Putin assured Sharon that the cases were purely criminal, according to Gissin. Neither leader mentioned Khodorkovsky or Nevzlin by name. Khodorkovsky has said his father is Jewish. Nevzlin was formerly head of the Russian Jewish Congress - the group once headed by Vladimir Gusinsky, another oligarch who found refuge in Israel. According to the Israeli newspaper Maariv, another Yukos shareholder, Vladmir Dubov, was in Israel until recently and stayed in the same Tel Aviv hotel as Nevzlin."
[Ho! Surprise! Kukes is ALSO Jewish.(See The Economist, August 21, 1999) Jewish billionaire George Soros steps in to suggest (Jewish-led) pressure on the U.S. to pressure Russia to lay off its criminal Jewish billionaires.]
Yukos names Kukes as new CEO,
By FT Reporters, Financial Times, November 3, 2003
"Simon Kukes, a US citizen and former head of Russian oil company TNK, was on Tuesday named as the new chief executive of Yukos. Russia's largest oil company moved swiftly to reassure investors after its former chief executive, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, resigned on Monday only a week after being arrested on charges of tax evasion, embezzlement and theft. Mr Kukes said shortly after his appointment that he would not change Yukos's strategy. "We will keep everything the way it is, we will continue merging with Sibneft and we will keep our obligations to shareholders," he said. His appointment may help revive negotiations with US oil companies ExxonMobil and ChevronTexaco over the purchase of a strategic stake in Yukos. "Kukes has two competitive advantages: he is a US citizen which makes it harder for Russian prosecutors to touch him and he led TNK through a merger with BP," one person close to the company said... Mr Putin also said that the Yukos affair had played a "catalysing role" in changes at the top of his administration. Alexander Voloshin, the former chief of staff, was replaced last week by Dmitry Medvedev as the head of the presidential administration in a move seen as reinforcing Mr Putin's powerbase. ... . Speaking in London on Monday, George Soros, the US financier whose Open Society Institute has been deeply involved in Russia, said that "the crackdown by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin sends an unmistakable message that independence of action will not be tolerated. It's the end of an era, the end of the era of robber capitalism and the beginning of that of state capitalism. "The only chance of stopping this trend taking root is pressure, especially from Europe. Unfortunately, the US is too wedded to its Russian alliance to protest. The price of strengthening democracy in Iraq is weakening democracy in Russia. If there is popular pressure from the west against this, we could see Russia being forced out of the Group of Eight [industrialised nations]." Lawyers representing Mr Khodorkovsky on Monday stepped up their diplomatic and political offensive in European capitals ahead of Thursday's summit between the EU and Russia."
Arrested oil tycoon passed shares to banker,
Washington Times (from Agence France-Presse), Novebmer 3, 2003
"Control of Mikhail Khodorkovsky's shares in the Russian oil giant Yukos have passed to renowned banker Jacob Rothschild, under a deal they concluded prior to Mr. Khodorkovsky's arrest, the Sunday Times reported. Voting rights to the shares passed to Mr. Rothschild, 67, under a "previously unknown arrangement" designed to take effect in the event that Mr. Khodorkovsky could no longer "act as a beneficiary" of the shares, it said. Mr. Khodorkovsky, 40, whom Russian authorities arrested at gunpoint and jailed pending further investigation last week, was said by the Sunday Times to have made the arrangement with Mr. Rothschild when he realized he was facing arrest. Mr. Rothschild now controls the voting rights on a stake in Yukos worth almost $13.5 billion, the newspaper said in a dispatch from Moscow. Mr. Khodorkovsky owns 4 percent of Yukos directly and 22 percent through a trust of which he is the sole beneficiary, according to Russian analysts. From the figures reported in the Sunday Times, it appeared Mr. Rothschild had received control of all Mr. Khodorkovsky's shares. The two have known each other for years "through their mutual love of the arts" and their positions as directors of the Open Russia Foundation, Yukos' philanthropic branch, it said. Russian authorities Thursday froze billions of dollars of shares held by Mr. Khodorkovsky and his top lieutenants in Yukos — throwing control of the country's largest oil company into limbo and causing frenzied selling on financial markets. Russian prosecutors said owners of the shares are still entitled to dividends and retain voting rights, but can no longer sell their stakes. They said the freeze was necessary as collateral for the $1 billion that Mr. Khodorkovsky and his associates are accused of misappropriating during the 1990s. Mr. Rothschild is the British head of Europe's wealthy and influential Rothschild family, and runs his own investment empire."
[Interesting article in juxtaposition with the ones above, no?]
Israeli Pipeline to Move Russian Oil,
Earthlink, November 5, 2003
"Russian oil will begin flowing through an Israeli pipeline in late November, the pipeline's director said Wednesday, signaling a new chapter in rapidly improving relations with Moscow. The announcement came on the same day Prime Minister Ariel Sharon returned from a three day visit to Moscow, where he discussed political and trade ties, and the Middle East peace process with President Vladimir Putin. The Russian oil will move through the Eilat-Ashkelon Oil Pipeline Co., according to its director, Emmanuel Sakal. He said the oil was earmarked for markets in the Far East, a major focus of Russia's developing export strategy. Sakal would not say how large the shipments would be, which companies were providing them, or give a dollar value on the deal. Oil analyst Valery Nesterov of Troika Dialog in Moscow said Lukoil and Rosneft, which have production facilities in southern Russia, would be the likeliest candidates to exploit the facility."
[Khodorkovsky is of course Jewish, he is a billionaire criminal, and the international Jewish Lobby is currently trying to save him from the arm of Russian justice. The door to Congress and the White House is through the Jewish/Zionist Network. Jewish money and Jewish crooks, everywhere.]
How Russian Oil Tycoon Courted Friends in U.S.,
By TIMOTHY L. O'BRIEN, New York Times (International Edition), November 5, 2003
"In early 2001, as George W. Bush's administration moved into the White House, one of Russia's wealthiest men, Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, sought a meeting with the new national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice. According to a former staff member, National Security Council analysts were asked to perform a background check. Mr. Khodorkovsky did not get the meeting — part of the tycoon's efforts to secure approval from the American establishment — because of "allegations of past business improprieties," the former staff member said, also noting that Mr. Khodorkovsky spent heavily in Washington to court the Capitol's inner circle. But Mr. Khodorkovsky's steady efforts to win access to other influential Americans have paid off. Last July, he met with Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham to discuss America's oil policy. Former President George H. W. Bush traveled to Russia in September and spoke at a dinner attended by Mr. Khodorkovsky. That event prompted Moscow newspapers to speculate that the visit was part of an effort by American companies to secure a merger with Yukos Oil, where Mr. Khodorkovsky was chief executive until he quit on Monday in a swirl of fraud and embezzlement charges. His replacement, a Russian-born American [who the times discretely neglects to mention is also Jewish, Simon Kukes], was confirmed yesterday. The Carlyle Group, an investment bank that retained the elder Mr. Bush as an adviser until a few weeks ago, has a close business relationship with Mr. Khodorkovsky. Although Mr. Bush was in Russia as a Carlyle representative, the bank said, his visit had nothing to do with oil deals and he did not meet privately with Mr. Khodorkovsky. Last summer, too, Mr. Khodorkovsky traveled to a meeting of business leaders in Sun Valley, Idaho, as a guest of a former senator, Bill Bradley, a New Jersey Democrat. Mr. Bradley also advises the Open Russia Foundation, a Russian philanthropy based in Britain that is bankrolled by Mr. Khodorkovsky. Henry Kissinger, secretary of state in the Nixon administration, is on the foundation's board, a position he said he accepted at the invitation of Lord Rothschild, another board member. Mr. Kissinger said he had only met Mr. Khodorkovsky twice, briefly and in a group. "It is in no sense an endorsement of Mr. Khodorkovsky's business practices," Mr. Kissinger said of his board seat, adding that Mr. Khodorkovsky exercised "no particular influence" over the foundation's grants. He declined to comment further on Mr. Khodorkovsky. In his efforts to carve out contacts and make his name, Mr. Khodorkovsky has also donated substantially to philanthropies in Russia and to American think tanks. People close to him said he had three motives: improving his own reputation after surviving Russia's scandal-plagued privatizations; refashioning operations and perceptions of Yukos Oil in preparation for a merger with a Western company; and the furtherance of economic and political changes in Russia. "He wanted to have ties to the United States and he had a goal of exporting oil to the United States," said Sarah Carey, a Washington lawyer who sits on Yukos's board and is a close adviser to Mr. Khodorkovsky. "In order to do that you need to develop constituencies here in Washington." Philanthropy, she added, "is what smart guys do when they get rich." Foreigners are not allowed to donate money to American politicians or political parties, and most of Mr. Khodorkovsky's charitable giving has centered in Russia, where Yukos reports philanthropic donations of more than $50 million annually across a broad range of causes. Through Yukos, however, Mr. Khodorkovsky has given handsome sums to American organizations, including a $1 million donation to the Library of Congress and a $500,000 pledge to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a think tank that is home to some of the most often quoted analysts of Russian affairs ... The American Enterprise Institute, another Washington think tank that has weighed in on Mr. Khodorkovsky's behalf, declined to address financial dealings with Yukos, citing the institute's policy not to comment on such matters. Fiona Hill, a Russia analyst at the Brookings Institution, said many think tanks, needing money for Russia studies programs, had courted Mr. Khodorkovsky zealously. She said that Brookings, however, decided not to accept his donations. "The think tanks were all joking about who wanted to take money to fund the Mikhail Khodorkovsky chair of good corporate governance," Ms. Hill said. "There were still questions about his business dealings and whether he really made the transition from being a robber baron and now wore a white hat." Others in Washington said that influence is not so easily purchased and that Mr. Khodorkovsky had traction in the United States because of an authentic commitment to corporate and political change in Russia." [This is false. Khodorkovsky has "traction" because he is the richest man in Russia, he is a powerful swindler, and he is Jewish with the attendant tie to the international Jewish Lobby.]
[A comment from a critic in cyberspace: "Laura Silber of course is responsible for the BBC documentary 'The Death of Yugoslavia' which has become the 'official' version of history with respect to the Balkan wars. I wasn't aware of the Silber-Soros link till I read this." The person who forwarded this to JTR titled it: "The Jew-Jew connection." (Both Soros and Silber are Jewish, as well as Khodorkovsky.)]
Soros offices shut down in Moscow George Soros: Campaigning for rule of law in eastern Europe,
BBC News (UK), November 7, 2003
"Camouflage-clad men have forced staff to leave the Moscow offices of the Open Society Institute founded by the US billionaire George Soros. At least 30 men stormed the offices and seized computers and documents in the raid, which began late on Thursday, the foundation's lawyer Pavel Kuzmin said. Mr Soros' senior policy adviser Laura Silber told BBC News Online that the foundation had responded by filing criminal charges. She said the 100 staff were locked out and "it is impossible to work in Russia now"... Mr Soros, whose institute aims to promote a civil society in post-communist Russia, sharply criticised the recent jailing of Yukos chief executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky. On Tuesday he warned that Russia "may now be entering a phase of state capitalism, where all the owners of capital realise that they are dependent on the state". His comments came in an interview with the weekly Moskovskiye Novosti, recently acquired by Mr Khodorkovsky. He denounced the 25 October arrest of the oil tycoon as "persecution".
[Russia is apparently cleaning house on the many corrupt Jewish capitalists who have looted that country.]
