The United States, however, doesn’t like giving government money to anyone who isn’t a multibillionaire campaign donor. Two days after Kashin began his water-only diet, Kashin got a call from Public Affairs Officer Brigit Gerston at the US Consulate congratulating him with the news… that the government had decided to give him a "one-time humanitarian payment" of $100,000. In other words, around $10 million less than the doctor ordered. Kashin naturally refused the offer as an insult, telling her that the paltry sum wouldn’t put a dent into his expenses and would essentially accomplish nothing except to exculpate the government from a crime their representative committed.
The bribe didn’t work. The hunger strike continues.
As an irate Kashin explained: "If in America a man gets into a car incident with such heavy consequences like mine he will be paid a decent compensation. Why do they think that the life of Russian should cost less than a life of an American? It is humiliation."
Legal responsibility over this issue can be debated, but the moral responsibility cannot. Even the U.S. government recognizes that now—perhaps unwittingly—as evidenced by the $100,000 offer. As Kashin’s lawyer John Gallagher told me, diplomatic immunity was not designed to give diplomats a blank check to behave like drunken murderous barbarians.
In fact, when this sort of thing happens to an American, the U.S. is very anti-immunity. In 1997, when a Georgian diplomat killed an American citizen in a similar drunken driving accident, diplomatic immunity was waived, and the diplomat was forced to serve a five-year prison sentence in America.
But when it comes to Doug Kent, a State Dept. spokesman explained his getaway thus: "He had already departed his post in Russia when we responded to the request made by the Russian authorities that we waive his criminal immunity."
In other words, they had already snatched him out of there before due process could catch up. Kent has since bounced around on various State Dept assignments abroad, and has assumed false names and identities while residing in Arlington, Virginia, in order to shun prosecution or further scrutiny.
Anyone who has any tips on the latest adventures of Doug Kent, we’d love to hear from you. Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.