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UK police descend on Assange’s embassy refuge.

According to the Ecuadorians, their Embassy was threatened with a revocation of its status as Ecuadorian sovereign territory in the case that President Rafael Correa offers Julian Assange political asylum. This would clear the way for PC Plod could go in and fish out Assange. Presumably this is to avoid breaking one of the cornerstones of international law, satisfying its letter while raping its spirit. Truly fascinating the lengths and lows to which Britain is prepared to go to satisfy its puppet masters.

My initial thoughts are:

(1) Assange should have chosen the Russian Embassy. Ecuador is small and doesn’t have clout. Russia (or China, for that matter) wouldn’t have handed over Assange either, for the propaganda coup if little other reason, and even as cringingly obsequious a country as the UK would have hesitated to take them on so directly.

(2) A timely reminder that Assange is wanted for questioning (not charged) on a crime that it is not even a crime in the UK itself. I wonder if there is anybody, anybody at all, who is still willing to argue that his case is not entirely political?

(3) One would hope that Ecuador does not tolerate any British violation of its sovereignty and mounts a like response – and that countries like Venezuela, Argentina, and (preferably, though highly improbable) Russia and China join them in solidarity. But either way one of the good things about this is that it will make clear to any lingering doubters in non-puppet countries like Russia that Western rhetoric on human rights and international law only goes as far as it benefits them.

EDIT 8/16: And asylum was granted.

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
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This is a headline in a Western newspaper you might be reading in the not-too-distant future.

Back in October 8th, ten days after Luzhkov’s dismissal from the Moscow mayoralty by Medvedev, I predicted that “within the next 3 months Luzhkov is going to get hit with corruption charges and will either go on trial or seek political asylum in the West”. Today news comes that the corrupt, gay-bashing former Mayor turned up to the British Embassy in Moscow to apply for a visa.

Figures linked to Luzhkov have variously denied these as rumors (such as a spokesman for the construction firm Inteko owned by Luzhkov’s wife Baturina) or claimed he only wanted to visit family in the UK (Iosif Kobzon, a singer and Luzhkov’s friend). But that is only to be expected.

Corruption investigations against the former Mayor’s circle are stepping up, and Luzhkov certainly hasn’t helped himself by portraying his ouster as evidence of the “return of Stalinism” and censorship and repression. (Of course, the city’s corruption-reporting journalists might beg to differ).

If Luzhkov had gone quietly, no doubt the Kremlin would have left him in peace, to enjoy Baturina’s ill-gotten wealth. However, his decision to challenge the Kremlin made this impossible. He might have been unpopular when dismissed, but absence makes the heart grow fonder, and he could prove to be far more of an inconvenience to the Kremlin as an independent maverick than the sorry riffraff that is the current Russian liberal opposition. Why tolerate him, when there would be no problems with charging and convicting him for corruption? There wouldn’t even be any need to rig the courts!

We are seeing yet another beginning of an old theme. Corrupt Russian oligarch (e.g. Berezovsky, Khodorkovsky) or corrupt politician (e.g. Kasyanov) is kicked out of power, and lashes out at the Kremlin for its “authoritarianism” in daring to do so. In the process, they begin to re-brand themselves as born-again liberal democrats and acquire street cred with the liberal opposition and their foreign sponsors.

Whether Luzhkov continues the fight from a courtroom or a London mansion, the Western media is now free to present it as Kremlin persecution of “political dissidence”, further confirming Russia’s (never-ending) slide into authoritarian darkness. No more mention will be made of Luzhkov’s political repression through the libel laws, nor of his Stalinophilia, nor of his homophobia, nor of the rigged contracts and disregard to Moscow’s architectural heritage that made his wife a billionaire. The past will be erased and Putin found to have been responsible for it all along.

This latest development likely just confirms that Luzhkov will opt for London. It’s far safer and more comfortable. As a bonus, he won’t even be too lonely there. Berezovsky is awaiting his arrival, further noting that Luzhkov’s only choice for escaping prison and safeguarding his property is to ask for political asylum in Britain. Listen to him – he’s the expert on this.

UPDATE 10/25: Assuming Luzhkov manages to leave Russia before he is arrested, he appears well set for a pretty comfortable retirement in Britain. His wife is already there, and the couple are suspected of having bought substantial properties in London under a front company. “Last year, [the British] press wrote about Elena Baturina’s purchase … of the largest 18th century residence in London, second only to Buckingham Palace. It has 65 rooms, a ballroom, and more than 3,500 square meters.”

A little Googling shows that the palace is Highgate’s West Hill (photo above). I’m sure the Luzhkovs will make a fine and most fitting addition to the ranks of the British glitterati.

EDIT: This article has been translated into Russian at Inosmi.Ru (Находящийся в изгнании российский диссидент Юрий Лужков осуждает коррумпированный сталинистский режим Путина).

(Republished from Sublime Oblivion by permission of author or representative)
Anatoly Karlin
About Anatoly Karlin

I am a blogger, thinker, and businessman in the SF Bay Area. I’m originally from Russia, spent many years in Britain, and studied at U.C. Berkeley.

One of my tenets is that ideologies tend to suck. As such, I hesitate about attaching labels to myself. That said, if it’s really necessary, I suppose “liberal-conservative neoreactionary” would be close enough.

Though I consider myself part of the Orthodox Church, my philosophy and spiritual views are more influenced by digital physics, Gnosticism, and Russian cosmism than anything specifically Judeo-Christian.