Staunton, October 1 – Vladimir Putin counts on many things to achieve his criminal ends: the short memories of his various audiences, his ability to shift the narrative seemingly at will, and his willingness to use all the instruments of the Russian state to obfuscate and confuse those who might otherwise protest against his injustice.
No one case better illustrates these things than the Kremlin’s persecution of Russian businessman Igor Bitkov and his family, first by stripping him of his company through the now Putin standard operating procedure of corporate raiding and more recently by involving Gautemalan courts in keeping Bitkov and his family behind bars.
The outline of the case are relatively simple if horrific – for background, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-bitkov-case-dangerous-sign-of-times.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2015/09/the-bitkov-case-continuing-putin-crime.html – but the devil is in details intentionally designed to be hard to follow and thus easily dismissed.
Indeed, the temptation to lump the case in with other action of Putin’s kleptocracy is so great that many in Russia and many Russian observers in the West are undoubtedly inclined to think it is nothing special and pass over it in silence as something regrettable but part and parcel of the Putin era.
While the Bitkov case is emblematic of much of what is wrong with the Putin system, one based not on law but on “understandings” and focused entirely on the enrichment of the top elite regardless of what happens to the rest of Russia or who has to be crushed in the process, it is the details which should become the basis of anger and demands for change.
Fortunately, the Bitkovs have their own Boswell in the courageous Russian journalist Grigory Pasko who has reported on the crimes visited against them over the last decade. Now, he has summed it up in a 6100-word study of what is a case and a case study of official malfeasance Putin style (bordo07.livejournal.com/597054.htmlbordo07.livejournal.com/597315.html