Tuesday, March 13, 2012

430 Khodorkovsky: New Yorker laments loss of Russia's Independent Judiciary

Khodorkovsky: New Yorker laments loss of Russia's Independent Judiciary

(1) Jeffrey Blankfort: why Putin moved against Khodorkovsky in 2003
(2) When Khodorkovsky was arrested in 2003, he was about to sell part of Yukos to Exxon or Chevron, and list it on NY stock exchange
(3) Putin confirms Khodorkovsky planning to sell 40% of Yukos to Exxon (2003)
(4) Khodorkovsky transfers stakes in Yukos to tax havens like Isle of Man & Cyprus (2002)
(5) Wikileaks cable on Khodorkovsky
(6) Khodorkovsky: New Yorker laments loss of Russia's Independent Judiciary
(7) Khodorkovsky: Gulag Lite - from the New Yorker
(8) Khodorkovsky: What ever happened to Williamson and her book?!!!
(9) Testimony of Anne Williamson on the Looting of Russia
(10) Publishers refused to publish Anne Williamson's book on Soros' role in the Looting of Russia
(11) The men who really rule Russia. (oligarchs led by Boris Berezovsky) - New Statesman (1998)
(12) Jewish oligarchs spur Antisemitism. Each had a resource company, a bank (to transfer assets abroad), and a media outlet
(13) ADL teaches Russian officials how to fight intolerance & hate (2002)

(1) Jeffrey Blankfort: why Putin moved against Khodorkovsky in 2003

{Jeff supplies various reports and links; the expanded articles follow as subsequent items}

From: Jeffrey Blankfort <jblankfort@earthlink.net> Date: 30.12.2010 03:50 AM
Subject: Re: Khodorkovsky conviction exposes links with Soros & Rothschild. Soros is no Robin Hood, but a fellow Oligarch

Peter, this is a very interesting compilation of articles but there is one important fact that is missing and may explain why Putin moved against Khodorkovsky when he did back in 2003: As revealed in a very short article in the Financial Times and apparently no where else at the time was the news that Khodor... was about to sell 20% of the shares of Lukos to Exxon, which to Putin was akin to selling part of Russia's patrimony. I thought I clipped it but can't find it at the moment and it didn't show up with an internet search.

Also this Wikileaks cable from the US Embassy in 2007 is worth noting: http://wikileaks.ch/cable/2007/04/07MOSCOW1770.html

It seems that Khodor is being built up as a "new prisoner of Zion," as if this Russian robber baron was anything more than a self-promoting crook. Here is David Remick in the December 20, New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2010/12/20/101220taco_talk_remnick  

What is interesting is that Khodorkovsky and Lebedev had the referenced the article with a link to it on their website on Dec. 13 which is probably the day that the magazine was mailed. Collusion? Nah, not a chance.


(2) When Khodorkovsky was arrested in 2003, he was about to sell part of Yukos to Exxon or Chevron, and list it on NY stock exchange


Unyielding, an Oligarch vs. Putin


New York Times
Published: November 5, 2010

I wish I had enough space to reprint in its entirety Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky's closing statement, as his latest sham trial in Russia came to an end earlier this week. I have never been so moved by the words of a businessman.

{caption} Stripped of his company, which was sold off to politically connected insiders, Mikhail Khodorkovsky was convicted of trumped-up tax charges brought by prosecutors acting on behalf of Vladimir V. Putin, who had come to view Mr. Khodorkovsky as a threat.  {end}

... There are tragedies within tragedies in the story of Mikhail Khodorkovsky. There is the personal tragedy, of course, of a man tried and convicted of crimes he never committed. There is the tragedy of the Russian political system, once on the verge of real democracy, now little more than an enrichment scheme for Kremlin officials, a mind-set that accelerated once Mr. Khodorkovsky was disposed of.

There is also the tragedy of Russian business. Did Mr. Khodorkovsky do his share of unseemly deals in becoming an oligarch? Almost surely; all the oligarchs did during the early 1990s, an era in Russia now called the Wild, Wild East. But by the late 1990s he had become determined to turn Yukos into a model company, one that would help lead the way toward a new entrepreneurial spirit in Russia.

"He was the most visionary of all the Russian oligarchs," said William Browder, who runs the Hermitage Fund, and was once the largest portfolio manager in Russia. "He understood that the way to get the best valuation was to run the most transparent company."

