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In a vote that caused friction with Moscow, the parliament backed a resolution that opens the door for EU member states, including Britain, to introduce a visa ban and freeze the bank accounts of the officials.
The move, which was supported by 318 MEPs, is the latest salvo in a campaign designed to punish those the late lawyer's friends and colleagues believe were responsible for his death in a Russian prison.
Mr Magnitsky, a 37-year-old external lawyer for William Browder's London-based Hermitage Capital, died in jail in November 2009 after being held for more than a year without trial or proper medical treatment for a pancreatic complaint.
One year after the agonising death from polonium poisoning of former KGB officer-turned-dissident Alexander Litvinenko, relations between Britain and Russia have gone from strained to rocky.
Litvinenko was a British citizen (his citizenship came through shortly before he was poisoned) and his death in a London hospital was investigated with some urgency by detectives from Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorism Command.
In January 2007 the Metropolitan Police handed the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) a file that contained, among other things, the name of their chief suspect in the case: Andrei Lugovoi, another ex-KGB officer who had met Litvinenko for tea at the time he fell ill.
This week it is four years since the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, the journalist who since 1999 had written continuously about human rights abuses in Chechnya for the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
On Saturday, 7 October 2006 Anna Politkovskaya was shot entering the elevator of the apartment building in the centre of Moscow where she lived. The woman who had faced many dangerous situations and who had been threatened repeatedly was shot at pointblank range after returning from a trip to a supermarket.
The person suspected of shooting her is still at large. Lawyers of the family of Anna Politkovskaya fear that there is a lack of will on the part of the authorities to vigorously investigate the case.
Earlier this month, Oleg Kashin, a reporter for the leading Russian daily Kommersant, was beaten half to death near his home in the historic centre of Moscow. The same day, a CCTV recording was “leaked” on the web in which you cannot discern the faces of the attackers, but can clearly see that they were beating the reporter not merely to intimidate or “warn” him, but to kill him. It is a miracle that he survived after being clubbed so many times over the head with an iron bar.
This is yet another brutal attack on a journalist in Russia, where eight media workers have fallen victim to violence this year alone, murdered “for their profession”. A total of 40 assaults have been reported.
About the same time another journalist, Anatoly Adamchuk, was assaulted – thankfully with less severe injuries – in the Moscow region town of Zhukovsky. A writer for a local newspaper, Adamchuk has been a vocal critic of extensive tree removal in a neighbouring forest as part of a road-building project. Two days before Kashin’s beating, Konstantin Fetisov, an environmental activist, was savagely battered in Khimki, another town on the outskirts of Moscow. He remains in a coma.
Extortion by corrupt officials in Russia has got so bad that some Western multinationals are considering pulling out altogether, the head of a U.S. anti-bribery group said in an interview.
Alexandra Wrage, whose non-profit organization TRACE International advises firms on how to avoid bribery, told Reuters the "rampant endemic" corruption in Russia was much worse than in other big emerging economies.
"My recommendation is: 'Maybe you should reconsider doing business in Russia,'" she said. "I am considerably more optimistic about Nigeria than I am about Russia on this issue."
Berlin-based NGO Transparency International rates Russia joint 146th out of 180 nations in its Corruption Perception Index, saying bribe-taking is worth about $300 billion a year.
Russia is a corrupt, autocratic kleptocracy centred on the leadership of Vladimir Putin, in which officials, oligarchs and organised crime are bound together to create a "virtual mafia state", according to leaked secret diplomatic cables that provide a damning American assessment of its erstwhile rival superpower.
• Russian spies use senior mafia bosses to carry out criminal operations such as arms trafficking.
• Law enforcement agencies such as the police, spy agencies and the prosecutor's office operate a de facto protection racket for criminal networks.
• Rampant bribery acts like a parallel tax system for the personal enrichment of police, officials and the KGB's successor, the federal security service (FSB).
• Investigators looking into Russian mafia links to Spain have compiled a list of Russian prosecutors, military officers and politicians who have dealings with organised crime networks.
• Putin is accused of amassing "illicit proceeds" from his time in office, which various sources allege are hidden overseas.
Citing sources inside the president's administration, Belkovsky claims that after eight years in power Putin has secretly accumulated more than $40bn (£20bn). The sum would make him Russia's - and Europe's - richest man.
In an interview with the Guardian, Belkovsky repeated his claims that Putin owns vast holdings in three Russian oil and gas companies, concealed behind a "non-transparent network of offshore trusts".
Putin "effectively" controls 37% of the shares of Surgutneftegaz, an oil exploration company and Russia's third biggest oil producer, worth $20bn, he says. He also owns 4.5% of Gazprom, and "at least 75%" of Gunvor, a mysterious Swiss-based oil trader, founded by Gennady Timchenko, a friend of the president's, Belkovsky alleges.
Asked how much Putin was worth, Belkovsky said: "At least $40bn. Maximum we cannot know. I suspect there are some businesses I know nothing about." He added: "It may be more. It may be much more.
Originally posted by MikeboydUS
Its a terrible mess that only the Russians can really fix. At the same time Putin has done much for Russia, bringing them back from the brink of being a third world country.
U.S.-Russia ‘reset’ hasn’t changed stance By Ilan Berman The Washington Times November 8, 2012 You might not be familiar with Sergei Magnitsky, the 37-year-old Russian lawyer who died of medical complications while languishing in a Moscow prison back in 2009.
You should be — Magnitsky’s case is worth knowing, both because of what it says about the nature of the Russian state and because it could soon prompt a substantial shake-up in U.S.-Russian relations.
A lawyer for the Moscow-based Hermitage Capital investment fund, Magnitsky ran afoul of Russian authorities when he stumbled across, and dutifully reported, evidence of massive official corruption. For his trouble, he was imprisoned and held without trial for nearly a year in squalid conditions on trumped-up charges of tax evasion and tax fraud. Toward the end of his incarceration, Magnitsky developed gall stones and pancreatitis, but he was denied proper medical attention by prison authorities. He died in November 2009 as a result.
To add insult to injury, Russia's Interior Ministry has since posthumously moved ahead with prosecuting Magnitsky. Like the rest of the circumstances surrounding Magnitsky’s demise, the current case is fraught with absurdity. Hermitage lawyers believe that documents relating to the affair have been falsified, but so far — in time-honored Soviet tradition — they have been denied permission to see the case file for their client. The Magnitsky case has generated considerable public outrage internationally.
The White House, however, hasn’t had much to say about it. In fact, it has done a great deal to try to sweep the Magnitsky affair under the political carpet. The reason is obvious. Since 2009, the Obama administration’s obsession with a “reset” of relations with Russia has resulted in an attempt to forge a new political relationship with the Kremlin on everything from arms control to normalized trade relations.
To be fair, the “reset” has had some tactical successes — most notably, Russia’s acquiescence to the use of its airspace to resupply troops in Afghanistan, following Pakistan’s closure of overland supply routes into Southwest Asia last year.