We’re now two days into the reading of the verdict against Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and the judge has had to adjourn again. Khodorkovsky remains in the legal limbo called (by me) "mostly guilty".
In the absence of any final verdit, reporters have been filling copy by writing about the protests around the courthouse. Around 300 pro-Khodorkovsky and anti-Putin protesters rallied outside the court yesterday, and managed to wind up the local police so much that 28 of them – including Yabloko deputy head Sergei Mitrokhin – were detained. And just for good measure, the police decided to liven things up by beating former world chess champion Garry Kasparov with batons. I hope he has good insurance, and a good doctor – he’s developing a habit of being assaulted in public.
Veronica was at the courthouse, and has posted several pictures at Neeka’s Backlog.
Finally, Alex(ei) posts his reaction:
Reports of this "brawl," oddly perhaps, have affirmed my conviction that Putin’s junta must go. I’m not sure about Putin himself, but the people he brought in to work for him in the Kremlin — mostly from St. Petersburg and the KGB — have been consistently displaying two qualities that are deadly when mixed: belligerence and patent, unprecedented incompetence. Yeltsin’s kleptocratic lieutenants seem efficient and sophisticated in comparison.
I couldn’t agree more. I’ve written before about how I feel Russia’s foreign policy is undermined again and again by incompetence, and it’s clear that the same problems afflict the Kremlin in implementing its domestic policies.