To that end, he brought in Western board members who understood the principles of good corporate governance. He hired foreigners to critical executive positions, unheard of in Russia. A big reason that Russian companies had low valuations was that investors simply didn't believe their stated numbers — and had no idea how much of the company's cash flow was diverted for graft. Mr. Khodorkovsky changed that perception at Yukos by working hand in glove with the company's accountants in the Russian office of PricewaterhouseCoopers, who created an accounting structure that allowed Yukos to report earnings that met Western accounting standards, while satisfying the Russian tax authorities, no mean feat.

According to Bruce Misamore, an American who spent several years as the chief financial officer at Yukos, when Mr. Khodorkovsky was arrested in October 2003, he was in the process of selling a stake of the company to either Exxon Mobil or Chevron, both of which were eager to make an investment. He was also preparing to list Yukos on the New York Stock Exchange. He was worth a reported $15 billion.

(3) Putin confirms Khodorkovsky planning to sell 40% of Yukos to Exxon (2003)


Putin confirms Exxon talks with Yukos

By Lachlan Johnston  12:01AM BST 08 Oct 2003

Russian president Vladimir Putin has confirmed that ExxonMobil, the world's largest oil company, is in discussions with Russia's largest, Yukos-Sibneft.

ExxonMobil has been reported to be interested in buying a 40pc stake in Yukos-Sibneft, controlled by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, although both companies have refused to confirm this.

However, Mr Putin gave credence to the speculation in an interview with the New York Times. "As far as I know, the deal is not yet done. It is being discussed," he said.

The comments appeared to give impetus to rumours circulating in Russia that the deal would be struck this week. However, most analysts said the merger was unlikely to move forward before Russia's presidential elections later this year.

The merger talk also appears to have spurred Russian regulators, with investigators from the prosecutor-general's office searching more Yukos properties at the weekend.

Investigators have already arrested Platon Lebedev, a large Yukos shareholder and associate of Mr Khodorkovsky, on charges of fraud relating to the privatisation of Yukos. Mr Lebedev, who has denied the allegations, is being held awaiting trial. Mr Khodorkovsky was questioned earlier this year.

According to the prosecutor-general's office, investigators raided a Yukos-funded school for military orphans last Friday. In a statement it said the search had turned up new evidence of "tax evasion" estimated at "millions of US dollars".

Mr Khodorkovsky responded angrily to the search, which was conducted while he was presenting alongside ExxonMobil chief executive Lee Raymond at the World Economic Forum in Moscow last Friday.

At a press briefing on Monday, Mr Khodorkovsky said the searches were "an elementary attempt to intimidate" and denied the allegations of tax evasion.

"I don't plan to become a political emigre. If the goal is to drive me from the country or put me in jail, they'd better put me in jail," Mr Khodorkovsky was reported as saying.

The latest allegations failed to dent Yukos's share price, which yesterday rose by 2.1pc, the same gain as Russia's rising RTS index. However, Yukos's competitor Lukoil posted a gain of almost 5pc, as analysts said it was benefiting from the speculation about Yukos's takeover.

Renaissance Capital analyst Adam Landes said the Russian market would continue to be dominated by speculation, but a deal was unlikely for several months. "This is an incredibly big deal. It is unsurprising the government has become involved - Yukos accounts for more than a quarter of the country's oil production," he said.

(4) Khodorkovsky transfers stakes in Yukos to tax havens like Isle of Man & Cyprus (2002)

Russia's Oil Czar Looks West

Bloomberg Markets Magazine, July 2002


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.

(5) Wikileaks cable on Khodorkovsky

{The slogan "Help Wikileaks keep Governments Open" is a very good one, because we're supposedly "the Open Society"}



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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW1770 2007-04-18 07:07 2010-12-26 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

DE RUEHMO #1770/01 1080748
P 180748Z APR 07

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 001770




EO 12958 DECL: 04/17/2017

Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns for reasons 1.5 (b, d)

¶1. (C) Summary:  Emboffs met with  XXXXXXXXXXXX. He described the new embezzlement and money laundering charges -- that Khodorkovskiy engaged in transfer pricing that harmed unwitting minority shareholders in Yukos' three production subsidiaries -- as a re-packaging of the charges in the first case. He claimed the defense has substantial evidence these shareholders were fully informed of these activities. Further, XXXXXXXXXXXX maintained that the charges are without legal or factual support and questioned the prosecution's claim that the loss to the subsidiaries was USD 30 billion, a figure he said was about equal to the value of the oil produced by the three units during the period in question.  XXXXXXXXXXXX said he was surprised that a Moscow court had agreed to change the venue of the trial from Chita to Moscow. He described two cases pending before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The first case claims that Khodorkovskiy was arrested and held in pre-trial detention in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights (the Convention), while the second alleges violations of Khodorkovskiy's right to a fair trial.  XXXXXXXXXXXX maintained that the case against  XXXXXXXXXXXX is politically motivated and being run out of the Kremlin, and does not foresee any change of status for Khodorkovskiy while the Putin Administration remains in office. End Summary.

