‘A List of Magnitsky‘ and Contribution of the Baltic Nations to the Transparency in the Current Geopolitical Havoc

‘With such allies it is better for Jens Stoltenberg to drink some vodka with Vladimir Putin’, on 13 November  the magazine Politco quite ironically summarized problems of the NATO Secretary General before his visit in Washing…

‘With such allies it is better for Jens Stoltenberg to drink some vodka with Vladimir Putin’, on 13 November  the magazine Politco quite ironically summarized problems of the NATO Secretary General before his visit in Washington to meet President Donal Trump, whose relations with the Atlantic alliance, to tell the truth, are quite controversial. At the beginning of December a forthcoming NATO summit in London will not be just an easy stroll, by the way, also for the reasons mentioned by the political observer Ben Judah of the self-expression of Emanuel Macron, President of France in the recent half year: the President supported return of Russia to the European Council and the ‘Group of seven’ (G-7) (Moscow was kicked out of both organizations after aggression against Ukraine in 2014), he accepted President V. Putin and during the meeting with diplomats expressed his necessity to normalize relations with the Kremlin and blocked the attempt of Albania and North Macedonia to start negotiations in regards to membership in the EU, although the European Commission approved their preparation. Nonetheless, the biggest surprise was statement of E. Macron during his interview to the weekly ‘The Economist’ about ‘the brain death’ of NATO.      
Attempts of Paris to cater for Moscow can be a signal (to tell you the truth, it is a signal) about the already formed tendency (although there are some truth in speech of the head of France) in criticizing the United States regarding the lack of partnership, hardly one can close the eyes against offences when a joint group of investigators accused Russia for the first time as a country that contributed to shooting down the airplane of Malaysia Airlines on 17 July 2014 in the air space in eastern Ukraine when 298 people were killed.
Unfortunately, it looks like a trade in the future to the benefit of the short-term interests by a further quite successful attacks of the Kremlin to the democratic world. Ukraine has been a quite successful balance to the expansion of Moscow, in the assessment of the political expert Andrey Piontkovsky, the position of Kiev has been strong until this spring – aggression of Moscow against Ukraine was denounced by the Western world and sanctions imposed. Kurt Walker, a special representative of the USA, made categorical demands not to transfer the conflict into a political dimension until Russia pulls out its soldiers from the occupied territories of Ukraine and Kiev will not control its borders. By the way, now the borders are jeopardised due to statements of the President of France, too.    
In the context of these geopolitical ‘turns’ it is hard to say how much the French leader knows  about ‘The List of Sergey Magnitsky’ as an undertaking to democracy in the fight with corrupted regimes. On 16 November it’s been 10 years since the auditor of the investment fund Hermitage Capital S.Magnitsky died in prison. Colleagues later learnt that he was killed to death by rubber clubs and handcuffed prior to that. The Council of Human Rights came to the same conclusion about President of Russia; however nobody who contributed to his death has been punished up to now. William Browder, founder of the Fund, where S. Magnitsky was working as Head of the Tax and Audit Department, during his interview to the radio station ‘Svoboda’ on this sad jubilee (svoboda.org/a/30273976.html) told that he understood right away and is convinced that the lawyer was killed because he was working for him, thus he dedicated whole ten years for investigation in order to disclose the guilty and bring them to justice.    
S.Magnitsky was also a managing partner in the company Firestone Duncan, which audited Hermitage Capital. Jamison Firestone, Head of this Company, also in his interview remembered his colleague who was particularly hard-working, an idealist professional who believed in law and justice in Russia who was raising two kids with his wife in a small flat in the centre of Moscow. According to J. Firestone they used to talk about realities quite often and to his question whether he is not afraid to disclose names of persons who stole hundreds of thousands, Sergey used to say that now is not year 1937 and Russia is becoming a constitutional state, the President of which is fighting against corruption.
S.Magnitsky believed in the President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev, who proclaimed his slogans about his fight against corruption. Now from the film shot from the Aleksei Navalny fund against corruption “He is Not a Demon to Us’ we found out about his luxury real estate in Italy. Then the idealism killed the auditor. 7 years after his death several investigations found out that S. Magnistky was arrested and killed when he unmasked officers of the internal affairs system, public prosecutors, lawyers, officials of the tax system who have appropriated ten thousands of roubles from the budget of Russia. Ilya Shumanov, Deputy Director of Anticorruption Investigation and Initiatives Centre of Transparency-International Russia confirmed to Svoboda that the appropriation scheme detected by the auditor revealed the following problems in the tax system of Russia such as bank fraud, money laundering, corruption at the highest level, hypocrisy of Western mediators taking part in these schemes. As it has been mentioned above, even after a decade not a single guilty person was prosecuted. Alexey Krivoruchko, Judge of Tver district court in Moscow, who extended   the period of S. Magnitsky detention in September 2009 and who refused to give hot tea to him during the hearing, still adopts judgments in high-profile cases.        
