03 6 / 2013
"My family considers it its right to see me near them and not in Krasnokamensk,” Guriev said, referring to the town in Siberia, where Khodorkovsky was held in a penal colony. “I must have freedom of speech and not be afraid of being imprisoned for it."
03 6 / 2013
"Everyone’s running away," said Mitya Aleshkovsky, 28, a photographer and prominent civil activist. Aleshkovsky said he wouldn’t consider emigrating as long as Yukos’ former boss, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, is in prison. Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man, has been in jail since 2005 on white-collar charges that are widely seen as politically motivated.
"As pompous as it sounds, Khodorkovsky sits in prison for all of us," Aleshkovsky said by telephone on Thursday. "I don’t blame those who’ve left. Everybody has one life to live.""
25 4 / 2013
"If we are capable at all of doing something together, we are duty-bound to do it now. - Khodorkovsky"
09 4 / 2013
It was supposed to be an easy trip for Vladimir Putin to one of Russia’s main trade partners, but it turned into an embarrassing fiasco.
Coming on the heels of widespread raids and searches of NGOs in Russia, the president arrived to Germany to attend the 2013 Hanover Trade Fair, a major industrial gathering. Although trade is rapidly growing between the two countries, political problems are making relations difficult between the countries. Chancellor Angela Merkel has emphasized Germany and Russia’s working shoulder-to-shoulder in their “Russia Year in Germany” and “Germany Year in Russia” events, but will the two leaders be able to overcome the issue of human rights?
The meeting between Merkel and Putin will likely be overshadowed by deep and persistent political problems. The German government was made furious over Russian officials’ raids of German organizations in Moscow and St. Petersburg. At the end of March, Russian authorities inspected the offices of the NGOs Konrad Adenauer and Friedrich Ebert foundations, confiscating computers and documents.
Amnesty International was omnipresent in Hanover during the trade fair, bearing huge banners over train stations and public squares, raising awareness of political prisoners and calling for the release of Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
German government spokespersons have said that human rights couldn’t be avoided when Merkel meets Putin. The Kremlin has now said Russia would address any questions Merkel may have on the subject.
Yet political tensions don’t seem to be putting a burden on the intense economic relations between Russia and Germany. Russia has become the partner country for the Hannover Messe for the second time in a decade. The trade fair for the industrial sector is the largest of its kind in the world, and surveys have shown that German businesses remain blissfully unaware of the developments on the human rights front.
Russia will have a record number of over 100 exhibitors at the fair, including gas giant Gazprom, Russian Railways and UralVagonZavod, a manufacturer of tanks, rail cars and tractors. Several of Russia’s regions, including the Tula and Novosibirsk areas, will also present their projects. One such project is the creation of a multi-functional park complex on the site of the former Rossiya Hotel in Moscow.
At the Hanover Trade Fair, Russia will focus on energy, machine construction, new materials and industrial automatization in its exhibits. The country will also be represented at the Metropolitan Solutions Fair taking place in Hanover at the same time. Metropolitan Solutions showcases comprehensive technological solutions for urban infrastructures. IndustrialGreenTec, an international fair for environmental technologies that will simultaneously occur in Hanover, will also host Russia this year.
"We expect Russia to present itself in a new, more dynamic and modern way," said Christiane Schuchart, of the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations - an organization of leading associations representing German business. In her opinion, people outside Russia see its economy as largely dependent on the raw materials sector, but Schuchart said Russia would highlight its other sectors at the Hannover Messe.
According to the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations, bilateral trade volume between Russia and Germany reached a record of over 80 billion euros ($104 billion) in 2012. The Committee expects the trend to continue.
08 4 / 2013
02 4 / 2013
"Politics is more and more turning into an imitation,” Mr. Gorbachev said. “All power is in the hands of the executive. The Parliament only seals its decisions. Judicial power is not independent. The economy is monopolized, hooked to the oil and gas needle. Entrepreneurs’ initiative is curbed. Small and medium businesses face huge barriers."