Soros building in Moscow raided,
By Andrew Jack, Financial Times, November 7 2003
"Up to 40 armed men in camouflage last night took control of the national headquarters of the Soros Foundation in central Moscow, damaging the interior and taking away documents. The action, by a private security company while police looked on but refused to interfere, appeared to be the latest escalation in a two-year commercial dispute over control of the building. It is set to disrupt work by several charities active in Russia, including the country's recipient organisation for the Global Fund for Aids. Senior Soros Foundation officials in New York played down any link with the action by the Russian authorities against the oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, although George Soros, the US financier, has been outspoken in his criticism of the Yukos crisis as politically motivated ... Mr Soros has announced that he is winding down his philanthropic activities in Russia, shifting his priorities to other parts of the world. But he has established 11 regional groups, which receive support as they move towards self-sufficiency and which were using the headquarters. The Soros Foundation had a lease on the building and a sale and purchase agreement to buy it for about $4m, but Mr Paperin said a Russian and a Canadian-British businessman then attempted to seize the property."
[JTR contributor's commentary: "Jewish commentary on a Jew -- what's new?" No Jewish Russian capitalist billionaire oligarch/robber baron can be elected President of Russia. Poor things! "Anti-Semitism!" I don't think I'll be elected President of anywhere either, but who cares?]
The Struggle for Russia,
by Stephen F. Cohen, The Nation, November 6, 2003
"The arrest last month of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the principal owner of Russia's biggest oil company, Yukos, and the richest of the country's seventeen state-anointed billionaire oligarchs, on charges of fraud and tax evasion has put Russia back in the forefront of US media attention. But is the story being reported the full, or essential, one? It's being told as follows. Although Khodorkovsky, like all of Russia's "wealthy businessmen," acquired his company (currently valued at roughly $45 billion) at little if any cost to himself through "murky" insider dealings in the 1990s, when the enormous natural resources of the former Soviet state were being privatized under then-President Boris Yeltsin, he has since transformed Yukos into a model for a new capitalist, democratic Russia--"transparent," exceedingly profitable, even philanthropic. So much so that it has helped fuel a Russian "economic rebound" while becoming a potential source of oil for the United States. Unlike other, less "clean" oligarchs, the story continues, Khodorkovsky is being persecuted by President Vladimir Putin chiefly because the oil baron became active in Russia's democratic politics, funding opposition parties in next month's parliamentary elections and even aspiring to the presidency. To crush Khodorkovsky and make an example of him, Putin is relying on a Kremlin faction he has recruited largely from the KGB, where he began his own career, which wants Yukos's wealth for itself. The result will therefore be a grievous blow to Russia's "booming economy" and democracy, replacing free-market-oriented "liberal oligarchs" with much worse and less efficient ones and driving away needed foreign investment. Some elements of this story, which relies very heavily on Moscow sources associated with the "liberal oligarchs," are plausible, but others are not. Democracy in Russia has been failing ever since Yeltsin made oligarchical privatization possible by destroying an elected parliament in 1993, and neither side is interested in truly reviving it; the oligarchs are zealous monopolists, not free-market reformers, and Western investors interested in Russia's huge oil reserves have already indicated that they care about official guarantees of the contracts, not who signs them; Putin now controls elections sufficiently to get substantially the legislature he wants; and no one of Jewish origin, as are Khodorkovsky and most of the other oligarchs, can be elected president of Russia. Above all, however, the prevailing media account omits the essential background and context. Privatization--or "piratization," as it is often called in Russia--did not take place in an economic or social vacuum. It was accompanied in the 1990s by the worst economic depression of modern times and the impoverishment of a great many Russians, probably the majority of them. In the process, it created the oligarchical economic system that exists today."
[Khodorkovsky, and most of the arrested or fugitive billionaire Russian oligarch "crooks" (Boris Berezovsky, "the Godfather of the Kremlin" (fugitive);Vladimir Gussinsky (fugitive); Mikhail Mirilashvili (Deputy Head of the Russian Jewish Congress, now in jail; Arkady Angelevich, who heads Moscow's Montazhspetsbank and is a member of the presidium of the Russian Jewish Congress, imprisoned for embezzlement) are Jewish, as are many of their American advisors/networks (Mark Rich -- pardoned by President Clinton, et al). Note also, per the below piece, that the New York Times and Boston Globe are controlled by the Jewish Sulzberger family and that journalistic "blowjob" expert Leon Aron is also a member of the tribe.]
Oligarchs R Us. Deep politics swirl behind the arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky,
by Matt Taibbi, New York Press, Volume 16, Issue 45
"There is big news brewing in Russia this week, and America is being sold a line of goods about what’s happening there. The coverage of the arrest by the Vladimir Putin administration of "businessman" Mikhail Khodorkovsky has featured such grossly, shockingly transparent propaganda that it could hardly have been worse during the Cold War. What’s more, some of my old friends—they know who they are—are participating in it. This story, about the politically motivated arrest of Khodorkovsky, the Croseus-rich tycoon who heads the oil company Yukos, is in fact an important story for the ordinary American. The clash between two of the world’s baddest gangsters—Putin and Khodorkovsky—is also a great symbolic battle, each side representing one of the two great remaining pretenders to global rule. Putin represents the past, which also happens to be the American present: the fictional democracy, in fact a ruthless oligarchy of corporate interests, with the state as the castrated referee. Khodorkovsky represents the future: no referee. Which is why our media establishment has chosen to take up arms for him. They are making his case into an open referendum on the neo-con revolution that until now has been fought in a largely clandestine manner here at home. The backstory to this scandal is far too involved to get into in any detail here, but the outlines are as follows. Khodorkovsky is one of about a dozen major "entrepreneurs" who emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union to dominate the Russian economy. A series of corrupt privatization deals organized and overseen by American advisors basically ensured that ownership of the assets of the Russian state would go to this small handful of crooks. The basic story is that the U.S., in conjunction with the Yeltsin administration, decided to create a super-wealthy class of oligarchs who would ruthlessly defend their assets against any attempt to renationalize the economy. In return—and this is the key point—they were to support, financially, the ruling, Western-friendly "democratic" government. It is through such machinations that we were able to bring about a compliant Russian state, wholly dependent on corporate support, that would answer the bell whenever we needed something ugly out of them—for instance their assistance in our bombing of their traditional allies, the Serbs. The key moment in this story was the winter of 1996. Polls showed that Yeltsin was certain to lose a reelection bid against the idiot communist Gennady Zyuganov. So the state, in conjunction with U.S. advisors, sold off the crown jewels of the Russian economy to these crooks for pennies on the dollar. In return, these beneficiaries massively funded Yeltsin’s reelection campaign. This is how Khodorkovsky, then the chief of a bank called Menatep, came to control the precious Yukos empire that is now under siege. It was given to him. His bank was put in charge of the auction for 78 percent of the company, and he actually excluded other bidders at will. He "paid" around $300 million (whether or not he ever paid even that money is still a matter of dispute) for his controlling 78- percent stake. The company is now valued at about $15 billion. That doesn’t begin to tell the Khodorkovsky story. Even in the group of fantastic individuals who participated in this mass robbery, he stands out. He is the Bad Bad Leroy Brown of Russia. You know that opening scene in Goodfellas where Ray Liotta says, "All my life, I wanted to be a gangster"? Just imagine the fleshy, bespectacled Khodorkovsky slamming that trunk shut. In a nation of mobsters, he is king, a stone-cold ruthless genius. It would take a hundred thousand pages to detail all of his schemes, but they make the work of Professor Moriarty seem like a game of Chinese checkers. I’ll set down one example, from a story I did many years ago about Russian minerals company called Avisma, which eventually filed suit against its owners here in the States, naming Khodorkovsky’s Menatep as the chief villain. Menatep (allegedly, I have to say in America) bought the company, then forced its directors to sell its commodities to a Menatep shell company called TMC at pennies on the dollar. TMC then sold the goods (mainly titanium) to Western investors at cost. To make matters worse, TMC then (allegedly) induced Avisma to buy materials from them above cost. Readers are invited to imagine what words like "forced" and "induced" mean in this context. In the end, nothing was left but a skeletonized carcass. Any Brooklyn restaurant owner who has been taken over by the Lucchese or Gambino families will recognize this technique. This was what was described as "the encouraging emergence of market capitalism" in the new Russia, and for many years it was cool with everybody—the press, the Russian state, the American diplomatic effort. Until this year, that is, when Khodorkovsky broke the rules of the gangster-arrangement implicit in the new Russian state. He decided he no longer wanted to pay the piper—Putin. Instead of ponying up the agreed-upon tribute, he started making noise about wanting to be president himself in 2008, and then, even worse, he started to fund opposition parties ... How anyone can find morality in any of this is beyond me. But it is not beyond the New York Times, and it is not even beyond the Boston Globe. These papers, along with the vast majority of Western media outlets around the world, have cast this smarmy fight over assets long ago stolen from the Russian people as a battle between the evil forces of nationalization and the good, industrious representatives (Khodorkovsky) of the people-friendly market economy. Here is how Steven Lee Myers of the Times described the resignation of Kremlin chief of staff Alexander Voloshin, who has apparently thrown in his lot with Khodorkovsky: "On Mr. Voloshin’s side is a coterie of aides who favor greater freedom for the economy. On the other are those advisors who, like Mr. Putin himself, served in the K.G.B. or other security services and favor a stronger role for the state…" Myers leaves out here the fact that Khodorkovsky himself, like most of the tycoons, is a creature of the security services, having once been a chief of the Komsomol in Moscow. He goes on: "That faction, known collectively as the siloviki—or as Chekists after the old Soviet-era word for intelligence operatives—is widely believed to have initiated or supported the prosecutorial assault on Yukos, though exactly why remains unclear." This is outright bullshit. Everyone in Russia knows why. It’s because Yukos didn’t pay the piper. This is typical of the Times, casting mafia disagreements in the garb of an ideological dispute ... Alongside the Myers piece, the Times ran an editorial entitled, "Crime and Punishment for Capitalists." The piece was written by Leon Aron, the author of one of the most shameless blowjobs in the history of biographical art: Yeltsin: A Revolutionary Life. In the piece, Aron actually details many of the same facts I’ve set down here, but he argues, against all available fact, that the tycoons are actually wonderfully productive people who are doing their darndest to lift Russia to its feet ... Many of us who spent the 90s in Russia became aware over time that the aim of the United States was to create a rump state that would allow economic interests to strip assets at will. The population in this scheme was to be good for consuming foreign goods produced abroad with Russia’s own cheaply sold raw materials. The aim was a castrated state, anarchy, a vast, confused territory of captive consumers, cheap labor and unguarded oil and aluminum. Some of us who came home after seeing this began to realize that the same process is underway in the United States: the erosion of the tax base, the gradual appropriation of the tools of government by economic interests, a massive, disorganized population useless to everybody except as shoppers. That is their revolution: smashing states everywhere and creating a scattered global nation of villas and tax shelters, as inaccessible as Olympus, forbidding entry even to mighty dictators. That’s what this Khodorkovsky business is all about—preserving that dream. Ask yourself what other reason there could be for the American press to defend a thief with eight billion dollars."
