IA REX / News
2013.08.07 18:24

Does Russia Need Browder In Exchange For Snowden: Opinions

Эта статья доступна на русском языке. / This article is available in Russian.

The verdict against the fund Hermitage Capital auditor Sergei Magnitsky and the head of the fund William Browder is in on July 12, 2013.

They were both found guilty in tax evasion. The Tver court of Moscow dismissed the case against Magnitsky in connection with his death but Browder was sentenced in absentia to 9 years in prison. Recall that William Browder is the American financier and one of the founders of the Fund Hermitage. This Fund was among the most successful foreign investment funds in Russia in the mid-2000s. The Hermitage invested in securities of leading Russian issuers and was a minority shareholder in a number of large corporations. William Browder periodically defended his interests in companies, minority shareholder of which was his Foundation and declared the fight against corruption in their leadership. The entry to Russia for Browder was denied in 2005. Subsequently, the Hermitage Fund has sold its Russian assets and re-focused activities to other markets. There were suspicions that the subsidiaries of Hermitage Capital evade taxes in 2007. William Browder was outside Russia at that time and the accusations against him were nominated in absentia. The fund auditor Sergei Magnitsky was arrested in 2008 and died a year later in jail. President Dmitry Medvedev instructed to deal in cases involving the death of Magnitsky in 2011. At the end of the same year the State Ministry of Interior in the Central Federal District has allocated the case of Browder and Magnitsky in a separate proceeding.

REX news agency: Maybe Russia needs to exchange Snowden for Browder? Is Browder a spy? What is similar in missions of Browder and Khodorkovsky to seize Russian resources?

Alexander Timofeev, political scientist-orientalist, head of the analytical Department of the newspaper «Sluzhu Otechestvu»:

There are no reasons to exchange Snowden for Browder. As far as I remember, there were no such incidents in our practice - we were able to exchange foreign spies and domestic dissidents for our spies but to exchange a wanted for another one is nonsense.

However we want to get Browder, it is hardly possible. From the classical point of view, he is not accused of espionage (and if he would, we should not even dream about his extradition). He is charged with economic crimes, and he was never officially called the accused or suspected of espionage, although, he received a lot of confidential and possibly compromising material about domestic affairs on our so-called representatives of the establishment. But from a legal point of view it is impossible to attach to espionage since it is impossible to prove.

The missions of Browder and Khodorkovsky on seizure of Russian resources are not just similar - they are coordinated. The problem is that it is not the only case. A legislative system that guarantees the impossibility of such actions and executive system that ensures the strict enforcement of the laws, but it is so simple with it. The main problem is not the outside (they were, they are and they will be) but inside - as long as such activity will be possible in Russia it will continue.

Michael Dorfman, writer (New York, USA)

Extradition of Snowden will add nothing to Russia among those who consider him a traitor, and will spoil among those who support the cause of Snowden. Especially they will not understand such a move in Russia. As for the Russian seize of resources, they have been occupied and controlled by bureaucratic-corporate complex for a long time hidden behind the brands such as Gazprom, Rosneft, etc. less and less of Russians see the benefit from these resources. As for international law the real Russia, or rather its power-oligarchic elite is tightly integrated into the modern neo-liberal international system of globalization, which guarantees them freedom of enterprise and the protection of their income and wealth, just as in this system are integrated Saudi and Qatari sheikhs and emirs. In this system, there are contradictions and conflicts, but they are non-antagonistic and used mainly for the needs of the domestic political strategies the teachers of social sciences in USSR used to say.

Alexander Khurshudov, an expert on oil and gas policy, candidate of technical Sciences:

The missions of Browder and Khodorkovsky on seizure of Russian resources are a large and complex topic. I know it in details. Yes, the task for the western companies was to pick up the cheap Russian oil and gas. But as far as this goal is dictated by politics - it's hard to say. There is no proof. I think it was a part of the U.S. policy.

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