Following the failure of Khodorkovsky’s appeal against his prison sentence for theft and money laundering, state-owned NTV aired a positive segment on his case on national prime time. Most sides of the story were mentioned: Amnesty International’s designation of him as a “prisoner of conscience”, the Kremlin’s view that it was only the criminal justice system at work, the allegations that the judge Viktor Danilkin was pressured into denying MBK’s appeal, etc. You can see the video below.
But I found only one thing noteworthy in particular. When asked in the May 29th program on what he thought about the reduction of his sentence by one year, Khodorkovsky replied: “I’m uninterested in the cosmetic tricks of the judicial bureaucrats. The statement that oil in Siberia has to be sold at Rotterdam prices is too bizarre to comment on.” Read between the lines. Of course it’s rational – as opposed to bizarre – to sell it to your offshore companies at low prices, thus robbing the Russian government of tax revenue, before selling it at world prices and profiting off the difference. That is essentially what he was convicted of and as I see it he so much as admitted it.
He also restated his conviction that his prosecution is politically motivated, thus going against a recent ruling of the European Court of Human Rights. That story was passed over quickly, as Western pundits continue shilling for Khodorkovsky for all they’re worth.