Wednesday, June 01, 2005

According to Ukrainska Pravda (in Ukrainian), Ukraine's minister of foreign affairs Borys Tarasyuk refuses to make an official statement on yesterday's sentencing of Mikhail Khodorkovsky until he obtains a statement from Ukraine's Ministry of Justice confirming that the verdict has been "a violation of human rights."

Ukraine's minister of justice Roman Zvarych, however, doesn't think it's up to him and his people "to evaluate other countries' court decisions."

[Zvarych] said Ukraine's ministry of foreign affairs could make a statement on human rights violations present in Khodorkovsky's case court verdict. "But I don't consider it useful politically because Ukraine is not interested in aggravating the relationship with Russia," said Zvarych.

When journalists pointed out to [the minister of foreign affairs] Tarasyuk that in the United States the statement on Khodorkovsky had been issued by a foreign politics body (the U.S. Department of State), he said: "So what? Are we supposed to do everything the way they do it in America because of that?"

(It never hurts to be careful, especially when dealing with Russia - and no one knows it better than those we keep electing to run Ukraine.)


It's unimaginably scary to suddenly find myself agreeing with Russia's chief Communist Gennady Zyuganov - but this is what happened to me yesterday when I was watching NTV's 10 pm news... Here's Zyuganov's quote, from a RIA Novosti story:

Leader of the Russian Communist party Gennady Zyuganov described the nine-year sentence to Khodorkovsky and his business associate Platon Lebedev as "a public whipping."

"We witnessed an ordinary case of flogging. Though the entire period of privatization in this country faced disastrous law violations, a scapegoat, with whom above all someone wants to square accounts, was found," Zyuganov told journalists on Tuesday.

"Our lawyers say that everything in terms of law and procedure that can be violated was violated," said the Communist leader.

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