The New Charges

¶2. (C) On February 16, the General Procuracy charged Khodorkovskiy and Platon Lebedev with embezzlement and money laundering (Ref B). According to the indictment, Khodorkovskiy and Lebedev acquired controlling interests in three oil companies (Samaraneftegaz, Yuganskneftegaz, and Tomskneftegaz) and then caused these companies to sell oil at below-market prices to other companies that they controlled without disclosing to other shareholders their role in these transactions. They then allegedly re-sold the oil at market prices, which were approximately 3-4 times greater than the original purchase price. The alleged victims were the other shareholders of Samaraneftegaz, Yuganskneftegaz, and Tomskneftegaz, who were entitled to the benefit of an arms-length sale at market prices, but instead received only the artificially deflated prices allegedly set by Khodorkovskiy and Lebedev (Ref B).

¶3. (C) As an initial matter, XXXXXXXXXXXX said that the new charges are simply a re-packaging of the charges in the first case. According to XXXXXXXXXXXX in the first case, prosecutors relied on the very same transactions to charge Khodorkovskiy with tax evasion. However, he said, they were unsatisfied with Khodorkovskiy's eight-year sentence and decided to bring new charges carrying potentially heavier sentences. The money laundering charges carry a maximum sentence of 15 years and the embezzlement charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years. He said the defense will challenge them on the grounds that they violate Russian and international norms prohibiting double jeopardy.  XXXXXXXXXXXX also suggested that the new charges may have been brought to prevent Khodorkovskiy from being released on parole before upcoming Duma and Presidential elections. (Note: Russian law provides that a prisoner is eligible for early release after he has served half of his sentence. Because Khodorkovskiy was arrested in October 2003 and was sentenced to eight years, he might have been eligible for early release in October 2007. However, his prison violations, which  XXXXXXXXXXXX claims were provoked by authorities, would likely have prevented his early release in any event. End Note.)

¶4. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX also said that the new charges are without merit since this transfer pricing technique was not only legal but engaged in by "thousands of firms." He noted that the business groups and industrial firms emerging from privatization during the 1990s were generally organized to take maximum advantage of benefits the GOR provided via "internal offshore" zones. The headquarters and some operating units of a group or firm were typically located in identified havens and conducted most of the transactions, thus allowing for tax optimization. According to  XXXXXXXXXXXX this structure facilitated and encouraged the widespread practice of transfer pricing, whereby one part of a company
MOSCOW 00001770 002 OF 003
purchased the output made by another part of the company at below-market prices before selling the same output at a market price.

¶5. (C)  XXXXXXXXXXXX defense would present substantial documentary evidence, including records of corporate meetings, proving that the minority shareholders of Samaraneftegaz, Yuganskneftegaz, and Tomskneftegaz were fully informed of all relevant aspects of the subject transactions.   XXXXXXXXXXXX also claimed that if the minority shareholders had actually been defrauded, as prosecutors claim, they would have filed civil suits, which they did not do. Finally,  XXXXXXXXXXXX said that the prosecution's claim of a USD 30 billion loss to the shareholders is &absurd8 because the sum would represent the total value of all the oil produced by the subject companies during the relevant time period rather than the difference between what the minority shareholders actually received and what they would have received in arms-length transactions, which, he said, would have been much a more sensible way to measure the alleged loss.

The Trial: Where and When?

¶6. (C) The Procuracy filed the new charges in Chita, where Khodorkovskiy is presently incarcerated, and sought to conduct the preliminary investigation and trial there (Ref B). Shortly after the new charges were filed, the defense filed a motion seeking a change of venue to Moscow, claiming that the majority of witnesses and evidence are located there. On March 20, the Basmanny Court in Moscow granted the defense motion. The Procuracy appealed this decision and the appeal was heard on April 16 in the Moscow City Court. This Court upheld the Basmanny Court's decision transferring the case to Moscow.  XXXXXXXXXXXX Russian law provides that the preliminary investigation should be conducted in the place where the crime was allegedly committed, but may be conducted in the place where the defendant is located to ensure &completeness, objectivity and compliance with procedural norms."

¶7. (C)  XXXXXXXXXXXX claimed that the Procuracy chose Chita to make it difficult for the defense team to meet with their clients and prepare their defense. Specifically, he said, Chita is difficult to reach and lacks the copying machines and other office equipment the defense needs to prepare its case. XXXXXXXXXXXX said that although the Procuracy's decision was clearly wrong as a matter of law, he was surprised by the Basmanny Court's decision because the same court had consistently ruled against Khodorkovskiy in the first case. He claimed that the ruling was an indication of a general recognition that the Procuracy had "gone too far."