PUTTIN' PUTIN ON THE SPOT OVER ANTI-SEMITISM,
By URI DAN, New York Post, November 7, 2003
"Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon used part of his three-hour Kremlin meeting with Vladimir Putin this week to ask if anti-Semitism is coming back strong in Russia. Sharon told the Russian president there's an impression that his arrest of oil oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky is part of a crackdown on Russia's new class of Jewish billionaires. Although Khodorkovsky doesn't regard himself as Jewish - only his father is Jewish - his arrest follows the persecution of other oligarchs such as Vladimir Gusinsky and Boris Berezovsky, who are Jews. And there are media reports that Putin's next target may be another Jewish Russian expatriate - Roman Abramovich, the London-based billionaire and soccer club owner who was a partner in Khodorkovsky's oil empire. Putin vehemently rejected the accusations of anti-Semitism. "I am a great friend of the Jewish people," he told Sharon. In fact, he said, the head of Russia's still-significant Communist Party, Gennady Zyuganov, "just lately published a book about me in which he accuses me of 'Zionizing' my leadership with Jews and Zionists." Meanwhile, two of Khodorkovsky's chief deputies are already in Israel. Leonid Nevzlin, the 11th-richest Russian according to Forbes, with an estimated wealth of $1.1 billion, has already been granted citizenship, and Vladimir Dubov, is awaiting his papers."
Nevzlin Wins Israeli Citizenship,
By Caroline McGregor, Moscow Times, Novembrer 6, 2003
"Leonid Nevzlin, the biggest Yukos shareholder who is not in jail, has been granted Israeli citizenship, the Israeli Interior Ministry said Wednesday, raising eyebrows in Jerusalem over the haste in which it was done. Although no charges have been filed against Nevzlin, at least one opposition member of Israel's parliament, the Knesset, wanted to know why someone implicated in financial wrongdoing should be given what may amount to de facto political asylum. Russia's probe into fraud among Yukos' owners began with the July 2 arrest of the company's No. 3 billionaire, Platon Lebedev. The No. 1 shareholder, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was arrested at gunpoint on Oct. 25. As the probe widens, Nevzlin's request for a passport from a country that is highly reluctant to extradite its citizens gives the appearance of a quick attempt to keep from joining his two partners behind bars. Already Yukos' No. 2 shareholder, Nevzlin has also taken over control of the bulk of Khodorkovsky's shares. Other top Yukos shareholders were also reported to be in Israel ... Nevzlin, who in 2001 briefly succeeded Vladimir Gusinsky as the head of the Russian Jewish Congress, has well-placed friends among Israel's political elite. Natan Sharansky, a deputy prime minister and a former Soviet dissident, may have helped Nevzlin obtain citizenship, Gazeta and Kommersant reported. Israeli media reports in October also linked Nevzlin with Finance Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, whom Nevzlin has hosted for speaking engagements in Moscow. Nevzlin has endeared himself to many in Israel through generous philanthropy. The Leonid Nevzlin Research Center for Russian and East European Jewry was opened at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem on May 28. Sharansky has asked Nevzlin to help support Jerusalem's financially strapped Beit Hatefutzot diaspora museum ... A fourth Yukos billionaire, Vladmir Dubov, was in Israel until recently and stayed in the same Tel Aviv hotel as Nevzlin, Israel's Ma'ariv daily said. Dubov, a State Duma deputy, has denied plans to emigrate. "I have not emigrated from Russia, I've simply gone away," he was quoted as saying in last Friday's Nezavisimaya Gazeta. The clarification came after Union of Right Forces leader Irina Khakamada, citing Dubov associates, told news agencies that Dubov had decided to emigrate to Israel after being excluded from the United Russia ballot. On Wednesday, the BBC and others picked up a report by Israeli news agency Globes that cited unnamed sources as saying a number of Yukos executives had gathered under assumed names "at a hotel in the center of the country."
[Yet ANOTHER shady rich media mogul Jewish businessman from the former Soviet Union. And it's a lateral pass: Jewish owner to Jewish owner, Weinberg to Rabinovich. Where does one escape Jewish dominance of the mass media in the West, when it can even strangle the ethnic media?]
Ukraine Tycoon Creating a Stir With Purchase Of U.S. Media,
By NATHANIEL POPPER, FORWARD, November 7, 2003
"Ukraine's most prominent and controversial Jewish businessman, Vadim Rabinovich, said he has bought a "controlling stake" in America's oldest Russian-language daily newspaper, Novoe Russkoe Slovo, and its sister radio station, Narodnya Volna. Rabinovich, the first overseas owner of NRS, holds a number of Ukrainian media properties, which are known for journalistic standards that are "far from high," in the words of one observer. His media holdings are one part of a business empire that has been investigated a number of times by American and Ukrainian authorities for alleged links to illegal arms trading and the Russian mafia. Representatives of the New York-based NRS repeatedly hung up on a reporter seeking comment, but Rabinovich, in an e-mail to the Forward, confirmed reports that his Media International Group has purchased the paper. "The main goal is to turn the Novoe Russkoe Slovo into the Financial Times of the Russian-speaking world," Rabinovich wrote in the e-mail. "The paper will be sold in Moscow, Kiev, and all European capitals. At the moment there is no newspaper that can be named as a connecting bridge." NRS, which was founded in 1910 by anti-Bolshevik czarist émigrés, has become a strong American voice in support of the Kremlin since the end of the Soviet era. While it is a major source of news for Russian-Jewish immigrants, it has had relatively little coverage of Jewish issues. Among Ukrainian and American media observers, most of whom were informed of the sale by the Forward, the purchase of the paper has generated concern about how Rabinovich, with his tangled political relationships, will alter its content. Rabinovich's editorial staff plans to take over the paper in January. The former owner and editor, Valery Weinberg, will reportedly continue to own a small stake in the paper and occupy one of four positions on the paper's board of directors, but he will not retain editorial control. The purchase is Rabinovich's first business acquisition in the United States, where the State Department has banned him since 1995 because of links to a company suspected of illegal weapons trading with North Korea and Iran. Before this deal, Rabinovich's most notable appearance on the American media scene came in 1997, when he placed a full-page ad in The New York Times. The ad warned of a threat of antisemitism in Ukraine, but praised the Ukrainian administration and exhorted Jews to visit the country. At the time, Jewish critics chastised Rabinovich for promoting a government that had taken few positive steps to support its Jewish population, recently estimated at more than 100,000. Observers said that under Rabinovich's leadership, NRS and Narodnya Volna are likely to be similarly used for the promotion of the Ukrainian government, because of Rabinovich's close relationship with Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma. Natalia Ligachova, editor-in-chief of Telekritika, a Ukrainian media watchdog publication, said Rabinovich "is regarded as a person who is (and can be) used by the presidential administration, thanks to his not-quite-transparent businesses, arms sales and former links with the KGB in the Soviet time." Vladimir Katzman, editorial director of Rabinovich's media holdings, did not deflect these concerns in a brief interview last Friday with the Ukrainian-based Jewish News, a subsidiary of Rabinovich's Media International Group. "In America their opinions about Ukraine are not based on real sources of information," Katzman said in that interview. "Starting next year not only the concept of [NRS] will be changed, but also the strategy of development." The new editor, starting in January, will be Larrissa Mudrak, currently the editor of a weekly business newspaper in Ukraine that is a joint venture between Rabinovich's Media International Group and the Financial Times. Ligachova called that project a "symbiosis of low-standard Ukrainian journalism and a quality British newspaper." According to the editor of a leading Jewish newspaper in Russia who spoke on condition of anonymity ... the paper could be a way for Rabinovich, who is a dual citizen of Ukraine and Israel, to clean up his own image abroad in case he falls out of favor with his the Ukrainian government. That happened in 1999, when Rabinovich was temporarily declared persona non grata by the Ukrainian government, which led him to move his family to Israel. Comparing the purchase of the NRS to the recent purchase of the Chelsea soccer team in England by Russian Jewish tycoon Roman Abramovich, the editor said, "In case anything happens in the Ukraine, the world will start yelling that there they are offending a Jew with an image; a righteous man with an image." Rabinovich describes the purchase in strictly business terms, as a part of a project to create a worldwide network of Russian-language papers, building on the papers he owns in Israel and Ukraine ... Earlier this year the German news magazine Der Spiegel reported that Rabinovich and his son had sold a cache of guns and tanks to the Taliban, a report that complemented a media inquiry into suspected arms sales by Rabinovich to Liberian guerillas in 1999 ... Though it came as a great surprise to many when he burst onto the Ukrainian Jewish scene in 1997, after being relatively uninvolved before, he quickly became a central figure. He founded the All-Ukrainian Jewish Congress, which was responsible for The New York Times ad, and became the head of the United Jewish Community of Ukraine and the National Israel Appeal. The executive director of the United Jewish Community of Ukraine, Eduard Dolinsky, said, "He is a Jew, and a devoted Jew."
Arrested Russian Businessman Is Carlyle Group Adviser,
By Greg Schneider, Washington Post, November 10, 2003; Page E04
"The arrest of two of Russia's top businessmen in recent months was more than a distant headline for Washington's well-connected private equity firm, Carlyle Group. Carlyle, known for the glittering roster of former statesmen among its partners and advisers, has ties to both Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev, the ailed Russian tycoons. Khodorkovsky, 40, Russia's richest man and former chief executive of Yukos Oil Co., serves as an adviser to Carlyle's Energy Group. He is among 15 luminaries who help the firm sort through investment opportunities in energy industries, along with former secretary of state James A. Baker III, former British prime minister John Major and Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Daniel Yergin."
[Boris Berezovsky, the corrupt billionaire criminal, looter of Russia, and well-documented "Godfather of the Kremlin," is one of those many Jews who are destroying the "accusation of anti-Semitism" tool. The credibility of calling someone an "anti-Semite" continues to plummet. Any Jewish mafioso will claim "anti-Semitism," sooner or later. Khodorkovsky is also Jewish.]
Tycoon accuses Swiss authorities of anti-Semitism,
The Russia Journal, November 18, 2003 Posted: 11:34 Moscow time (07:34 GMT) "Boris Berezovsky, Russian tycoon who was granted refugee status in Britain after fleeing Moscow, said the opening of a Swiss money-laundering investigation against him was an "anti-Semitic act". The oligarch accused Swiss authorities of applying double standards. "Swiss authorities try to hide the crime of the Nazis in Swiss banks. I think it is just a continuation of the same game," Mr. Berezovsky, who is Jewish, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from London. He said he did not believe it was an independent decision of Swiss prosecutors. According to Mr. Berezovsky, he has direct evidence that the prosecutors got false information from Russian intelligence agencies. The office of Swiss Federal Prosecutor Valentin Roschacher confirmed Sunday that it had opened the investigation, which is linked to Russian claims that Mr. Berezovsky and an associate defrauded a Russian regional government of the equivalent of $13m in the mid-1990s by stealing cars from Russia's largest automaker AvtoVaz. On Sunday, Swiss authorities launched a formal investigation into alleged money laundering and membership of a criminal organization by Boris Berezovsky. According to Mr. Roschacher, the probe is purely a criminal investigation and is unrelated to the recent arrest in Russia of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the head of the YUKOS oil company who resigned as the company’s CEO after the arrest. "We are concerned with criminal justice, not politics," Mr. Roschacher told AP. "We just want to know which of Mr. Berezovsky's activities in Switzerland were legal and which ones might have been illegal," he added. The businessman has been granted political asylum and refugee status in Britain. In September, London’s Bow Street Magistrates Court discharged the extradition proceedings against Mr. Berezovsky, who faces money laundering and fraud charges in his homeland."
[Khodorkovsky is of course also Jewish.]
