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Unfiled November 13, 2003
I am stretching my hand to Mr.Khodorkovski for friendly shake
By Edward Limonov Browse author

At 5 a.m. on October 25, at Novosibirskii airport, was arrested Michail Khodorkovski, Mr. Getty of Russia oil business, the richest of all Russian oligarchs. He was captured by FSB commandos, probably by the very same man who arrested me a few years ago. Probably by a brave lieutenant-colonel Michail Kuznetsov, because it was he who commanded a small army of FSB soldiers, consisting of contingents from Novosibirsk, from Altaiski Krai and from Altai Republic. The structure of FSB is such, that every region of Russian Federation has its own FSB Directorate, usually headed by a General-Major. Big operations are mounted by assembling forces of region's FSB, but a few outsiders, Muscovites, were sent to lead them.

So, at 5 a.m. Putin's boys have stormed Khodorkovski's airplane. Early in the morning. I wonder, why they so attached to that tradition of morning arrest? By an honest belief that in early morning a man is most vulnerable, sleepy, weak, he doesn't expect to be attacked?

As to me, I was expecting their attack constantly. Was Khodorkovski prepared to his arrest? That is a big doubt about his security men. Why did they so easily give up their master? What is the point to have a highly paid security group, if they are not intervening at all. when their Chief is arrested by the state? One million dollar question.

In any case Khodorkovski was arrested to show off operation of masked FSB soldiers. They, spoiled brats, never having rebuff, those people, save in Tchetchnia. It made them arrogant and reckless. One day next arrested oligarch or next revolutionary will resist arrest and we will see, how professional those masked soldiers are. I wonder personally how they will behave under the fire of heavy machine-gun. Say 27 millimeters, ha?

For more than two weeks now Mr. Khodorkovski is inmate of special prison inside prison with a practical name, "Matrosskaia Tishina," which if translated from Russian into English means "The Sailor's Silence." Such kind of title sounds like one that Japanese writer Mishima would invent. Inside of Sailor's Silence, young billionaire Khodorkovski is learning right now first lessons of a prisoner's life. Meanwhile, Russia and the Western World are busy with analysing what Khodorkovski's arrest is signifying. I will join them, because I have to admit that it is very significant arrest.

Putin, no doubts about it, has personally sanctioned arrest of Khodorkovski. He probably did it with some pleasure as ex-KGB officer. And with a personal pleasure coming from humiliation of the wealthiest man of Russia. No doubt also about "tchinovniks," prosecutors from General Prosecutor's office: these types are enjoying fall of Khodorkovski with a class hate. Prosecutors in their blue uniforms, mighty as they are, are nevertheless wage-workers. To put in prison somebody as rich as Khodorkovski is for them an orgasmic delight! I observed my prosecutors during my trial. I saw Colonel Verbin's happy smile when he demanded for me 25 years term in prison, and "by way of partial addition," another 14 years. He hoped to get that sentence from judge. President Putin's boys are also volunteers: for them to put away wealthiest man is also satisfaction of personal instincts.

But, all pleasures aside, by arresting Khodorkovski Putin has made a huge mistake, that will dramatically affect his personal life and fate. And also will affect his political present and future. This is Putin's biggest mistake since 1999. By arresting Khodorkovski, Putin has sent a definitive message to whole class of rich and wealthy, to whole class of businessmen. That message reads as such: "From now on no man of wealth, nobody possessing money and property, will be safe in Russia." While persecutions of Mr. Berezovski and Gusinski have appeared to Russians as for particular causes (political intrigue and telemanagement hostile to Putin), arrest of Khodorkovski appeared as symbolical cause, of a man of wealth persecuted for his wealth. Khodorkovski's name was unfortunately at the top of the list for proscription.

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