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Thread: Кhodorkovsky

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    Кhodorkovsky

    Hello,

    I am writing a paper on Mikhail Khodorkovsky for a political science class and have been having trouble finding out what Russian popular opinion is of the man. I have been basing most of my research on Western English sources as well as some Russian papers in English like the Moscow Times. Here’s what I have concluded from what I have read. Khodorkovsky basically began his empire from his relations to the Komsomol and grew rich during the 90s when privatization and trade laws in Russia were in a state of flux as the country was making the transition to capitalism. Because of the lack of clear laws, Khodorkovsky was able to get rich by semi-legal means. After he broke the unwritten agreement between the oligarchs and Putin to stay out of politics, Putin went after Khodorkovsky and arrested him for doing things that most of the other oligarchs were doing. So Khodorkovsky did probably do illegal things in the 90s, but he was singled out by Putin for not being loyal to Putin’s government.
    That is a short hand and I’m sorry if some of my information is incorrect or biased due to my Western sources.

    So my question is, what is Russian popular opinion of Khodorkovsky and his arrest?
    Do most Russians feel:
    1. He is a crook and he deserves his fate because he robbed Russia when it was vulnerable during the 90s.
    2. He is a political prisoner and a victim of Putin’s authority.
    3. No one really cares. He is not really in the news and no one is really bothered by what’s going on.

    Thanks for any help you guys can offer.

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    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    re: Кhodorkovsky

    Quote Originally Posted by darren
    So my question is, what is Russian popular opinion of Khodorkovsky and his arrest?
    Do most Russians feel:
    1. He is a crook and he deserves his fate because he robbed Russia when it was vulnerable during the 90s.
    2. He is a political prisoner and a victim of Putin’s authority.
    3. No one really cares. He is not really in the news and no one is really bothered by what’s going on.

    Thanks for any help you guys can offer.
    You've covered the situation pretty accurately, my congratulations.
    There are various opinions about Khodorkovsky, my personal one is somewhere between 1 and 3 ( that makes it #2, but no). One can call him a political victim, of course, but no, I don't feel sorry for him. The only thing I do pity is that he's the only one who's in prison. I can add more names to that list. Boris Berezovsky is no. 1 in it.
    Don't get me wrong, I generally do not approve Putin's methods, but they do have a certain charm.
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    re: Кhodorkovsky

    Quote Originally Posted by darren
    Do most Russians feel:
    1. He is a crook and he deserves his fate because he robbed Russia when it was vulnerable during the 90s.
    2. He is a political prisoner and a victim of Putin’s authority.
    3. No one really cares. He is not really in the news and no one is really bothered by what’s going on.
    Today it's rather #3.

    The answer #2 is rather typical for Westerners and so-called 'human rights activists' and Putin-haters in Russia (they are not as many as people in the West probably think). As for me, personally, from a simple human point of view, I feel pity for him. But today I am actually closer to the answer #3.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    re: Кhodorkovsky

    1&3

  5. #5
    Hanna
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    re: Кhodorkovsky

    Boris Berezovsky is no. 1 in it.
    It's pretty unbelievable, isn't it, that Berezovsky got political asylum in the UK! (Along with misc. ragtag people from Africa, the Middle East, China etc.)

    I am really sick of the blatant abuse of the asylum system in Europe. Supposedly you can only get asylum if you risk an excessive prison sentence for "political crimes" or death penalty or getting killed due to your political or religious convictions if you return home. Do you think it's true in his case?

    No doubt he's already rich enough to live out his life in comfort here in the UK or anywhere else in the EU after he becomes a citizen. I hope he's at least paying taxes here!

    He's quite often quoted in British papers. As of lately his style is to imply that he would like to say much more than he actually is, but he is too scared of reprecussions (from Putin supporters) to do so..

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    re: Кhodorkovsky

    I am not the resident of Russia so my opinion is not for the statistics.

    But I feel like all three points form a good combination: they are not contradictory really.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

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    re: Кhodorkovsky

    As for me -- #1.

    (For majority, I'm afraid, #3 is the correct answer.)
    Кр. -- сестр. тал.

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    SAn
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    re: Кhodorkovsky

    Извините, что по-русски. Сил нет выразить свои мысли на английском в данном случае.

    Ходорковский ещё в августе 2008 г. мог быть условно-досрочно освобождён. Но он сам виноват, что этого не произошло. Дело в том, что он «не встал на путь исправления», как говорится в характеристике читинского СИЗО. Вот если бы встал на путь исправления, его бы освободили. А так, не встал — сиди дальше.

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    re: Кhodorkovsky

    Quote Originally Posted by SAn
    Вот если бы встал на путь исправления, его бы освободили.
    Это вторая серия про пылесос?

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    re: Кhodorkovsky

    "Встать на путь исправления", это значит полностью признать свою вину и раскаяться (ну это обязательное условие, там ещё хорошо себя вести надо, не иметь взысканий, "участвовать в самодеятельности" и пр.). А он, насколько мне известно, вину не признаёт.
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    re: Кhodorkovsky

    Thanks everyone,

    I agree that #2 is probably more of a Western view point. It seems any excuse to bad mouth Putin is taken.

    So it seems that some of you feel that no one really cares about the case at this point. I guess that is fair enough because it was a couple years ago that the major developments took place. But do you think that no one cares because they view Khodorkovsky as worthy of his fate, or is that no one really cares because there are many similar cases in the Russian judicial system where one or two people will be made examples of by the government to make it look like they are fighting crime. (From what I can gather this is what is happening with the problem of corruption. The government says they will fix it and so they arrest a couple people, but they are really not fixing anything).