Abramovich pulls out of $11bn merger with Yukos,
By Saeed Shah, The Independent (UK), November 29, 2003
"Roman Abramovich, the Russian tycoon who bought Chelsea Football Club, yesterday dramatically called a halt to the $11bn (£6.4bn) takeover of his oil company in Russia. The merger of Mr Abramovich's Sibneft with Yukos, to form Russia's leading oil company, worth $45bn, was all but complete. An extraordinary general meeting in Moscow yesterday, to tie up the final details of the deal, was left in disarray after the Sibneft side declared it was pulling out. The companies announced the merger in April but in October the high-profile chief executive of Yukos, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was arrested on charges of fraud and tax evasion. He remains in jail. Analysts believe Mr Abramovich's decision to cut ties with Yukos is an attempt to insulate himself from an apparently politically motivated campaign by the Kremlin against Mr Khodorkovsky and Yukos. Stephen O'Sullivan, the head of research for United Financial Group, a Moscow brokerage, said: "Yukos looks as if it has been left standing at the altar but it is unclear how Sibneft can pull out at this stage ... Abramovich must be pretty convinced he can do it." Sibneft, majority owned by Mr Abramovich, has already collected $3bn in cash and $8bn in Yukos shares from the deal. That gave it a 26 per cent stake in the enlarged company."
[The Russian Jewish rapists of Russia head home. All the Corrupt below are Jewish.]
Hounded Russian oil barons meet in Israel,
By Dafna Maor, Haaretz (Israel), Nobember 30, 2003
"Billionaire Roman Abramovich, Russia's second-richest man and principal owner of oil producer Sibneft, visited Israel secretly last week to meet with Leonid Nevzlin, the deputy and partner of imprisoned oil baron Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Nevzlin fled Russia for Israel last week after Khodorkovsky's arrest. He is the second-biggest shareholder in oil giant Yukos, and holds Khodorkovsky's voting rights in the company, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Washington Post broke the news of Abramovich's meeting with Nevzlin, based on a telephone interview with Nevzlin. The Russian authorities arrested oil baron Khodorkovsky in October, on accusations of tax evasion and fraud. Some believe the arrest is designed to seize control of the nation's key oil resources and to oppress anti-government forces. Khodorkovsky holds his shares in Yukos via a series of foundations registered in tax havens. Meanwhile the Russian prosecution has frozen Khodorkovsky's assets to guarantee payment of a billion dollars compensation he may owe if found guilty of the charges. Last Friday, Sibneft withdrew from plans to merge with Yukos. Their union would have created the world's fourth biggest private oil producer, in terms of crude production, with revenues of $15 billion a year. Sibneft's surprise reversal reportedly shocked even top Yukos executives and aggravated the sell-off triggered by Khodorkovsky's arrest on October 25. Some Yukos sources blame Sibneft's withdrawal on from the Russia government. Abramovich is one of the wealthiest persons in the world, with a personal fortune estimated at $5.7 billion. He took over Sibneft together with Boris Berezovsky, in Russia's biggest privatization in the 1990s. Abramovich later bought out Berezovsky's shares when the latter fled Russia in 2000 after being charged with fraud. Abramovich also owns half of Russia's biggest aluminum producer, and the television network ORT, via a British holding company. He also recently acquired control over the Chelsea soccer team, since redubbed Chelsky by wags. He could also find himself on the other end of the next Russian government probe, after a Russian parliament member called for an investigation of suspicions that Abramovich and his firm Sibneft committed fraud during the 1990s."
Top Russian security official said to be Israeli citizen,
by LEV KRICHEVSK, Jewish News Weekly (from Jewish Telegraphic Agency), November 15, 1996
"A furor has erupted here over reports that one of Russia's top security officials has Israeli citizenship. Two Moscow newspapers reported last week that Jewish business tycoon Boris Berezovsky received Israeli citizenship during a visit to the Jewish state three years ago. Berezovsky, who in the early 1990s made a fortune in the automobile business, was appointed deputy secretary of Russia's National Security Council three weeks ago. His appointment came after Russian President Boris Yeltsin fired former National Security Chief Alexander Lebed and replaced him with Ivan Rybkin, former speaker of the Duma, the lower house of Parliament. Berezovsky, 50, is also chairman of Russian public television, a post that makes him one of the most influential media figures here. Unlike other wealthy Russian Jewish entrepreneurs, he has never been involved in organized Jewish life. In the wake of the reports, Berezovsky denied that he had dual citizenship and said he would sue the newspapers for libel. The decision to appoint Berezovsky to the security council prompted outrage from some members of the Russian Parliament, including Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznyov and liberal economist Grigory Yavlinsky. Many of his critics charged that Berezovsky had no previous experience as a politician and had been selected because of his influence in the corridors of power. Russia's four leading television channels took Berezovsky's side. One popular television host called the two newspaper articles anti-Semitic. Leading members of the Jewish community defended Berezovsky. "Russian laws do not ban dual citizenship," said Mikhail Chlenov, president of the Va'ad, the Jewish confederation of Russia. "The fact of dual citizenship cannot serve as a ground for career limitations." "I don't know if Berezovsky did receive Israeli citizenship," said Chlenov. But "this is a very typical situation" for Russian Jewish businesspeople, he added. One Jewish businessman from Moscow who preferred to remain anonymous agreed with Chlenov. "Most of my colleagues have obtained second passports, some of them for the sake of their business, others to take advantage of their dual citizenship in case of emergency." He said it was "quite natural" for Jewish businessmen "to seek Israeli citizenship" to facilitate emigration in case the political situation deteriorated here. One Jewish leader disagreed. "A political career, especially one in the National Security Council, implies that a person has only one passport."
[Chasing down the above-ground Russian Jewish mafia.]
Prosecutors search for ten more suspects,
Russian Journal, January 27, 2004
"Russian prosecutors have announced that an international search warrant has been issued for ten suspects in Yukos case. The list includes company shareholders Leonid Nevzlin and Vladimir Dubov, as well as refining and sales affiliate Yukos PM head Mikhail Brudno. This was announced by the Deputy General Prosecutor Yuri Biryukov, Izvestia reports. “An international search warrant is issued for all of them in accordance with the court sanctions, the charges in tax evasion are set against them, as well as in other crimes”, Biryukov said. As reported earlier, at present two major Yukos shareholders are under arrest – former Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev. Another shareholder – Vasily Shakhnovsky is uder a written undertaking not to leave place expecting the verdict of the court on his tax evasion case."
[Roman Abramovich is one of a number of Russian Jewish hustlers and exploiters (some still chased around the world by Russian law) who became fabulously wealthy with the fall of communism and the impoverishment of the Russian masses. Reference in this article below is to the fact that Abramovich spent $300 million to buy a professional soccer team in Great Britian, where he now lives after his large share in looting Russia.]
Audit Chamber to check Abramovich activities at the governor position,
Russia Journal, January 30, 2004
"Russian Audit Chamber will start investigation of activities of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich. This was announced today by its Chairman Sergey Stepashin. Earlier Stepashin attended a meeting of trustee council of charity fund attached to Russian Trade and Industry Chamber, The fund aimed to collect payments from big business in favour of neglected children. According to Stepashi, the fund collected only one million dollars in 2003 and this was called a biggest shame by Audit Chamber Chairman. The collected funds were transferred to orphanages and boarding houses, some of which receive no more than 9 rubles ($0.3) a day for a kid from the state. In this connection the Audit Chamber will investigate fulfillment of obligations by big business, including Chukotka governor Abramovich. “This is a question of ethics”, Stepashin stated, expressing his bewilderment on how it is possible in such circumstances to spend $300 million for a football club. “We’ve long had questions to Abramovich in moral aspect, and we will see how he worked at the governor position”.
[Jewish corruption, and chronic Jewish defense of corruption, always solicits "anti-Semitism."]
Jewish capital is good for Russia, Jewish politics less so,
By Eliahu Salpeter, Haaretz (Israel), February 28, 2004
"Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the wealthiest man in Russia, is under investigation. It's Anti-Semitism again, say Jewish sources. It is doubtful whether there are many Jews in the world the value of whose assets reach $5 billion. Certainly, there is no other Jew who can afford to lose a billion dollars and still be the richest man in Russia. Mikhail Khodorkovsky, 39, looks in photographs (depending on the angle) like a young Shas politico or like a successful Wall Street investment consultant. According to Fortune magazine, Khodorkovsky controls 16 percent of the shares in the company Yukos and owns more than half of them personally. Yukos is said to be worth $15-20 billion, and with the completion of the deal to acquire the Sibneft, which was signed about three months ago, it will become the third-largest oil company in the world, and the largest in Russia. The troubles started for Yukos (and Khodorkovsky) at the beginning of July, when the police arrested his aide and chief ally, Platon Lebedev, and accused him of fraud, forgery and tax violations and also interrogated (but did not arrest) Khodorkovsky himself. About two weeks ago, the General Prosecutor's Office announced that it had also opened an investigation of five murders or attempted murders of officials and businessmen at odds with the company. In Moscow, it's said, the police are investigating Khodorkovsky's aides but are aiming at him; the authorization for the investigation was given by President Vladimir Putin. The burning question in Moscow is what lies behind the investigation? ... The Jews in Russia are, of course, concerned about whether there are anti-Semitic elements in the affair. Of the dozen or so Russian billionaires who made their fortunes during the past decade, seven were Jewish. Three of them have already been deposed from heading their companies and pushed out of Russia as well - Aleksandr Smolensky, the crash of whose bank in 1998 led to the worst financial crash in the post-Communist era; Boris Berezovsky, "the Kremlin godfather," whose demonstrative conversion to Christianity proved to be of no avail; and Vladimir Gusinsky, who was not helped by his demonstrative Jewishness as chairman of the Jewish Congress in Russia. Four remain: Khodorkovsky, bankers Pyotr Aven and Mikhai Fridman and the current media star of the oligarchs, Roman Abramovich - among other things, the main owner of Sibneft - who is considered the richest man in Russia after Khodorkovsky ... Aleksandr Osovtsov, former vice president of the Jewish Congress in Russia says the anti-Semitism in the affair is clear. The same team from the Prosecutor General's Office that in its day forced Gusinsky to leave Russia is active now and by chance or not, Gusinsky was one of the financial supporters of the Jewish Congress and Khodorkovsky is also among its supporters. Chelsea's new owner In recent weeks international attention has been accorded to the seventh of the Jewish oligarchs, Roman Abramovich, who purchased the English soccer team Chelsea for about $200 million ... The patronage of Berezovsky (who at the time still enjoyed the support of the Kremlin) helped him acquire, for the paltry sum of about $100 million, dozens of local oil companies and to build from them the huge Sibneft company. In 2002, the profits of Sibneft came to $1.1 billion ... Both oligarchs and Jews are not particularly loved by the average Russian, and conflict with Khodorkovsky definitely only helps the president [Putin]. It is therefore difficult to assume that Khodorkovsky believes that he is able to compete with Putin's political machine. It is even more difficult to believe that Khodorkovsky thinks that a Jew can be elected president of Russia. The Khodorkovsky affair gives rise to a more realistic question: Is there a likelihood that influential Jews in Moscow, oligarchs and politicians, will be able in the foreseeable future to help Israel in the Kremlin? Their relative weight is no less than the weight of Jews in the upper reaches of the American economy. However, the Russian regime is light years away from the lobbying mechanism that exists in the United States. The influence of ordinary citizens on Russian foreign policy is very small. Until this situation changes, emigration is likely to leave only a few Jews in Russia. If Israel wants to influence the Kremlin through Jewish public opinion, it will have to do this in the future as well through Congress and the White House in Washington, and not through the Jewish voter in Moscow."