On the other hand, what we should expect when corrupted news is common on the Russian public scene. For instance, ‘flights’ to the business elite of the former body guards of the President of Russia were appointed as governors. According to the investigation carried out by the publication ‘Projekt’, after Dmitry Mironov, the officer of the Federal Security Service, was appointed as the governor of Yaroslavl region in 2016, his brother Yevgeny in 2017 became a co-owner of the construction company SK Rustrest (annual revenue is 2.7 billion roubles) that provides services to Russian Railways and Gazprom. After another V. Putin’s body guard Alexei Diumin started governing Tula region in February 2016 his brother successfully reached the heights of construction section and is engaged in the most expensive real estate in Moscow districts and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Sport complex Olimijsky, which is owned by millionaires God Nisanov and Zarakh Iliev. (https://www.proekt.media/narrative/okhranniki-putina/).   
There is not too much news in Russia. Nikolay Vashchilin, the stuntman of the last century, remembered that in Leningrad in the 8 decade sportsmen involved in the criminal world, including the future President of Russia, earned additionally at a film production studio Lenfilm. Leonid Usvizcov, the criminal boss with two previous convictions was managing the sambo section, which he was attending together with the business magnate Arkady Rotenberg, who currently is under the Western sanctions (multiple rape and discreditable practices with currencies). V. Putin in his reminiscences ‘From the First Person’ tells good reminiscences of his teacher who was killed during the war of criminals in 1994. On his gravestone there are words “I died but mafia never dies’ (https://www.svoboda.org/a/30271194.html).   
The representative of ‘Transparency International-Russia’ cited here mentions hypocrisy of western mediators who take part in mini corruption schemes. This is not applied to J. Firestone and especially to W. Browder, because they humbly and based on the List of S.Magnitsky promote the regime of sanctions against corrupted persons and persons who are violating human rights not necessarily from Russia. In the USA sanctions according to this basis were imposed on 14 people who contributed to killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi origin journalist from ‘The Washington Post’ who was killed in the Consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul. W. Browder is sure that sometime in the future monuments will be erected to S. Magnitsky, however he does not cherish his hopes to see justice in the Kremlin under the current regime. The truth and proper commemoration are very far away when turns of geopolitical mind of the President of France are burning.
Of course, this is not a safe game. In 2012 a millionaire Alexander Perepilichny fell dead not far from his home in the United Kingdom (UK) Surrey County just jogging. In his motherland Russia he was involved in money laundering and had close relations with organized crime groups. Being in emigration he decided to open up ‘activities’ of his former fellows, passed information about schemes of making profit by the Russian public servants that had been revealed first by S. Magnitsky to the Western security services and W. Browder. The millionaire posed a threat and he had information about the attempted murder. And then – a sudden death. There is an uncontradicted version of toxicology experts who found traces of rare poisonous plant poison in his troop.   
This fits well into the action algorithm of the Kremlin, which is discussed in public scene almost always. Alexander Litvinenko, the officer of the Federal Security Service (FSS), the opponent of the President V. Putin, was poisoned in 2006 in London by radioactive polonium after he told about the future President of Russia and his friend’s Viktor Ivanov’s relations with bandits of Petersburg in books and many articles. He was investigating the links of the Kremlin with the organized Tambov criminal group, tried to prove that residential houses in Russia were blown by the FSS, in this way ‘contributing’ to bringing V. Putin to the post of the President. In the opinion of the author of the book ‘FSS Blows out Russia’ V. Putin was not just a bandit but a real monster, who has killed over 300 people to get to the post of the President. Heidi Blake, author of the book “From Russia With Blood’ that was published on 19 November about a fierce, secret war of the President with the West, Head of the Investigation Department of the Internet media BuzzFeed describes A. Litvinenko as a devoted idealist, who believed in the rule of law, but the emigrant from special services President V. Putin was full of hatred for revealing the FSS secrets in public, as if he had violated the honour code of the secret service agent. The death of A. Litvininko is like an echo to the tragedy of an honest auditor from Moscow.           
Thus, a coalition of the three English-speaking and three eastern Baltic States against corruption and geopolitical cynicism that seems rather brittle under the current conditions, is of great importance. Only the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have legitimized the List of S. Magnitsky. The Kremlin has far better possibilities to push the last three than France, the leader of which is engaged in ‘big narration’ how to return Russia to Europe the way it is, the crooked and corrupted country. At least, this is some kind of refreshing gulp of fairness in a geopolitical mess.       
Arūnas Spraunius 

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