SIGN UP FOR THE BREITBART EMAIL NEWSLETTER

World View: Russia to Free Pussy Riot, Greenpeace Activists, Khodorkovsky

World View: Russia to Free Pussy Riot, Greenpeace Activists, Khodorkovsky

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Russia to free Pussy Riot, Greenpeace activists and Khodorkovsky
  • Putin announces that Mikhail Khodorkovsky will be freed
  • Obamacare goes into total panicked chaos

Russia to free Pussy Riot, Greenpeace activists and Khodorkovsky

Warm, friendly, smiling Vladimir Putin, with a twinkle in his eye, at a press conference on Thursday
Warm, friendly, smiling Vladimir Putin, with a twinkle in his eye, at a press conference on Thursday

It seems that Russia’s president Vladimir Putin must be in aChristmassy mood. Russia’s parliament, presumably with Putin’sblessing, on Wednesday approved a sweeping amnesty law that will freetens of thousands of prisoners from Russia’s prisons. The amnesty lawwill apply primarily to retirees, invalids, women with children andpregnant women, and victims of the Chernobyl disaster.

The amnesty law will free the “Pussy Riot” girls who, last year inFebruary, charged up to the front of Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ theSaviour during a service and sang a song criticizing Putin. Theincident might have been forgotten, but the girls put the wholeperformance on YouTube, where it became viral. They were tried andconvicted of hooliganism, and were threatened with being jailed foryears. The new amnesty law means that they’ll be free soon.

The amnesty law will also applies to the Greenpeace activists who, inOctober, attempted to scale a Gazprom offshore oil platform in theArctic Ocean, hoping that the big publicity stunt would embarrass theRussians. They also faced years of jail time on charges ofhooliganism, but the new law will free them as well.

The amnesty will also apply to Mikhail Khodorkovsky (see next item).

Putin’s warm-hearted gestures come just a couple of days after thevisit to Moscow by Ukraine’s president Viktor Yanukovich. Duringtheir meeting, Putin kindly offered to loan $15B in aid to Ukraine,with no strings attached, to keep Ukraine from defaulting on itsforeign debt. Ukraine wouldn’t have to join Putin’s Eurasia CustomsUnion, and Ukraine would still be allowed to trade with the EuropeanUnion.

It’s thought that Putin is going all out to put on a warm, friendlyface for the Winter Olympics to be held in Sochi in February, only sixweeks from now. Leaders of several European countries — France,Germany, Lithuania — have announced that they will boycott Sochibecause of human rights issues in Russia. By freeing thousands ofprisoners, including high-profile prisoners like Pussy Riot,Greenpeace activists, and Khodorkovsky, Putin may hope to reduce thevolume of some of the planned human rights protests. The samereasoning applies to the free gift to Ukraine, where the pro-Russiangovernment has been facing massive anti-government protests.

I would suggest that anyone receiving amnesty under this law shouldtry to get out of Russia before the end of the Olympics games, becausePutin may not feel so Christmassy at that time. Ria Novosti andBBC

Putin announces that Mikhail Khodorkovsky will be freed

The biggest amnesty news came on Thursday, when Russia’s presidentVladimir Putin made an informal remark after a press conference thatMikhail Khodorkovsky would be freed after ten years.

In 2004, for some reason that I no longer remember, I becamefascinated by the sage of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his company Yukos.Khodorkovsky was CEO of Yukos, Russia’s second largest oil company; itwas so big that it supplied 11.4% of all the oil for the WHOLE WORLD,and alone accounted for 4% of Russia’s economy.

Khodorkovsky’s fatal mistake occurred in October, 2003, whenhe announced a political campaign against Putin. Khodorkovskywas arrested shortly after that.

In 2004, we saw a series of moves designed to allow Putin tonationalize Yukos. Anyone interested can look at the series ofarticles on my web log from 2004. But I’ll only mention thefinal step, which was worthy of being the grand finale ofa comic opera.