[Right. Another extremely powerful Jew with no "known interaction with the organized Jewish community" ... ]
Russian Jew named prime minister brings out Jewish pride — and anxiety,
By Lev Krichevsky, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, March 2, 2004
"The Jewish man named Russia’s new prime minister is little known to the country’s Jewish community. But Jewish leaders welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s selection this week of Mikhail Fradkov, currently Russia’s envoy to the European Union in Brussels. Jewish leaders said Fradkov, who was expected to be approved by the pro-Putin majority in the Russian Parliament on Friday, has had no interaction with the organized Jewish community. If approved, Fradkov would be the first identified Jew to serve as Russia’s prime minister. His father is known to be Jewish, and while the background of his mother is unclear, he was profiled in a biographical volume of the Russian Jewish Encyclopedia that was published in 1997 ... For some Russian Jewish leaders, Fradkov’s Jewishness is welcome. “This nomination sends a clear signal to everyone,” said Yevgeny Satanovsky, president of the Russian Jewish Congress. “It means that Russia’s president is an absolute pragmatist, it means that a person’s nationality does not mean anything to him, and that he is judging people by their business and personal qualities.” Satanovsky said that while Russia’s next Cabinet’s policies may remain an open question, Russian Jews already have received an answer to an important question. “This question is: Can a Jew become Russian prime minister? The answer is yes. The next question can only be whether a Jew can be Russia’s president. But this nomination basically means that in today’s Russia a Jew can be anything. And this is very positive,” Satanovsky said. But others are expressing mixed feelings about Fradkov’s nomination, worrying that it could cause a backlash. “Of course, this is an overall positive thing to Jews,” said Lyudmila Krasnopolskaya, an English-language instructor at a Moscow college. “Yet given this, I’m not sure this choice will necessarily make all Russians that happy.” A recent conference on xenophobia and racism in Russia held last week in Moscow reported that more than 60 percent of Russians have xenophobic sentiments, and many are anti-Semitic. “There are people in the society who can try to make this an issue,” said Lazar, speaking of Fradkov’s Jewish background. “I know there are people even inside the Kremlin whom this nomination will not make extremely happy,” Satanovsky said."
[One of the many Russian Jewish thieves that looted the Russian people after the fall of communism heads to Great Britain to continue his dirty work.]
Abramovich Packs His Bags,
by Andrey Fadeyev, Translated by Howard Goldfinger, Rosbalt News Agency [Russia], March 24, 2004
"No one any longer doubts that oil magnate Roman Abramovich and his estimated fortune of USD 13.2 billion may quit Russia. Last week the Financial Times declared: 'Everything suggests that Abramovich, one of the wealthiest and most secretive of the oligarchs, is preparing to give the Russian government whatever may be required so that he can leave the country without losing everything.' A few days before Russia's presidential election, the same newspaper carried information about talks between Abramovich and non-Russian companies about the possible sale of his 46% interest in Sibneft. The potential buyers included the Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch/Shell, the American firm ChevronTexaco and France's Total. Abramovich's desire to distance himself from the giant Russian company as quickly as possible is further indication of his readiness to make serious tactical concessions. Certainly, the English Daily Mail newspaper spoke of the billionaire's evident intention of 'transferring his base of operations to Britain' in explaining its inclusion of Abramovich at the top of its The Rich Report 2004 (a list of Britain's wealthiest). According to the paper, Abramovich has purchased two homes in Britain, declared his intention of educating his children in Britain and has been rapidly selling off his Russian properties in order to move his money to the West. In view the governor of Chukotka's intimacy with the corridors of power, one can assume that he knows what is ahead better than his fellow oligarchs, especially after the meeting that did not take place between him, as leader of one of the constituent areas of the Far East Federal District, and the Russian president in Khabarovsk. Abramovich almost surely understood the chill emanating from the direction of Vladimir Putin as a warning. Abramovich is packing his suitcases. But that isn't easy. After all, a good many things have accumulated in those suitcases, and not everything can be taken abroad at the drop of a hat. Well aware of Abramovich's intentions, the fiscal and security agencies of government have set about to convince him of the need to share his wealth ... Russia's Tax and Collections Ministry has charged Sibneft with underpaying its taxes for 2000-2001 by approximately USD 1 billion."
[Another thieving Jewish Robber Baron-Dual Loyalist hiding in Israel seeks to pull political strings in Russia from Jewish Central, i.e., Israel.]
Nevzlin Offers to Fund Party,
By Carl Schreck, Moscow Times [Russia], March 26, 2004
"Leonid Nevzlin, Yukos' largest shareholder not in jail, has offered to fund the new political party of opposition presidential candidate Irina Khakamada. Nevzlin, who is residing in Israel to avoid prosecution in Russia, where he is facing charges of fraud and tax evasion, said he is ready to put his money on the line to back Khakamada's newly created Free Russia party. "I want to allow Russia to go down the path of democracy," Nevzlin said Thursday in a telephone interview with Interfax. "And for that reason I'm ready to support the democratic party that Irina Khakamada is creating." It was not immediately known whether Khakamada would accept his offer. Her spokesman, Konstantin Lazerev, said she would release a statement Thursday evening on her web site, Hakamada.ru, but as of 8:30 p.m. it had not been posted. Earlier this year, Nevzlin said he would help fund Khakamada's presidential campaign. Khakamada, however, later denied that she had taken any money from him. Nevzlin did not specify the amount of money he would like to give, Interfax reported, saying only that he will likely be "one of many who is ready to support this initiative, and that's why I'm ready to offer only partial financing necessary for building the party." Lazerev said Free Russia is actively seeking financial backers. Khakamada was a founder and co-leader of the Union of Right Forces, or SPS, but it did not support her candidacy, and she officially left the party earlier this week. Khakamada has described Free Russia as a "democratic, opposition party" that will work to attract new people, particularly young Russians, and build on "the energy and initiative of civil society" to change the country's course. The party's organizing committee held its first meeting Tuesday. Another former SPS leader, Boris Nemtsov, has left politics. He is head of the board of directors of Neftyanoi, and this week joined the board of Rostik Group, which owns Rosinter Restaurants, which owns the Patio Pizza, Planeta Sushi and Rostik's chains."
[Jews in Russia dominate the "Russian" mafia. Exploitive Jewish "oligarchs" have also plundered the Russian people. Berezovsky is one of them.]
Russian advertising tsar killed in second car bomb attack,
By Andrew Osborn, The Indepedent (UK), April 2004
"One of Russia's most successful businessmen has been blown up in his armoured limousine in the second attempt on his life in less than a year. Boris Goldman, president of the advertising firm New Found Quality (NFQ), died on Monday night along with his driver and bodyguard when an assassin on a motorcycle placed a powerful bomb on the roof of his limousine when it stopped at a traffic light in south-west Moscow. The killer did not manage to escape the subsequent blast and lost his own life too. Although not in the financial league of Russia's super-rich oligarchs, Mr Goldman was widely rated as one of the country's most successful businessmen. Last year he was Russia's "Media Manager" of the year, and his company's clients have included blue-chip firms such as Ford, Bosch, DaimlerChrysler and Mercedes-Benz. His firm, NFQ, is alleged to have close links to Boris Berezovsky, the Russian oligarch who lives in the UK in self-imposed exile. Yesterday Kommersant, a daily newspaper owned by Mr Berezovsky, put the story of Mr Goldman's murder on the front page with the headline, "The killers die but they don't give up". Its tone was critical of Russia's cash-starved law enforcement agencies. Mr Goldman, it suggested, had not been offered the protection he deserved. The businessman escaped a first attempt on his life last October in exactly the same street when a mine was placed under his Toyota jeep and exploded, badly injuring his driver. He was unhurt. Nobody was arrested for that attack and Mr Goldman later claimed that the authorities had accused him of faking the incident. Fearing for his life, Mr Goldman decided to hire a specially converted Volvo S80 limousine from a company called Armortex for $800 (£440) a day. He was on his way home on Monday night in the Volvo when his killer, who has since been identified as a 24-year-old Muscovite, struck ... Police are said to have several strong leads as to who ordered the hit and Russian media reported yesterday that four suspects had been detained for questioning. Kommersant claimed that a walkie-talkie used by the killer to communicate with his handlers had survived the blast and that police had used it to get a fix on their location. Speculation is rife that Mr Goldman was killed as part of a savage struggle to gain control of Russia's multimillion-dollar advertising market. The market was virtually non-existent until 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed but has since enjoyed frenzied growth with most of Moscow now covered in giant billboards and Russian TV showing some of the world's longest advertisement breaks. Mr Goldman was typical of many Russian businessmen. A former teacher of Russian language and literature, he quickly reinvented himself and embraced the free market. After surviving the first attempt on his life, Mr Goldman told the media that it might have been linked to a conflict between NFQ's three founders. Mr Goldman founded the firm in 1992 along with Sergey Fomkin and Maksim Blokh but the founding partners appear to have had a falling out. Some of NFQ's senior executives apparently left the firm in recent times, taking with them big-name clients and leaving behind bad blood."
[JTR Contributor's comment: "Now here is a lesson for all those who believe 'Neoconservatives' have any legitimate or consistent ideology, other than promoting whatever appears to be in the interests of 'the-only-democracy-in-the-middle-east.' Putin has stood up to the Jewish oligarchs, and this has pissed off nearly every American Jewish commentator, as they whine about the curbing of 'freedom' and 'democracy' IN RUSSIA (while there has been no curbing in the U.S. or Israel, no sir). So now they support Muslim terrorists who are fighting for 'independence' and to preserve their 'ethnic identity,' unlike the Palestinians who are subhuman cold-blooded murders that wish to wipe out the Jewish state. Whether or not to side with Muslim terrorists depends only on the answer to the question, 'Is it good for the Neocons(and the Neocon agenda)?']