¶8. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX also said that he did not know when the trial on the new charges would take place. He said that the prosecution had sought to start the trial in June so that it would be completed before the elections, but noted that the case materials consist of 127 volumes and said that the XXXXXXXXXXXX said that the prosecutors will likely move to cut off the defense's review of the case file in May, but said that the defense would challenge such a motion. Under Russian law, the prosecution can seek to limit the time that the defense has to review the case file if there are grounds to believe that the defense is engaging in unreasonable delay. XXXXXXXXXXXX also said that a trial date could not be set until the location of the trial had been determined. Therefore, because of ongoing litigation regarding the venue of the trial and the voluminous nature of the case file, it is not clear when the case will proceed to trial.

The European Court of Human Rights

¶9. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX also said that Khodorkovskiy has filed two complaints to the ECHR in Strasbourg alleging violations of his rights under the Convention in the first case. The ECHR in Strasbourg adjudicates claims brought under the Convention. As a result of Russia's ratification of the Convention in 1998, Russia is bound by the Convention and any ECHR decisions interpreting it. The first complaint, he said,
MOSCOW 00001770 003 OF 003
alleges that Khodorkovskiy was arrested and held in pre-trial detention in violation of the Convention. XXXXXXXXXXXX said that the ECHR had agreed to hear this case on an accelerated timetable, but had not yet set a date.

¶10. (C) The second complaint, he said, alleges violations of Khodorkovskiy's right to a fair trial. XXXXXXXXXXXX explained that before adjudicating a case, the ECHR typically sends a list of specific questions about the movant's claims to the respondent government. According to XXXXXXXXXXXX the Russian government has not yet responded to the ECHR's questions regarding the second complaint and it is therefore not clear when this case will be considered. XXXXXXXXXXXX also said that the second complaint is "more interesting" than the first because, if successful, it could result in a reversal of Khodorkovskiy's conviction. By contrast, the first claim could only result in an award of monetary damages. XXXXXXXXXXXX also noted that the French Embassy in Moscow and German Bundestag have shown interest in this case.

No Changes Expected

¶11. (C) In his final remarks, XXXXXXXXXXXX claimed that the new charges against Khodorkovskiy are politically motivated and said that the case is being orchestrated entirely by the Kremlin. Although he stated confidently that the charges are without legal or evidentiary support, he concluded by saying that Khodorkovskiy would likely remain in prison as long as the Putin Administration is in power. BURNS

(6) Khodorkovsky: New Yorker laments loss of Russia's Independent Judiciary


The New Yorker: Khodorkovsky Affair Long Ago Erased Notion of Russia's Independent Judiciary

13 Dec 2010

The New Yorker

David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, comments on the Khodorkovsky trial, drawing comparisons of today's Russian court system with that of the Soviet era which had "no greater sense of independence or justice."

As head of YUKOS, Remnick reminds, Khodorkovsky began to display unusual signs of independence from the Kremlin and "began to see the necessity of playing a less sleazy game-not least in order to attract foreign investors." Khodorkovsky started funding human-rights groups, opposition political parties, and founded a charity called Open Russia.

Remnick comes to the conclusion that the "Khodorkovsky affair long ago erased any notion in Russia of an independent judiciary; it made plain that the courts do the bidding of a corrupt hierarchy that will stop at little to enrich itself." However, Khodorkovsky and his lawyers call themselves "realists" in light of the US-Russian "reset" in relations. However, he states that "Russia undermines its pretense to modern statehood with such an appalling abuse of state power. Putin's ruthlessness is apparent." ...

(7) Khodorkovsky: Gulag Lite - from the New Yorker



by David Remnick

DECEMBER 20, 2010

In 1964, a twenty-three-year-old poet was arrested by the Leningrad K.G.B. and charged with the crime of "malicious parasitism." His name was Josef Brodsky. One Communist Party newspaper denounced his poetry as "pornographic and anti-Soviet"; another noted archly that he wore "velvet pants." The authorities permitted him to testify in court, but they soon regretted their decision, and their failure to prevent a brave woman named Frida Vigdorova from taking notes on the proceedings. Vigdorova wrote down this exchange—the most famous legal exchange in Russia since Stalin's show trials—and the transcript was smuggled to the West:

JUDGE: And what is your profession?
BRODSKY: Poet. Poet and translator.
JUDGE: And who told you that you were a poet? Who assigned you that rank?
BRODSKY: No one. (Non-confrontationally.) Who assigned me to the human race?
JUDGE: And did you study for this?
BRODSKY: For what?
JUDGE: To become a poet? Did you try to attend a school where they train [poets] ...  where they teach ... 
BRODSKY: I don't think it comes from education.
JUDGE: From what, then?
BRODSKY: I think it's ...  (at a loss) ...  from God.

