Wednesday, May 18

Crime and Punishment, War and Peace, Anna Karenina, the Khordokovsky guilty verdict...

The Russian judges seem about a twelfth of the way through the hundreds of pages detailing the counts against Khordokovsky and Lebedev and the verdict on each. Today they resume taking turns reading the pages aloud.

They do things differently in Russia. First of all, they don't have a trial unless it's about 99% certain the defendant is guilty. Then there is the tradition of reading out the details of the verdict. Khordokovsky's lawyers, knowing that most Americans don't have a clue about the way things work in Russia, are spinning the tradition to US journalists as yet another sign that their client is persecuted.

The details the judges are reading out, if you can stay awake through them, are illuminating history: a window on the breakup of the Soviet Union, which to this day is not accurately reported by the mainstream Western media.

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