Given Free Publicity On NTV, Khodorkovsky Only Incriminates Himself Further

Following the failure of Khodorkovsky’s appeal against his prison sentence for theft and money laundering, state-owned NTV aired a positive segment on his case on national prime time. Most sides of the story were mentioned: Amnesty International’s designation of him as a “prisoner of conscience”, the Kremlin’s view that it was only the criminal justice system at work, the allegations that the judge Viktor Danilkin was pressured into denying MBK’s appeal, etc. You can see the video below.

But I found only one thing noteworthy in particular. When asked in the May 29th program on what he thought about the reduction of his sentence by one year, Khodorkovsky replied: “I’m uninterested in the cosmetic tricks of the judicial bureaucrats. The statement that oil in Siberia has to be sold at Rotterdam prices is too bizarre to comment on.” Read between the lines. Of course it’s rational – as opposed to bizarre – to sell it to your offshore companies at low prices, thus robbing the Russian government of tax revenue, before selling it at world prices and profiting off the difference. That is essentially what he was convicted of and as I see it he so much as admitted it.

He also restated his conviction that his prosecution is politically motivated, thus going against a recent ruling of the European Court of Human Rights. That story was passed over quickly, as Western pundits continue shilling for Khodorkovsky for all they’re worth.

Three Hypotheses About Demographic Reporting In Nezavisimaya Gazeta

Russia’s demographic revival stalled in 2010, after several years of fast improvements. In January-September, though the birth rate increased by 16,700 souls on the same period last year, it was counterbalanced by an increase in deaths by 37,200 – all of them and more courtesy of the 44,000 excess deaths caused by the Great Russian Heatwave of 2010. A big drop in migration during this period, from 191,500 to 123,100, means that Russia’s population is likely to gently decline this year (in contrast to 2009, when it rose slightly for the first time in 15 years). Nonetheless, the liberal Russian media are as good as ever at spinning these modest developments into harbingers of the apocalypse, as the indefatigable S/O guest blogger Sergey Slobodyan points out.

Three Hypotheses About Demographic Reporting In Nezavisimaya Gazeta

I continue tracking demographic reporting in Nezavisimaya Gazeta (NG). Why NG? I used to like it, many years ago. It still produces serious, thoughtful articles from time to time. In short, it’s a paper I’d like to read – if it were reliable. Regretfully, its reporting on some issues – like demography – is just a total disaster.

Last example: “Rosstat has poured cold water on Minzdrav’s optimism.” Here we learn that mortality in Sep 2010 was 0.3% lower than in Sep 2009, and as usual, deaths from external reasons have dropped by 4.6%. But we also learned that in Jan-Sep 2010, the mortality situation is nothing but a disaster, namely “mortality in 9 months of 2010 is higher than during the whole of 2009”.

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