The judge sentenced Brodsky to five years of internal exile. Living in a village near the Arctic Circle, he crushed rocks and hauled manure by day. At night, he wrote, and he improved his English by reading Auden and Frost. Brodsky's mentor, the great Silver Age poet Anna Akhmatova, laughed at the K.G.B.'s shortsightedness. "What a biography they're fashioning for our red-haired friend!" she said. "It's as if he'd hired them to do it on purpose."

Akhmatova was hardly naïve about the capabilities of Soviet justice—she had lost a husband and countless friends in the Gulag—but she could see that the state was providing a linguistic genius with an aura of heroism. By the time Brodsky returned to Leningrad, he was a mature poet, whose brand of dissidence was an implacable disdain for the Soviet regime and an enduring devotion to the Russian language. The state soon found it necessary to exile this untamable creature abroad.

On December 15th, a Russian court with no greater sense of independence or justice than its Soviet forebears is expected to begin delivering judgment in the continuing saga of Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Once the richest man in Russia, Khodorkovsky ran afoul of Vladimir Putin, and has spent the past seven years in various prison cells and a Siberian labor camp near the Chinese border. Just as his initial sentence, for a conviction on trumped-up charges of fraud and tax evasion, is coming to an end, he faces new charges and the prospect of fourteen more years in prison.

Khodorkovsky is no Brodsky, or Solzhenitsyn, or Sakharov. A functionary of the Young Communist League in college, he emerged in the post-perestroika period as one of a small breed of talented, visionary, rapacious, and, in some instances, thuggish businessmen, who made unheard-of fortunes through a combination of hustle, political connection, and outright larceny. The new Russian state suffered from a poverty of legal and business norms, and from a desperate need for capital. In 1995, the government of Boris Yeltsin instituted a "loans for shares" auction of the most precious and profitable state enterprises still in its possession—particularly oil and metals. Khodorkovsky, who had already started a bank and was close to various Kremlin officials, bought an oil company, called Yukos, for three hundred million dollars. By 2003, his personal fortune was estimated at eight billion dollars.

Khodorkovsky exploited the lawlessness of the era no less than his fellow-oligarchs did, but he was more reserved than the rest. His displays of wealth were, by New Russian standards, old Wasp. He spoke softly and wore turtleneck sweaters. Over time, he also displayed unusual signs of independence from his Kremlin patrons. And, for Putin, there was the rub. Khodorkovsky began to see the necessity of playing a less sleazy game—not least in order to attract foreign investors. He hired Western consultants and lobbyists. He started funding human-rights groups, opposition political parties, and a charity called Open Russia. He talked about selling off a quarter of Yukos to ExxonMobil or Chevron, retiring from the business, and devoting much of his time to some kind of public service.

Putin, a former officer of the K.G.B., was especially infuriated by Khodorkovsky's attempt to negotiate independent deals with foreign partners. In the emerging system, widely known as Kremlin Incorporated, these were not the prerogatives of a private businessman. Putin had instructed the oligarchs that he would not question the origins of their lucre so long as they kept out of politics. And yet, in February, 2003, at a televised meeting at the Kremlin, Khodorkovsky sparred recklessly with Putin, challenging him on questions of government corruption, and implying that top state officials were pocketing millions in bribes. Privately, Putin told Lord John Browne, the former head of BP, "I have eaten more dirt than I need to from that man."

In October, 2003, Khodorkovsky was arrested. With him out of the way, Yukos's huge oil fields and assets were absorbed by the state oil conglomerate, Rosneft. Igor Sechin, then Putin's chief deputy, added to his portfolio the chairmanship of Rosneft's board of directors. As if to illustrate further the new folkways of the authoritarian corporate state, Sechin's daughter married Dmitry Ustinov, a trainee in the secret services; Ustinov's father, Vladimir, was the prosecutor-general who initially directed the case against Khodorkovsky.

Khodorkovsky, who hardly set out to be a moral example, has been elevated by his persecutors. Many Russians still see him as a robber baron who got his comeuppance, but some have recognized his trials for what they are—absurdist acts of injustice no more respectable than the railroading of Josef Brodsky.

