‘Yukos judgment marks true divorce between Russia and the West’
RT:The International Arbitration Court in the Netherlands has ended a decade long case against Russia brought by shareholders in the defunct Yukos oil company. Why after so many years [did it crop up]today?
Eric Kraus: I think the timing is extremely suspicious. The entire judgment is rotten. Mr. Khodorkovsky was found guilty not only in Russian courts, but that guilty sentence for tax evasion and fraud was upheld by the European Court of Human Rights. It is an outrage that anyone should imagine that Russia is going to pay 50 billion dollars to these criminals.
RT:How will the situation develop? Will Russia pay this sum?
EK: How it is going to develop? Basically this is a judgment which is going to have no real consequences. The Russian state will never pay. The Russian Duma never ratified the treaty under which this judgment has been made. It is not a legally binding judgment. To get settlement from the Russian state is impossible. I would invite you to look at the attempts that have been made to enforce judgments against Argentina, which have failed.
But this judgment is significant as it marks a true divorce between Russia and the West. I personally have been working for 17 years to build economic relations between Russia and the West and we have failed. Russia must now turn away from Western powers and look to the rising world, to the rising countries of the East.
RT:Is there somebody behind such a sudden arbitration decision? Or the International Arbitration Court in the Netherlands has just finally examined the case to pronounce judgment?
EK: Personally I would put the responsibility with Washington, not with Europe. Europe is the tail, Washington is the dog. Europe has not been able to articulate a reasonable foreign policy response, and there are people in Washington who make very good careers out of creating trouble with Russia, out of portraying Russia as the enemy. Russia is not the enemy, but Russia is an independent state with its own needs, its own foreign policy and this obviously does not please Washington.
RT:Is it a fair decision meaning how much fraud was conducted by the ex-Yukos and Menotep officials?
EK: It strikes me as a very political decision. The West manages to create this illusion of fair play, of rule of law, of fairness in the judicial process, and this is a bad joke. Russia will appeal it but even if they lose an appeal, there is essentially no way to enforce the judgment unless the Russian state decides to pay it, and I do not see the Russian state paying money to a group of murderers and fraudsters. The people who ran Menotep were the worst old-type oligarchs, and Russia is simply not going to pay. There is no mechanism that I am aware of for enforcing payment.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.