    Thanks

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    re: Кhodorkovsky

    Khodorkovsky is worthy of his fate. His wealth was not enough for him, in his pride he also desired power. Pride is a bad thing for somebody whose wealth was not all that legally obtained.
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    re: Кhodorkovsky

    Khodarkovsky tried to buy two popltical parties of totally opposite views. Left communists and right liberals. The centrist buerocratic block that was predominatelly made up of state officials headed by Putin could not forgive such a cheeky act. They robbed him, deprived of his businnes and put to prison (for the life term I think). After that most of state officials so called 'silovikie' took after the Khodarkovsky precedent and started to rob other businnesmen (now regradless if those wanted power or not).
    English Edition

    В обычных странах церковь отделена от государства, а в России - от Бога.

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    re: Кhodorkovsky

    Quote Originally Posted by darren
    1. He is a crook and he deserves his fate [...]
    If you operate business in Russia in fully legal manner, you would be taxed unreasonably high. You need to understand a bit how the tax system in Russia works. The government jobs pay very little as the distribution of the government income is unfair. Therefore the following 'direct compensation system' takes place:

    1. The taxes are not delivered in the legal form to the government, but rather by means of the bribes to the specific officials so they would actually do the job they're supposed to.

    2. The government is doing nothing to protect your business property, so you either have to hire your own security or pay to the specific heads of the police. (And often you'd have to do both.)

    3. Every legal proceeding in court has to be directly paid off in bribes to the judges in addition to the regular lawyers and the official processing fees.

    The amounts of the aforementioned 'direct payments' are usually set arbitrarily by the officials themselves based on their subjective assessment of your capability to pay.

    After you, as a businessman, paid off all those necessary 'fees' to operate your business it makes no sense to pay the actual taxes which would make for the double-taxation.

    So, to answer your question, yes, technically Khodarkovsky is a crook. He evaded paying taxes to the government. It's true that fact didn't bother anyone until some point, but that's another story.

  15. #15
    Hanna
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    re: Кhodorkovsky

    Quote Originally Posted by Crocodile
    If you operate business in Russia in fully legal manner, you would be taxed unreasonably high. You need to understand a bit how the tax system in Russia works. The government jobs pay very little as the distribution of the government income is unfair. Therefore the following 'direct compensation system' takes place:

    1. The taxes are not delivered in the legal form to the government, but rather by means of the bribes to the specific officials so they would actually do the job they're supposed to.

    2. The government is doing nothing to protect your business property, so you either have to hire your own security or pay to the specific heads of the police. (And often you'd have to do both.)

    3. Every legal proceeding in court has to be directly paid off in bribes to the judges in addition to the regular lawyers and the official processing fees.

    The amounts of the aforementioned 'direct payments' are usually set arbitrarily by the officials themselves based on their subjective assessment of your capability to pay.

    After you, as a businessman, paid off all those necessary 'fees' to operate your business it makes no sense to pay the actual taxes which would make for the double-taxation.


    This is the description of a country in a pretty bad state.
    I thought the Putin government had seriously reduced this, and that it was a legacy of the 1990s... Sad to realise I was mistaken. It's not a good situation for business or starting to building a functional welfare state.

    Do you (Russians) find this very disturbing or have you got so used to it that you don't care much?
    Would you prefer to solve it by hard handed government crackdown or just leave it as it is and hope that things get better by themselves?


    When I bought some shares in a Russian oil company last year, I had a very bizarre experience with the share price and what happened afterwards. It definitely smelled of corruption and insider trading even though it all happened on the London stock exchange. In a month were nothing really happened on the oil market, the stock of this particular company dropped in value by to 40(!!!)% of what I had bought for. But then there was a takeover action and Gazprom bought the shares for 150% of what I had paid. None of it made any sense at all. Why would the stock drop so drastically for no reason? And why then would Gazprom subsequently pay three times the market value for the shares? Obviously I sold..

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    re: Кhodorkovsky

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    Do you (Russians) find this very disturbing or have you got so used to it that you don't care much?
    I can't tell for everyone, of course, but whoever I know just turn a blind eye on all that and hope they will just live their lives and never get in between anything.

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    re: Кhodorkovsky

    This always has been so in Russia and it will always be so.
    Putin or no Putin. This all started in 9th century or even earlier. No ruler has ever managed to stamp out the corruption and I doubt anyone will.

    Bribes are customary, most people find them bad but they are so widespread that nobody I know of really cares.
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    re: Кhodorkovsky

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    Bribes are customary, most people find them bad but they are so widespread that nobody I know of really cares.
    And because the bribes are a method of 'direct payment', the officials share their personal bribes with their supervisors, who in turn share with theirs. And so on up the ladder.

  19. #19
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    re: Кhodorkovsky

    Give an example so people can understand!

    If you live in Russia (or UA..) , when did you last bribe somebody and for what reason did you bribe them?

    I have never actually bribed anyone outright. I wouldn't be sure how to do it....

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    re: Кhodorkovsky

    They speak basically about business organization.

    As I am not a businessman can't say about it. For non-businessman the most often situation is giving bribe to road police (small bribe unofficially instead of big legal penalty). I do not drive so it is not my case again.

    So, about myself, last time I (actually my wife) gave bribe (if it can be called so) in a Kiev hospital where I got after traffic accident in about 2006. She payed to doctors personally for the good medical service. Actually it was already after I got most of that service. It was 1000 grn (about $190 at that time). In 2008 or 2009 I was bribed as a college teacher. After long work with students defending term papers I found 200 grn on my table under my papers. Not sure who exactly brought it.

    This is not so often. People say that what is really terrifying is a level of corruption in 1) criminal police and courts (luckily I didn't ever deal with them) and 2) business control bureaucracy.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

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