Khodorkovsky has shown an undeniable endurance. From his prison cells, he has written articles and given epistolary interviews in which he speaks up for democratic norms. Despite his suffering—he was stabbed by a provocateur in a Siberian prison camp—he has the decency to point out that many Russians today suffer even worse privations for equally bogus charges; he describes his airless destiny as "Gulag lite." Andrei Sakharov's widow, Elena Bonner, is among the pro-democracy activists who have come along to defend and define Khodorkovsky. "I think that any person becomes a political prisoner if the law is applied to him selectively, and this is an absolutely clear case," she said. "This is a glaringly lawless action."

The Khodorkovsky affair long ago erased any notion in Russia of an independent judiciary; it made plain that the courts do the bidding of a corrupt hierarchy that will stop at little to enrich itself. Khodorkovsky and his lawyers call themselves "realists." They understand that, although President Obama has raised the issue with Putin, the United States has other pressing business with Russia: nuclear-arms control, North Korea, Afghanistan, Iran. But Russia undermines its pretense to modern statehood with such an appalling abuse of state power. Putin's ruthlessness is apparent. President Dmitry Medvedev ostensibly has the power to pardon, and he has shown some small measure of independence from his patron, speaking of the "legal nihilism" that prevails in Russia today. Does he have the capacity, much less the courage, to release Mikhail Khodorkovsky? ?

(8) Khodorkovsky: What ever happened to Williamson and her book?!!!
From: Charles Krafft <whodareswings@yahoo.com> Date: 30.12.2010 03:18 AM
Subject: Re: Khodorkovsky conviction exposes links with Soros & Rothschild. Soros is no Robin Hood, but a fellow Oligarch

Did you ever read Anne Wiilliamson's testimony before the US congress about the looting of Russia by Larry Summers and Jeffrey Sachs? Harvard was fined $500,000 I think. But they and their cronies made off with billions!


What ever happened to Williamson and her book?!!! She seems to have disappeared. 

William Browder story ( American Jewish scammer or wunderkind? )

Browder's lawyer Sergaei Magnitsky martyr?

Sergei Magnitsky scammer?

Interesting Russia related blogs:


Cyber Cossak:

(9) Testimony of Anne Williamson on the Looting of Russia


Testimony of Anne Williamson

Before the Committee on Banking and Financial Services of the United States House of Representatives

September 21, 1999

Before I begin my testimony, I want to take a moment to thank Chairman Leach and Ranking Member LaFalce for the opportunity to share with the House Committee on Banking some of the things I have learned over eight years of watching our Russian assistance program unfold. Chairman Leach, I particularly want to commend your efforts to lead the Congress on this very timely investigation of the true nature and unhappy consequences of our Russian policies.

I should like to add just a few words about myself by way of introduction. I am the author of CONTAGION: THE BETRAYAL OF LIBERTY; RUSSIA AND THE UNITED STATES IN THE 1990s, which will be available to Committee Members and the American public in time for the nation's Thanksgiving holiday. Prior to beginning my work on the book, I covered just about all things Russian for a broad range of publications which included inter alia The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Mother Jones, Art and Antiques, Premiere, Film Comment and SPY Magazine. From the late 1980s until 1997, I maintained homes in both Moscow and the United States. And therefore I can say for much of the last decade I had the privilege of being a witness to a dramatic history and the pleasure and excitement of sharing with the Russian people their remarkable land, language and culture. And it is with a profound gratitude to and a deep respect for that noble, heroic and too long-suffering people that I speak to you today. ...

HTML version courtesy of the J. Orlin Grabbe Homepage:


(10) Publishers refused to publish Anne Williamson's book on Soros' role in the Looting of Russia


Q. You have a new book coming out soon on Russia. Can you tell us about it?

A. The book is Contagion: The Betrayal of Liberty, Russia, and the United States in the 1990s. This book can be read in two ways, either as a discussion of the international financial system as it exists today, with Russia as the latest demonstration project; or as a history of Russian reform under Boris Yeltsin.

The book was contracted to Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, a prominent New York literary house, in the winter of 1993. I could not complete the book on time, because it's hard to write about a moving target. The publisher took advantage of this to break the contract. When the book was completed in the autumn of 1997, the publisher refused to read the completed manuscript.

That manuscript said, stated outright, that the Russian bond market would collapse before December 1998. It collapsed in August. I point this out because the book could have been on the market before the collapse, and the publisher and I could have done very well.

Yet, the publisher maintains there is no market for this book.

Since 1997, I have simply updated the book with new evidence, and this evidence sustains my analysis and my arguments.