The Chechens' American friends. The Washington neocons' commitment to the war on terror evaporates in Chechnya, whose cause they have made their own,
by John Laughland, The Guardian (UK), September 8, 2004
"An enormous head of steam has built up behind the view that President Putin is somehow the main culprit in the grisly events in North Ossetia. Soundbites and headlines such as "Grief turns to anger", "Harsh words for government", and "Criticism mounting against Putin" have abounded, while TV and radio correspondents in Beslan have been pressed on air to say that the people there blame Moscow as much as the terrorists. There have been numerous editorials encouraging us to understand - to quote the Sunday Times - the "underlying causes" of Chechen terrorism (usually Russian authoritarianism), while the widespread use of the word "rebels" to describe people who shoot children shows a surprising indulgence in the face of extreme brutality. On closer inspection, it turns out that this so-called "mounting criticism" is in fact being driven by a specific group in the Russian political spectrum - and by its American supporters. The leading Russian critics of Putin's handling of the Beslan crisis are the pro-US politicians Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Ryzhkov - men associated with the extreme neoliberal market reforms which so devastated the Russian economy under the west's beloved Boris Yeltsin - and the Carnegie Endowment's Moscow Centre. Funded by its New York head office, this influential thinktank - which operates in tandem with the military-political Rand Corporation, for instance in producing policy papers on Russia's role in helping the US restructure the "Greater Middle East" - has been quoted repeatedly in recent days blaming Putin for the Chechen atrocities. The centre has also been assiduous over recent months in arguing against Moscow's claims that there is a link between the Chechens and al-Qaida. These people peddle essentially the same line as that expressed by Chechen leaders themselves, such as Ahmed Zakaev, the London exile who wrote in these pages yesterday. Other prominent figures who use the Chechen rebellion as a stick with which to beat Putin include Boris Berezovsky, the Russian oligarch who, like Zakaev, was granted political asylum in this country, although the Russian authorities want him on numerous charges. Moscow has often accused Berezovsky of funding Chechen rebels in the past. By the same token, the BBC and other media sources are putting it about that Russian TV played down the Beslan crisis, while only western channels reported live, the implication being that Putin's Russia remains a highly controlled police state. But this view of the Russian media is precisely the opposite of the impression I gained while watching both CNN and Russian TV over the past week: the Russian channels had far better information and images from Beslan than their western competitors. This harshness towards Putin is perhaps explained by the fact that, in the US, the leading group which pleads the Chechen cause is the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (ACPC). The list of the self-styled "distinguished Americans" who are its members is a rollcall of the most prominent neoconservatives who so enthusastically support the "war on terror". They include Richard Perle, the notorious Pentagon adviser; Elliott Abrams of Iran-Contra fame; Kenneth Adelman, the former US ambassador to the UN who egged on the invasion of Iraq by predicting it would be "a cakewalk"; Midge Decter, biographer of Donald Rumsfeld and a director of the rightwing Heritage Foundation; Frank Gaffney of the militarist Centre for Security Policy; Bruce Jackson, former US military intelligence officer and one-time vice-president of Lockheed Martin, now president of the US Committee on Nato; Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute, a former admirer of Italian fascism and now a leading proponent of regime change in Iran; and R James Woolsey, the former CIA director who is one of the leading cheerleaders behind George Bush's plans to re-model the Muslim world along pro-US lines. The ACPC heavily promotes the idea that the Chechen rebellion shows the undemocratic nature of Putin's Russia, and cultivates support for the Chechen cause by emphasising the seriousness of human rights violations in the tiny Caucasian republic. It compares the Chechen crisis to those other fashionable "Muslim" causes, Bosnia and Kosovo - implying that only international intervention in the Caucasus can stabilise the situation there. In August, the ACPC welcomed the award of political asylum in the US, and a US-government funded grant, to Ilyas Akhmadov, foreign minister in the opposition Chechen government, and a man Moscow describes as a terrorist. Coming from both political parties, the ACPC members represent the backbone of the US foreign policy establishment, and their views are indeed those of the US administration. Although the White House issued a condemnation of the Beslan hostage-takers, its official view remains that the Chechen conflict must be solved politically. According to ACPC member Charles Fairbanks of Johns Hopkins University, US pressure will now increase on Moscow to achieve a political, rather than military, solution - in other words to negotiate with terrorists, a policy the US resolutely rejects elsewhere. Allegations are even being made in Russia that the west itself is somehow behind the Chechen rebellion, and that the purpose of such support is to weaken Russia, and to drive her out of the Caucasus."
Chelsea boss and Russia's murky business world, by Simon Bell, Times (UK), July 3, 2003
"THERE have been virtually no sightings of Roman Abramovichoutside Russia until now, and his purchase of Chelsea for what is, to him, petty cash is another sign of the stirring of Russia’s mega-rich tycoons into the wider world. Mr Abramovich, 36, is married with children. He dresses casually and wears a slight stubble. He is a keen football fan but no one is quite sure if he has an interest or not in a Russian club. The last person to enlighten us further is Mr Abramovich himself. He has said: “What’s the difference between a rat and a pet mouse? Public relations." H e is so reclusive that not so long ago in Moscow there was a newspaper competition to try to find a photograph of him ... In 1940, when the Soviet Army entered the Baltic states, his parents lost everything and were deported to Krasnoyarsk, a deeply depressing industrial city in central Siberia that, 55 years later, would be the home of the world’s second biggest aluminium company, RusAl, co-owned by Roman Abramovich ... Mr Abramovich quietly runs one of two Jewish charitable associations in Russia, organised with President Putin’s blessing ...Contacts were the coin of the realm in Mikhail Gorbachev’s, and later Boris Yeltsin’s, Russia, and Mr Abramovich made perhaps the most vital contact of his early career at the Moscow Institute: Eugene Shvidler. In May this year Mr Shvidler became chairman of Yukos-Sibneft, the fourth largest oil company in the world, formed from Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Yukos and Mr Abramovich’s Sibneft. It was a long way from Mr Abramovich’s start in 1992 selling retread tyres. His other crucial contact was Boris Berezovsky. In 1993-94 Mr Berezovsky was Russia’s chief oligarch, a king-maker who, with his own and other oligarchs’ money, would go on to make “Czar” Yeltsin the President in 1996. Mr Abramovich, then 26, was head of an oil trading firm in Omsk and was carefully cultivating local politicians who enabled his company to grow into the most powerful in the region. Mr Berezovksy spotted him and invited him to join the board of a new oil company that he was setting up called Sibneft, and later made him chairman ... Mr Berezovsky was forced to leave Russia in 2001 under the shadow of alleged fraud. He is now appealing against an extradition order, pursued by President Putin himself. Mr Abramovich, always the politician, made peace with Mr Putin and has assumed Mr Berezovsky’s former interests in Russia. Mr Abramovich has made billions from the sale of a stake in Sibneft and will make even more from the rumoured sale of a car company in Russia co-owned with his partner and fellow oligarch, Oleg Deripaska."
[Open question: how many of these people in this news posting are Jewish? Is Teplitsaia the feminine form of Teplitsky? More on Russian "business" here and here.]
Russian Governors to Hold 'Morning Newsmaker' News Conference at National Press Club, Friday, Dec. 17 at 9 a.m,
U.S. Newswire, November 27, 2004
"News Advisory: Three Russian governors will hold a "Morning Newsmaker" news conference on Friday, Dec. 17 at 9 a.m. at the National Press Club ... Gennady M. Khodyrev of the Niznhy Novgorod Region, Nikolay M. Volkov of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, and Viktor I. Ishaev of the Khabarovsk Region, and American-Russian Chamber of Commerce President Helen Teplitskaia will discuss "Politics and Investing in Russia's Regions: Are There Opportunities Beyond Moscow?" Representatives of the Russian private sector also will be present."
[Who is Gusinsky? He is one of several Jewish super-millionaires-billionaires who looted Russia after the fall of communism. And the world Jewish Network, so influential in the West, protects him from Russian justice.]
European Court Backs Media Tycoon Gusinsky in Legal Battle With Russian Govt.,
Moscow News, November 19, 2004
"The European Court of Human Rights rejected an appeal by the Russian government to consider the case of businessman Vladimir Gusinsky against Russia in the Grand Chamber. The court upheld Gusinsky’s victory in the case on May 19. Then, the court ruled that the Russian government had violated Article 5 and 18 of the European Convention on Human Rights in relation to Gusinsky. The articles deal with the right to freedom and security. Gusinsky brought the claim against the government for his illegal arrest in June 2000. The court ruled that the violation in itself was enough for moral damages to be incurred. As a result, it asked the Russian Federation to pay 88,000 euros in damages. The ruling made on May 19 came into force on Nov. 10, the court declared. The judges noted that criminal prosecution and detention were used by the government for commercial needs and that Gusinsky was pressurized into signing a document where he gave his shares in the Media-Most holding to
Economic Principles, July 4, 2004
"The US government's long-running wrangle with economist Andrei Shleifer and Harvard University over Harvard's ill-fated Russia Project in the 1990s was resolved last week, in the government's favor. A Federal judge ruled that, by quietly investing on their own accounts while advising the Russian government, Harvard professor Shleifer and his Moscow-based assistant Jonathan Hayhad conspired to defraud the US Agency for International Development (USAID), which had been paying their salary. Hay was faulted for violating three counts of the False Claims Act, Shleifer for one, with two other counts against him pending a possible jury trial on what it means to have been "assigned" to Russia under the contract's terms. (Shleifer asserts that the conflict-of-interest rules didn't apply to him since, though directing the project, he had continued to reside outside of Russia, in Newton, Mass.) The decision by US District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock, based on motions by all sides for that he decide the case as a matter of law on the facts presented, left both Shleifer and Hay liable for treble damages -- as much as $120 million apiece, in the worst case. At the same time, Judge Woodlock cleared Harvard University of the government's most serious accusation, namely that its administrators knew or should have known that their team leaders were investing personally in concert with their wives. He ruled out treble damages under the False Claims Act, thereby confirming Harvard's view of itself as the victim of a couple of rogue employees. It was in 1992, after Congress passed the Freedom for Russia and the Emerging Eurasian Democracies and Open Market Support Act, that USAID hired Harvard to provide consultants to the Russian government to help design institutions favorable to democratic government and a market economy. Shleifer in due course became the project director, Hayhis deputy. Allegations of conflict of interest boiled over among US aid workers in Moscow in 1997, and USAID began an internal investigation. The agency suspended the project in May. An angry Russian government, staffed by friends of Shleifer and Hay, shelved the relationship the same day. Harvard then fired Hay and relieved Shleifer, a tenured professor, of his project duties. USAID then cancelled the contract. And in September, 2000, the US Attorney in Boston filed an 11-count civil claim against Harvard University, Shleifer, Hay, Nancy Zimmerman (Shleifer's wife and a partner in a hedge fund with investments in Russia) and Elizabeth Hebert (Hay's then-girlfriend, now his wife). US Attorney Donald Stern said at the time that his office had contemplated criminal charges but filed none. Judge Woodlock quickly dismissed the charges against Zimmerman and Hebert, on grounds that neither worked for Harvard or the government and were not parties to the contract. As previously reported, Harvard at one point offered to settle its part of the case for as much as $24 million, or two-thirds the value of its contract, in the course of an unsuccessful mediation by Judge David Mazzone, according to attorneys familiar with the case ...Shleifer, who left Russia with his parents when he was 15, only to return as a senior adviser to its government (and a distinguished economist) at the age of 30, remains a Harvard professor ... Jonathan Hay, who became a student of Shleifer's while at Harvard Law School, joined the London office of the Cleary Gottlieb law firm as an associate in 2002.
