Russian justice: Sentsov and Vasilyeva

Oleh Sentsov and Oleksandr Kolchenko during sentencing in a Russian court, August 25, 2015. 

More, Political prisoners

Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov
Translated by: Anna Mostovych

Like any invader Vladimir Putin is afraid of retaliation. He is afraid of the resistance of a population that sooner or later will begin to take revenge against the invaders.

The story of the sentencing of Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov and his friends, which coincided with the official pardon of former official Yevgeniya Vasilyeva, is perhaps the best illustration of the quality of Russian justice and of Russian society as a whole.

Sentsov is a citizen of Ukraine whom the occupation authorities forcibly removed from Crimea in order to conduct a show trial. His guilt cannot be proven and the charges against him and his friends are frankly laughable. But in court no one laughs at the charges. The court obediently carries out the instructions of the administration of Russian president Vladimir Putin, which needs to frighten all those who have found themselves in the occupied territories. And there is a certain logic in this. Putin understands perfectly that he has occupied Crimea and that he is continuing to occupy the Donbas. Like any invader, he fears retaliation; he fears the opposition of the population which sooner or later may begin to take revenge against the occupiers. And he uses repression to prevent this revenge. There is nothing new here. Hitler behaved the same way as Putin in the same occupied territories. And the Kremlin crooks have no pity on Sentsov and his friends. They are simply “plebs” whose purpose is to serve as a good example for Russia’s senseless and merciless propaganda.

vasilyeva2Now when it comes to Vasilyeva, she is certainly not a “plebe.” She is a member of the gang. Vasilyeva is the second cousin of the sister of the wife of Putin’s co-ruler Dmitry Medvedev. She has a close relationship (alleged lover — Ed.) with the former minister of defense Anatoly Serdyukov. Serdyukov himself is married to the daughter of the former prime minister Viktor Zubkov, one of the members of the notorious Ozero (Lake) housing cooperative, and a close ally of Putin. Therefore, it is the one and the same club of cronies — the criminalized “nobility” of the new Russia, the greedy, arrogant crooks. Vasilyeva was tried not because she is a thief. Everyone there is a thief. She was tried as part of the fight with Serdyukov. The meaning of this struggle is not fully understood. Some claim that an influential military lobby has rebelled against the minister of defense — Serdyukov has apparently questioned their income. Others say everything is much simpler. Zubkov did not like Serdyukov’s personal life and decided to teach his son-in-law a lesson. And when Serdyukov understood everything properly, he was given the opportunity to re-engage in the lucrative “business.” And in that case, why should Vasilyeva, a relative of Medvedev no less, suffer? Of course she should not, and that is why she has been freed.

The paradox lies in something else. Most Russians may consider Sentsov and his friends terrorists and have no doubt about the fairness of the verdict of their own court. Actually, the same number of people have an even stronger belief that occupied Crimea is Russian. But at the same time, the same majority — 70 % of those surveyed — oppose clemency for Vasilyeva. And what about Putin, who supposedly cares so much about his ratings and authority among Russian residents? Nothing much. He spits at them from the Kremlin bell tower.

Russians through their support of the criminal decisions of their government in Georgia, Crimea and the Donbas, have willingly transformed themselves from citizens into vassals who will no longer be taken into account by anyone in the Kremlin. They always vote as they are told. They support the fundamental decisions of their leaders anyway — even when these decisions are obviously criminal in nature. Then why bother with people whose lack of morality matches Putin’s amorality by 83% ? And if the reaction to Vasilyeva’s pardon does not match? Well it does not matter. This is no business for the slave mind. The main thing is that all agree on Crimea and Sentsov.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych
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