A hollow ‘reset’ with Russia

Posted by , 25th May 2010
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Robert Kagan
5/25/2010

The Obama administration and the media are hailing the president’s successful “reset” diplomacy with Russia, claiming Obama’s approach has resulted in Russia’s agreement to a UN Security Council resolution against a nuclear Iran. But the author notes that Russia’s verbal agreement with the US about Iranian nuclear proliferation is nothing new. In fact, the Bush administration elicited similar agreeable responses from Russian leaders in 2006, 2007, and 2008. This latest agreement could very well be just another round of “Charlie Brown and the football,” says Kagan.

Kagan, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, writes a monthly column for The Post.

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The Show Trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Posted by , 20th May 2010
THE KREMLIN, MOSCOW. President Putin with Mikh...

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Yuri Schmidt
5/20/2010

Russian legal nihilism is on display in the case of Russia’s most famous political prisoner. Having taxed Yukos into oblivion, authorities are now looking for new ways to keep Mikhail Khodorkovsky in jail by absurdly asserting that he in fact stole all of the oil that was just so heavily taxed. In the absence of any appearance of due process, the Kremlin has tried to apply a patina of fairness and reasonableness to the procedures. Schmidt argues that this sham process is the very model of the “legal nihilism” President Dmitri Medvedev decries in Russia. Fran├žois Zimeray, the French Ambassador for Human Rights who visited the court last month, observed that “Khodorkovsky’s resistance […] has made him an icon for defenders of human rights.” He concluded that not just one man, but rather the future of Russia itself, is on trial.

Schmidt is a Russian human rights lawyer who represents Mr. Khodorkovsky.

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