The book has gone from publisher to publisher, some of whom have sat on it for five months, then they back out. My own agent has concluded the book is too threatening to the interests of publishers. I have even been told by one editor of the most prominent academic publishing house, and I'm quoting, "Your book is critical of government policy. This house does not publish books critical of government policy."

That letter was signed by Herb Addison of Oxford Publishing.

I have been told that [international financial wizard] George Soros purchased my contract from Farrar Strauss, since I trace many of his activities in Russia; and I can tell you those activities were not philanthropic. Also, I know an editor at The New York Times who copied my manuscript without permission.

The New York Times editor then leaked information from the book to at least one of the book's subjects. I know this to be true because that subject then contacted an associate whom the subject believed mistakenly was the source of the information that the subject found so upsetting and threatened this associate with legal action! It was quite outrageous as this person never was a source for anything in my book. ... ==

Her new book (2007) is Contagion: The Betrayal of Liberty; the United States and Russia in the Post-Cold War World: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig6/williamson3.html

But I can't find any reference to it. ==

(11) The men who really rule Russia. (oligarchs led by Boris Berezovsky) - New Statesman (1998)
The men who really rule Russia. (oligarchs led by Boris Berezovsky)

Chrystia Freeland names and shames "the oligarchs" who forced Yeltsin to sack an entire cabinet, but argues that the state's weakness is the real issue

New Statesman

August 28, 1998


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".

These men were the lobbying force that inspired the president's decision. They had discovered that this week Sergei Kiriyenko's cabinet planned to impose a radical restructuring programme including bankruptcies and takeovers of distressed Russian companies by their western creditors - on the dying Russian economy. It is just the sort of programme that western governments have been urging Moscow to introduce, but it would have threatened the financial empires of many of the oligarchs. And so the plan, and the ministers who had authored it, had to go.

As Boris Nemtsov, a casualty of the cabinet change and one of the driving forces behind the restructuring plan, explained to me on his last day in office: "They [the oligarchs] understood that the end was near, that there might be serious changes in ownership and that the current oligarchate might come to an end. Moreover, this fresh wind of bankruptcy ... could lead to a displacement of the current elite. Naturally, no elite wants to be replaced and …

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." ...

(12) Jewish oligarchs spur Antisemitism. Each had a resource company, a bank (to transfer assets abroad), and a media outlet

The Role of Politics in Contemporary Anti-Semitism

Betsy Gidwitz

Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. September 15, 1999


... The Oligarchs

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. He is a long-time, close associate of the Yeltsin family and is often perceived as a Rasputin-type figure in his relationship with Tatiana Dyachenko, Yeltsin's very influential daughter. Berezovsky's leading lieutenant is another Jew, Roman Abramovich, a shadowy individual in his early 30s. Abramovich manages Berezovsky's vast oil interests (Sibneft and related companies), arranges major financial and industrial positions in the Russian Cabinet, serves as cashier to the Yeltsin family, and controls access to Berezovsky himself.

Vladimir Gusinsky owns a large stable of media outlets through Media Most, including NTV, several newspapers, and a news magazine; interests in oil, construction, and pharmaceuticals; and a bank (Most Bank). He was the leading organizer in financing the 1996 election campaigns of Boris Yeltsin and Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov.

Mikhail Friedman and his Jewish colleague Peter Aven are the principals in a large bank (Alfa Bank) and also are prominent in construction materials and food processing. The banking interests of Alexander Smolensky (SBS Agro) and Mikhail Khodorkovsky (Menatep) were damaged severely in the 1998 financial crisis. However, Smolensky shares holdings in some media and oil concerns with Berezovsky, and Khodorkovsky remains influential in an oil company (Yukos), mining and construction enterprises, and businesses producing chemicals, textiles, and paper.

Jewish oligarchs made their considerable holdings in Russian media available to the Yeltsin and Luzhkov 1996 political campaigns. The victory of the oligarchs in the elections - and it was as much their victory as it was victory for Yeltsin and Luzhkov - empowered them to lobby the President and the Mayor for business-friendly policies and various privileges. President Yeltsin and Mayor Luzhkov have responded accordingly.

However, whereas almost all oligarchs were united in support of Yeltsin and Luzhkov in 1996, they are bitterly divided in 1999. Vladimir Gusinsky is backing the All Russia/Fatherland coalition led by former Prime Minister Evgeny Primakov and Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov. Boris Berezovsky will support whomever preserves the control now exercised by "the family." A vicious media war has erupted, with the television channels and print publications of each oligarch attacking the other.

