Back in the USSR?

Why was Russian energy entrepreneur Mikhail Khodorkovsky arrested Saturday? Bruce P. Jackson may have the answer:

This has been a year in which independent media and major independent business owners in Russia have been put out of business by the strong-arm tactics of the special prosecutor and the newly vigilant Federal Security Service (FSB), the agency that succeeded the KGB. In a climate that progressive Russian business executives compare to the fearful period of the 1950s, Khodorkovsky made the fatal mistake of expressing political opinions and having the temerity to provide financial support to opposition parties.

While this alone is insurrectionary behavior in the increasingly czarist world of President Putin, Khodorkovsky had the additional misfortune of being the last surviving oligarch. For those who have not kept up their Russian, “oligarch” is a term of art for “rich Jews” who made their money in the massive privatization of Soviet assets in the early 1990s. It is still not a good thing to be a successful Jew in historically anti-Semitic Russia.

Since Putin was elected president in 2000, every major figure exiled or arrested for financial crimes has been Jewish. In dollar terms, we are witnessing the largest illegal expropriation of Jewish property in Europe since the Nazi seizures during the 1930s.


There’s more, and it includes looks at Russia’s increasingly dirty dealings in “the near abroad” — the former non-Russian republics of the old USSR. And that’s why the whole thing is today’s Required Reading.


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