Do Americans Even Care? Russia, Israel and Media Omissions,
by Alison Weir, CounterPunch, February 17, 2005
"As is often the case with AP's coverage of news having to do with Israel, there's a serious omission in its reporting on the Russia-Israel connection even when it involves oil and the United States. The day after the State of the Union Address, two Interpol fugitives attended the "National Prayer Breakfast" held in Washington DC. The day before that, these fugitives from the law were the guests of honor at an hour-long meeting of the International Relations Committee on Capitol Hill, invited by ranking Democrat Tom Lantos (Calif.) You would think it would be hot news when wanted men being hunted by European police suddenly pop up in the US particularly on Capitol Hill and at events attended by the US president. Yet, there was not a single AP story in the US on any of this. Not a single national network television or radio news program even mentioned these facts. In fact, Google and LexisNexis searches four days after these events took place turned up only three newspaper articles on them anywhere in the entire country. Who are these fugitives from the law, wanted by Interpol, who are meeting at the highest levels of the US government? And why didn't we learn of them? Therein lies the story. These two men, it turns out, are just the tips of a colossal iceberg. And this iceberg doesn't just have 90 percent of its mass hidden under water; this iceberg is almost entirely submerged. They are Mikhail Brudno and Vladimir Dubov, Israeli-Russian partners in the giant Russian oil company Yukos. They, along with a number of their cronies, are wanted by Interpol for allegedly bilking Russian citizens out of billions of dollars. To elude Russian prosecution, these men have taken up residence in Israel. As the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz explains: "In recent years Russian authorities began investigating [Yukos], its managers and major stockholders, many of whom are of Jewish origin. The probes caused several of the managers to flee to Israel, and resulted in Khodorkovski's [Yukos CEO] arrest and a Kremlin attack on Yukos." The fact is that Israel is an important factor in the ongoing, nation-shaking power struggle now going on in Russia. Yet AP virtually never reports this connection. For example, a few months ago in a typical AP story on this power struggle, "Report: Russia again charges Berezovsky," Moscow AP Bureau Chief Judith Ingram makes no mention anywhere that Berezovsky is an Israeli citizen, or of his many connections to Israel. Such omissions by AP and large swaths of the American media leave Americans seriously disadvantaged in deciphering what is going on in Russia, and its profound significance for the world. In order to make sense of this Russian power struggle, and to understand its importance to the rest of us, it is necessary to understand the usually omitted Israeli subtext. When this is understood, the friendship of such pro-Israel Congressional leaders as Rep. Lantos to fugitive Russian oil tycoons begins to make sense. To explore this background it is often useful to turn to the Israeli press. In July a major Israeli publication, the Jerusalem Post, carried an article headlined: "Boris Berezovsky: Putin's Russia dangerous for Israel." Before describing what this contained, let us first go into a little of the background ... Boris Berezovsky is one of seven "oligarchs," as they are known both inside and outside Russia: massively rich, powerful manipulators who through violence, theft and corruption acquired a mammoth percentage (reports range from 70 to 85 percent) of Russia's resources, from its oil to the auto industry to mass media outlets. At the same time, the group steadily gained control over much of the country's political apparatus. Using extraordinary financial resources and insider dealing, the oligarchs handpicked prime ministers and governmental leaders and barely even bothered to do this behind the scenes. In 1997 Yukos founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky, one of the group and Russia's sometimes richest man (several of the oligarchs trade the top spot back and forth) told an interviewer before he was arrested and imprisoned by Putin last year ... Almost all of these oligarchs, it turns out, have significant ties to Israel. In fact, Berezovsky himself has Israeli citizenship a fact that caused a scandal of Watergate proportions in Russia in 1996 when it was exposed by a Russian newspaper. Do Berezovsky's dual loyalties really matter? Yes. In the realm of global dominance, Israel's interests and Russia's are considerably divergent. It is in Israel's interests to bring to power a regime in Russia friendly to Israel, rather than the current one under Putin, which Israeli leaders feel is supportive of its enemies. Not long ago, for example, Putin met with Syrian leaders an action highly disturbing to Israel. Having an Israeli citizen at the highest levels of the Russian government is ideal, from Israel's point of view. In Berezovsky they had such a man. The Jerusalem Post article mentioned above is revealing. It describes Berezovsky as "the Godfather of the Oligarchs' and Kingmaker of Russia's Politics'" and reports Berezovsky's statement that "Putin's Russia is dangerous for Israel." Berezovsky goes on to assert that Putin "supports terror" in the Middle East through Russia's previous relations with Iraq and current relations with Iran. While Israelis may have been delighted at Berezovsky's position in Russia, It is not surprising that Russian citizens were somewhat less so. Finding that a powerful leader and member of the Russian Security Council was an Israeli citizen was disconcerting, at best. As a result of the media uproar over Berezovsky's Israeli citizenship and other events, the Oligarchs' connections to Israel are widely known in Russia and elsewhere. In Israel they are covered frequently, often with adulation, including a recent hit Israeli TV series called "The Oligarchs." "Some of its episodes," according to Israeli writer Uri Avnery, "are simply unbelievable or would have been, if they had not come straight from the horses' mouths: the heroes of the story, who gleefully boast about their despicable exploits. The series was produced by Israeli immigrants from Russia." Avnery writes that the oligarchs used "cheating, bribery and murder," as they "exploited the disintegration of the Soviet system to loot the treasures of the state and to amass plunder amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars. In order to safeguard the perpetuation of their business, they took control of the state. Six out of the seven are Jews." According to a Washington Post story by David Hoffman, the group bought and controlled Russian governmental officials at the highest levels. After financing Yeltsin's election in 1996, Hoffman writes: "The tycoons met and decided to insert one of their own into government. They debated who and chose [Vladimir] Potanin, who became deputy prime minister. One reason they chose Potanin was that he is not Jewish, and most of the rest of them are, and feared a backlash against the Jewish bankers." In Russia, the oligarchs are deeply loathed, considered villains who worked to bleed the country dry; during their reign many Russian citizens saw their life savings disappear overnight. A new term was coined for their dominance, "semibankirshchina" (the rule of the seven bankers), and they were widely known to have wielded small, murderous armies. There are rumors that Berezovsky, subject of the respectful AP article, was even responsible for the gunning down of an American journalist, Forbes Moscow editor Paul Klebnikov. While no one has been charged with the murder of Klebnikov, who had written a book on Berezovsky, many suspect a Berezovsky connection. As a friend of Klebnikov wrote: "Experienced expatriates in Russia shared an essential rule: Don't cross these brutal billionaires, ever, or you're likely to go home in a box." [JTR editor's note: Klebnikov wrote an anonymous (for fear of assassination) feature article at Forbes about Berezovsky a few years ago and an entire book entitled The Godfather of the Kremlin and the Looting of Russia."] The Chechnya Connection There is evidence that Berezovsky's responsibility for death and tragedy may be vastly greater. "Berezovsky boasts that he caused the war in Chechnya," Avnery reports, "in which tens of thousands have been killed and a whole country devastated. He was interested in the mineral resources and a prospective pipeline there. In order to achieve this he put an end to the peace agreement that gave the country some kind of independence. The oligarchs dismissed and destroyed Alexander Lebed, the popular general who engineered the agreement, and the war has been going on since then. "In the end," Avnery writes, "there was a reaction: Vladimir Putin, the taciturn and tough ex-KGB operative, assumed power, took control of the media, put one of the oligarchs (Mikhail Khodorkovsky) in prison, caused the others to flee (Berezovsky is in England, Vladimir Gusinsky is in Israel, another, Mikhail Chernoy, is assumed to be hiding here.)" Yet, apart from the Washington Post, American media report on almost none of this. Instead, US coverage largely portrays Berezovsky and his crowd as American-style entrepreneurs who are being hounded by a Russian government whose actions are, to repeat the media's commonly used phrase, "politically motivated." US news stories, even when they occasionally do hint at questionable practices, tend to use such phrases as "brash young capitalists" to describe the oligarchs. For example, a long series co-produced by FRONTLINE and the New York Times referred to these men as "shrewd businessmen," and asked "what it's like to be young, Russian and newly affluent?" Massive violence, dual loyalties, and control of resources are rarely, if ever, part of the picture. When AP Moscow bureau chief Ingram was asked for this article about Berezovsky's Israeli citizenship, she claimed to know nothing about it, a curious contention for someone who has been an AP news editor in Moscow since 1999. When Ingram was queried further, she hung up the phone. An examination of Ingram's reporting on the Berezovsky story cited above raises serious questions. Though she is located in Moscow, Ingram interviewed only two people for her news story: Berezovsky, who is in London, and Berezovsky associate Alex Goldfarb, in New York. One wonders why she interviewed none of the Russians residing around her. Similarly, one wonders why not a single AP story has identified Berezovsky's considerable connection to Israel. Further, nowhere does Ingram's article convey the ruthlessness of the oligarchs' actions, or the significance of their holdings, including control of its media. Unnoted in Ingram's report is the fact that her subject and fellow oligarch Vladimir Gusinsky have been two of Russia's most powerful media tycoons. Before Putin's crackdown, according to the Washington Post, oligarchs had succeeded in seizing "the reins of Russia's print and broadcast media, vital to the evolution of the country's fledgling democracy and growth of its nascent civil society." Berezovsky crony Gusinsky, who is close friends with Rupert Murdoch and was about the launch a satellite network, fled to Israel when it appeared he would be arrested." Somehow, AP's bureau chief seems to have missed all this Does this matter to Americans? AP is the major news source for the thousands of news outlets around the country who cannot afford to have their own foreign correspondents. When AP chooses not to cover something, its omission is felt throughout the nation. When national news networks and others leave out the same facts, the cover-up is almost total. Russia, despite its current turmoil, contains enormous power. Its natural resources are gargantuan: it possesses the world's largest natural gas reserves, the second largest coal reserves, and the eighth largest oil reserves. It is the world's largest exporter of natural gas, the second largest oil exporter, and the third largest energy consumer. Russia's significance on the world stage now, as in the past, is immense. Similarly, the United States is currently the most powerful nation on earth. It is therefore essential that its citizens be accurately informed on issues of significance. Israeli citizens, Russian citizens, and citizens of nations throughout the world know the information detailed above. It is critical that American citizens be no less well informed. For years, the neocons' push for war against Iraq was largely uncovered by the US media. For even longer, the neocons' close connections to Israel have gone largely unmentioned in mainstream American news reports. As a result, very few Americans know to what degree many of those responsible for the tragic US invasion and occupation of Iraq have been motivated by Israeli concerns."
[We missed this one last summer. Its' a documentary film series broadcast in Israel. And it's incredible.]
The Oligarchs. Or How the Virgin Became a Whore,
By URI AVNERY, CounterPunch, August 4, 2004
"This is a TV series about Russia. But it could have been about Israel. Or about the United States. It is entitled "The Oligarchs" and is now being screened on Israeli television. Some of its episodes are simply unbelievable--or would have been, if they had not come straight from the horses' mouths: the heroes of the story, who gleefully boast about their despicable exploits. The series was produced by Israeli immigrants from Russia. The "oligarchs" are a tiny group of entrepreneurs who exploited the disintegration of the Soviet system to loot the treasures of the state and to amass plunder amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars. In order to safeguard the perpetuation of their business, they took control of the state. Six out of the seven are Jews. In popular parlance they are called "oligarchs"--from the Greek word meaning "rule of the few". In the first years of post-Soviet Russian capitalism they were the bold and nimble ones who knew how to exploit the economic anarchy in order to acquire enormous possessions for a hundredth or a thousandth of their value: oil, natural gas, nickel and other minerals. They used every possible trick, including cheating, bribery and murder. Every one of them had a small private army. In the course of the series they are proud to tell in great detail how they did it. But the most intriguing part of the series recounts the way they took control of the political apparatus. After a period of fighting each other, they decided that it would be more profitable for them to cooperate in order to take over the state. At the time, President Boris Yeltsin was in a steep decline. On the eve of the new elections for the presidency, his rating in public opinion polls stood at 4%. He was an alcoholic with a severe heart disease, working about two hours a day. The state was, in practice, ruled by his bodyguard and his daughter; corruption was the order of the day. The oligarchs decided to take power through him. They had almost unlimited funds, control of all TV channels and most of the other media. They put all these at the disposal of Yeltsin's reelection campaign, denying his opponents even one minute of TV time and pouring huge sums of money into the effort. (The series omits an interesting detail: they secretly brought over the most outstanding American election experts and copywriters, who applied methods previously unknown in Russia.) The campaign bore fruit: Yeltsin was indeed reelected. On the very same day he had another heart attack and spent the rest of his term in hospital. In practice, the oligarchs ruled Russia. One of them, Boris Berezovsky, appointed himself Prime Minister. There was a minor scandal when it became known that he (like most of the oligarchs) had acquired Israeli citizenship, but he gave up his Israeli passport and everything was in order again. By the way, Berezovsky boasts that he caused the war in Chechnya, in which tens of thousands have been killed and a whole country devastated. He was interested in the mineral resources and a prospective pipeline there. In order to achieve this he put an end to the peace agreement that gave the country some kind of independence. The oligarchs dismissed and destroyed Alexander Lebed, the popular general who engineered the agreement, and the war has been going on since then. In the end, there was a reaction: Vladimir Putin, the taciturn and tough ex-KGB operative, assumed power, took control of the media, put one of the oligarchs (Mikhail Khodorkovsky) in prison, caused the others to flee (Berezovsky is in England, Vladimir Gusinsky is in Israel, another, Mikhail Chernoy, is assumed to be hiding here.) Since all the exploits of the oligarchs occurred in public, there is a danger that the affair might cause an increase in anti-Semitism in Russia. Indeed, the anti-Semites argue that these doings confirm the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", a document fabricated by the Russian secret police a century ago, purporting to reveal a Jewish conspiracy to control the worl ... [In Israsel] Shimon Peres' connections with multi-millionaires are well-known, as are the huge sums poured out by American Jewish multi-millionaires for extreme right-wing causes in Israel. One of the Russian oligarchs is the part-owner of the second biggest Israeli newspaper ... As a Russian commentator in the TV series said about the new Russian democracy: "They have turned a virgin into a whore.