The Road to Oligarchy

How did the oligarchs achieve their power? Here we must review Soviet history and Soviet Antisemitism. All of these individuals were born in the postwar years. Berezovsky, in his mid-50s, is the oldest among them. Antisemitism had closed off positions in government and industry to most Jews during the Soviet period. Typically, energetic Jews found outlets in academic institutions (second-tier if they were bright, first-tier if they were brilliant and lucky); culture (Gusinsky had been a theater director); medicine; engineering; and as tradesmen, such as repairmen and dressmakers.

Because advertising was forbidden in the Soviet Union, skilled trades people turned to unofficial brokers (fartsovshchiky) who could obtain key items, such as tools or spare parts, that were "in deficit," i.e., in short supply. Other brokers could find gifted surgeons for private patients or arrange stays at elite vacation resorts. Many of these brokers were Jews.

A similar field of work on a larger scale was that of a tolkach, an expediter or fixer in industry. These were the underground wheelers and dealers who performed vital roles in addressing the failures of the centrally planned Soviet economy. They found the raw materials that the behemoth central planning system had lost, they arranged transportation links, they cleared bottlenecks. Most had the protection offered by a conventional job, perhaps as an engineer, but their wheeling and dealing skills became known and every competent factory manager had at least one on the payroll.

When Mikhail Gorbachev permitted the development of cooperatives and private trade as components of his perestroika policy in 1987, the expediters were well-positioned to step forward. Many of them fashioned their contacts together into cooperatives. Within a short time, the cooperatives developed into conglomerates.

The non-Jewish oligarchs, on the other hand, acquired their assets through earlier positions in government agencies that provided insider contacts. The three named individuals all held key posts in the former Soviet economic apparatus - such as the Ministry of Energy and Fuel, the Ministry of Foreign Trade, or in the Soviet State Bank - positions that were closed to Jews. One is the son of a prominent Soviet diplomat. Simply stated, the non-Jews just took personal control of industrial sectors for which they had had prior public supervisory responsibilities.

The Oligarchs and Jewish Identity

The various Jewish oligarchs occupy a range of positions regarding Jewish identity and identification. Vladimir Gusinsky is the founding president of the Russian Jewish Congress, the largest indigenous Jewish organization in the successor states today. His deputy in business, Boris Khait, is a vice-president, as is Mikhail Friedman of Alfa Bank. Alexander Smolensky, however, has converted to Russian Orthodoxy, is a generous contributor to the Orthodox Church, and has requested that he not be listed in the Russian Jewish Encyclopedia. Mikhail Khodorkovsky shows considerable irritation whenever his Jewish origins are noted. Boris Berezovsky sought Israeli citizenship as protection during the initial period of his life as a tycoon, but subsequently renounced it when his loyalty to Russia was questioned. He now suggests that he has converted to Russian Orthodoxy, although he continues to regard himself as an ethnic Jew.

However they relate to their Jewish heritage, all of these men are regarded as Jewish by the Russian public, and all of them are resented for their Jewish origins and for their success. Their influence, however, may be waning. The ruble devaluation in August 1998 was a major turning point in the role of the oligarchy. All of the oligarchs lost money - their own and that of their businesses - in the crisis surrounding the collapse of the ruble. With their decline in financial power, the political power of all but Boris Berezovsky also has decreased. Former Prime Minister Evgeny Primakov successfully appointed his cabinet in 1998 through bargaining with President Yeltsin and the Russian legislature, rather than seeking approval of the oligarchs, as had been the case in the recent past. He appointed many of his left-leaning colleagues to critical posts, and these men dominated political reality in Russia for the remainder of his tenure. With the exception of Boris Berezovsky, the oligarchs also were less influential in the appointment of officials to top positions in the Putin government. Notwithstanding his current influence in the Yeltsin family, Berezovsky also has foes within the Russian government and among others in the Russian power elite.

A number of former Russian government officials of at least partial Jewish origin remain active in Russian national politics. Former Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko is collaborating with two former deputy prime ministers, Anatoly Chubais and Boris Nemtsov, in a new center-right coalition. Grigory Yavlinsky, an important economic advisor to Yeltsin, is a presidential candidate on the slate of his own Yabloko party, a rival liberal group.

Antisemites have pointed to these and other individuals as "proof" of undue Jewish influence in the Russian government. None has a particularly positive image in the eyes of the Russian public and one, Anatoly Chubais, frequently is referred to as "the most hated man in Russia" for his management of the privatization process, regarded even by Russian standards as extravagant in its level of corruption.  ...

(13) ADL teaches Russian officials how to fight intolerance & hate (2002)

ADL, Russian Law Enforcement Exchange Information

Anti-Defamation League


Posted: 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. ...

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