After a series of steps designed to drive Yukos into bankruptcy, inDecember, 2004, Putin’s judiciary was about to hold an auction ofYukos’s assets. It was expected that Gazprom would be the majorbidder, which would complete the nationalization of Yukos. (See “After a week of high comedy, who the heck is Baikal?” from 2004.)

It really was high comedy all the way. In an attempt to delay theauction, Yukos’ lawyers asked a court to stop it. And which court didthey go to? They when to an American bankruptcy court in Houston,Texas!! And the Houston court obliged, ordering the Russiangovernment not to hold the auction on Sunday. The bankruptcy court’sruling was upheld on Saturday evening by an American federal appealscourt.

Well, the auction was held on Sunday anyway, and Gazprom did not evenbid on it. Instead, the winning bid was a very low $9.4 billion fromthe Baikal Finance Group, which had a small energy subsidiary.

Well, who the heck was Baikal? Nobody knew, and there were a lot ofpeople following this deal. Well, a couple of days later, somereporters tracked it down. Baikal’s address was a liquor store inTver, a city 100 miles from Moscow, and reporters visiting there weretold that they never heard of Baikal, and had never been visited byany oil tycoons. In the end, Baikal was just an empty shell companythat Putin used in his scheme to nationalize Yukos.

Meanwhile, Khodorkovsky was still in jail, and in the last ten years,Putin has repeatedly made statements suggesting that he would be injail for the rest of his life. It was just a couple of months agothat a Kremlin official said that they were filing new charges againstKhodorkovsky to make sure that he never gets out.

So that’s why everyone was so surprised on Thursday, when warm,friendly Uncle Vlad said that Khodorkovsky would soon be freed.Apparently Khodorkovsky himself was not aware that this would happen,nor were his lawyers or his family.

During 2004, when I followed the Yukos story, I was astounded howvicious and crooked Putin is, and how easily he got away with it,which seems to be the power of some politicians. There have been manymore examples of Putin’s unscrupulousness since 2004, of course, but Icertainly do not believe that this amnesty program or the freeing ofKhodorkovsky have anything to do with the claimed humanitarianconcerns. I would repeat the advice I gave above: Especially forKhodorkovsky, get out of Russia if you can before the Sochi Olympicsgames end, because Putin may then look for a new excuse to put youback in jail. Moscow Times and CS Monitor

Obamacare goes into total panicked chaos

The Obamacare web site, Healthcare.gov, continues to be the greatestIT disaster in the world, while Obamacare policies continue in totalchaos. (See “1-Dec-13 World View — Obamacare: 500M lines of code, $500M, only 60% completed”)

Now, as January 1 approaches, when millions of people will becomeuninsured because of Obamacare, the administration announced lateThursday evening another rules change, allowing people to buyCongress. One insurance industry official said that this last minutepanicked change “will cause tremendous instability in themarketplace.”

As long-time readers know, when the plan was announced in 2009, Iwrote that it would be “economic insanity” because it would be arepeat of President Richard Nixon’s wage-price controls that wereannounced in August, 1972. The chaos was overwhelming, with a welterof rules that no one could really figure out. (As one politician said,when it becomes a pickle, [the price is frozen.]” There wasone fix after another to save the program, but in the endit was a total disaster for the economy. Instead of lower theinflation rate to 2%, as had been predicted, the inflation rateshot up to 12%, because the wage-price controls programscrewed up the economy so much. It took a decade for theeconomy to recover.

Now we’re seeing the same thing happen again. Obamacare is anunmitigated disaster for the health care industry and for the economy,and every time they try to save it with some new tweak or adjustment,they make the situation worse. Fox News

Permanent web link to this article
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail

P.S. DO YOU WANT MORE ARTICLES
LIKE THIS ONE DELIVERED RIGHT TO YOUR INBOX?
SIGN UP FOR THE DAILY BREITBART NEWSLETTER.


Comment count on this article reflects comments made on Breitbart.com and Facebook. Visit Breitbart's Facebook Page.

SIGN UP FOR THE OFFICIAL
BREITBART EMAIL NEWSLETTER

GET TODAY'S TOP NEWS DELIVERED RIGHT TO YOUR INBOX

I don't want to get today's top news.

x