Turning to the nearby new capitalist nation of Russia, in 1997 the Washington Post noted that
JewsIn 2001, the deputy head of the Russian Jewish Congress, Mikhail Miralashvili was arrested in Russia and charged with kidnapping. "Mr. Mirilashvili," noted London's Independent,
"who holds joint Israeli and Russian citizenship, was due to leave Russia this week with the Israeli President, Moshe Katzav, who is on a state visit. Mr. Mirlashvili is a director of the St. Petersburg company Russian Video, which was bought by Media-Most, controlled by Mr. Gusinsky, in 1997. Mr. Gusinsky was later accused of defrauding the state by buying the company for $10 million -- well below its real value." [COCKBURN, P., 1-25-01]
In 2000, Gusinsky, who, like other Rusisan Jewish media moguls, has dual Russian-Israeli citizenship, fled Russia after accusations of fraud. In October, related to the Gusinsky criminal investigation, Russian police raided the central Moscow synagogue, searching "practically everything," but particularly looking for "in what way was the Jewish community ... laundering money it was receiving from its sponsors." Alexander Osovtsov, Executive Vice President of the Russian Jewish Congress, complained: "What gives special cynicism to it is the fact that the action was undertaken on the single day when the leaders of the Congress and the Jewish community were absent from Moscow because they were on a one-day visit of peace and solidarity to Israel." [INTERFAX RUSSIAN NEWS, 10-20-00]
As Jewish scholar Betsy Gidwitz noted in 1999:
"That Jews control a disproportionately large share of the Russian economy and Russian media certainly has some basis in fact. Between 50 and 80 percent of the Russian economy is said to be in Jewish hands, with the influence of the five Jews among the eight individuals commonly referred to as "oligarchs" particularly conspicuous. (An oligarch is understood to be a member of a small group that exercises control in a government. The five oligarchs of Jewish descent are Boris Berezovsky, Mikhail Friedman, Vladimir Gusinsky, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and Alexander Smolensky. The other oligarchs are Vagit Alekperov, Vladimir Potanin, and Rem Vyakhirev.) Perhaps the most famous (and simultaneously the most infamous) of the oligarchs is Boris Berezovsky. In common with most of the other Jewish oligarchs, Berezovsky controls industries in three critical areas: the extraction and sale of a major natural resource, such as oil, as a source of great wealth; a large bank (useful in influencing industry and transferring assets abroad); and several major media outlets (useful for exerting influence and attacking rivals). He alsocontrols a significant share of the Aeroflot airline and the Moscow automobile industry." [GIDWITZ, B., 9-15-99]\
As Jewish scholar Betsy Gidwitz noted in 1999:
A 1999 Wall Street Journal editorial notes that disturbing situation in today's Russia:
As Jewish scholar Michael Paul Sacks noted in 1998 about the almost secretive nature of the economic situation of Jews in modern Russia:
"Published census data on Jews [in Russia] have been very scarce, but this [from the 1989 Russian census] and other sources leave no doubt that in comparision with other groups Soviet Jews were very distinctive in terms of their urban concentration and their educational and professional achievement ... With the recent release of new data from the 1989 census, a more precise understanding of the opportunities available to Jews in 'Soviet' Russia is now possible. These data show the number of men and women by major ethnic groups (including Jews) in 257 job categories. Surprisingly, this new information is not referred to even in the most recent Russian scholarship on Jews, and it received no mention in western sources ... Jews showed a very early path of upward mobility in the modernizing sectors of the labor force ... [SACKS, 1998, p. 247] ... Occupations that that were largest for Jews were primarily top-level positions and all were white collar: physicians, scientists, chief-managerial personnel, artists and producers, literary and press personnel. The [job] categories that were largest only for Russians were entirely manual labor and other low-skills; tractor drivers, cleaners, weighers, nursemaids, lathe operators, tailors and seamstresses, carpenters and dairy work." [SACKS, M., 1998, p. 257]
A 1995 study in Russia found that 84% of employed Jews had "professional or managerial positions." Another 4% were "owners of firms or entrepreneurs." [SACKS, M., 1998, p. 265]
Then there is Boris Jordan, also Jewish, from New York's Long Island, eventual head -- after Vladimir Gusinsky fled to Israel to escape criminal prosecution -- of Russian television station NTV, "who almost single-handedly established the Russian stock market, who in one year earned half the global profits for his employers at Credit Suisse First Boston, who walked away from a reported $4 million bonus because it was insultingly small and instead founded Russia's first full-service investment bank, which he optimistically called Renaissance Capital. Brash, bright and above all ambitious, Jordan more than
any other individual put Russia on the financial map in the 90's. 'Czar Boris,' as he was dubbed by admiring business reporters, held court high atop Moscow's most expensive new skyscraper, while Renaissance's 800 pinstriped bankers and brokers handled billions of dollars from blue-chip investors like George Soros and the Harvard endowment. The darling of Davos, the Swiss summit for the well heeled and influential, Jordan was, in his own words, on top of the world." [BRZENSKI,
M., 7-22-01, p. 40]
Oil magnate Leonid Nevzlin became head of the Russian Jewish Congress in 2001. He and the aforementioned Mihail Khodorkowvsky "formed one of the first successful private banks in Russia in 1989. The two then went into the oil business together, and now run the YUKOS firm -- Khodorkovsky is in charge, and Nevzlin is his deputy." The secular Jewish Nevzlin, like so many, has returned to his Jewish roots. "For all my life," he says, "I have never felt any substantial anti-Semitism, and was rather indifferent to the Jewish community. Then something clicked, and I thought, Well, I'm over 40, I have made a successful career, I have made a fortune. But what will I tell my children when I am 70." [GORODETSKY, L., 5-23-01]
Then there is Anatoly Karachinsky, "head of Information Business Systems, Russia's largest IT group." Karachinsky, also Jewish, "is regarded in Russia as the country's answer to Bill Gates -- and who is about to become the country's first high-technology dollar millionaire." Karachinsky "set up NewspaperDirect, a system that allows newspapers from anywhere in the world to be printed on a desktop." [FINANCIAL TIMES, 10-2-00]
Then there is New York-based Stuart Subotnick, also Jewish, who is the CEO and president of Metromedia International Group. (In 1999, Subotnick was ranked by Forbes magazine among the richest 400 Americans). This company's specialty is cable, telephone, and digital media -- largely in Eastern Europe. Holdings include complete -- or major -- shares in Russia's PLD Telekom, Kosmos TV ("one of Russia's largest wireless cable operators"), 50% of Comstar ("a large Moscow digital communications carrier"), Romsat ("one of the largest cable operators in Romania"), 70% of "a leading Bucharest-based ISP (Internet Service Provider) called FX Internet. Metromedia even has holdings in places like Belarus and Kazakhstan. In Russia it also owns "several TV and radio stations in St. Petersburg and Nizhii Novgorod." [CAPITAL MARKET RUSSIA, 5-20-99; AFX EUROPEAN FOCUS, 1-12-01; CABLE EUROPE, 7-4-00; TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES MARKET, 6-26-00]
Howard Jacobson rode with a taxi driver in recent years in New York City. The driver was a fellow Jew, a recent immigrant from Russia. "He speaks Yiddish," noted Jacobson in 1993,
(excerpt from When Victims Rule. A Critique of Jewish Preeminence in America, chapter 24, pt. 2 )
[The trans-world Jewish collusion. More evidence of the Jewish/Zionist sweep of American foreign policy. Jewish/Zionist Pentagon bigwig Richard Perle interferes in Russian politics in the name of the Jewish Russian owners of Yukos Oil; Mikhail Khodorkovsky (Russia's richest man) is Jewish]
THE WORLD: Russian Firm's Woes Raise Fears for Big Business. The outcome of a battle between an energy giant and criminal prosecutors could affect the development of the nation's free market
By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times, July 23, 2003
"When key Washington policy advisor Richard Perle sat down this week for a meeting with leading Russian political analysts, he had an unsolicited word of advice: Lay off Yukos Oil Co., the Russian energy giant locked in a showdown with criminal prosecutors. Many believe that the outcome of that battle could determine the future of big business and foreign investment in this nation's still-fledgling free-market economy. "It's possible already to say that real damage is being done to the prospects for future Russian economic growth and development by what appears to be an arbitrary, capricious and vindictive campaign against a private company," warned Perle, adding that "it will get very bad" if the Kremlin decides to move decisively against Yukos. For nearly three weeks, Moscow has been politically shaken by the face-off between prosecutors and Russia's richest man, 40-year-old Mikhail Khodorkovsky, whose Yukos empire has been threatened by the arrest of a key shareholder, searches at company offices and announcements that prosecutors are examining company officials for suspected crimes from tax evasion to murder. The fact that U.S. interests are quietly weighing in on Khodorkovsky's behalf - Perle emphasized that he was not speaking on behalf of the government, but U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow clearly was when he said the affair "raises a number of questions for us" - is testament to Khodorkovsky's role as a powerful advocate for Western interests in a country still deeply troubled over issues such as U.S. policy in Iraq and the future of free-market capitalism within its own borders. The outcome of the Yukos crisis is crucial for Russia, not only because it will signal whether free-enterprise advocates in the Kremlin will hold out against an apparent assault from the state bureaucracy's old guard but also because the dogfight has already proved costly. Yukos, which is expected to become the world's fourth-largest oil company after a planned merger with Russian company Sibneft, has lost $10 billion in market capitalization over the last two weeks, or about a quarter of its value. Its slide pulled down the stock market, which has lost more than $20 billion ... It is not known to what extent [Russian Prime Minister] Putin may have been involved in approving the July 2 arrest of Platon Lebedev, 43, a billionaire and a key member of Khodorkovsky's financial empire, on embezzlement charges stemming from the privatization of a fertilizer plant nearly a decade ago. Some analysts believe that Putin simply wants to warn Khodorkovsky and the other oligarchs to stay out of politics and is not seeking to reverse liberal economic reforms. Not only has Khodorkovsky given millions of dollars to two liberal parties that might block Kremlin policy in parliament, but he also urged Russia not to oppose the U.S. in the war on Iraq."
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