On this day, Mikhail Khodorkovsky as part of a group of persons stood bond for Vladimir Gusinsky

On this day, Mikhail Khodorkovsky as part of a group of persons stood bond for Vladimir Gusinsky

Chubais, Fridman, Aven, Khodorkovsky* and others sent an open letter to the Office of the Prosecutor General of Russia, defending Vladimir Gusinsky in a fraud case. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on June 14, 2000.

On this day 22 years ago, on June 14, 2000, saw the light a very interesting document – an open letter, a “warranty” at the same time, addressed to the Prosecutor General of Russia Vladimir Ustinov. At issue was the head of the holding “Media-Most” Vladimir Gusinsky, who happened to be under arrest at that time.

Vladimir Gusinsky was apprehended in Moscow on June 13, 2000, on charges of embezzlement of $10 million during privatization of the company “Russkoye video”. The investigation suspected that in 1996-1997, as the result of the creation of various structures, including the CJSC “Media-Most”, functions of television broadcasting were transferred from the state company “Russkoye Video” to the private company LLC “Russkoye Video”, and because of that the state company RGK “Russkoye Video” was deprived of the 11th television channel worth $10 million.

Apart from that, it was asserted that Gusinsky, in 1997, acting in collusion with the head of the company “Russkoye Video” Dmitry Rozhdestvensky, started to use the 11th television channel in his own purposes without transferring any payments to the state. This deal had all characteristics of a rather hasty machination, and it was testified by the fact that a license for television broadcasting had been given within several hours. Apart from that, the sum that was paid to the state on the deal from the part of Gusinsky was about 5 thousand dollars at the exchange rate of that time. This was the cost that the dealer paid for a whole television channel.

The materials of the criminal case No 18/221012-98, allowed the investigation to come to a preliminary conclusion that Gusinsky, as part of a group of persons, had committed fraud, i.e. he had acquired the right of other people’s property by way of cheat and confidence tricks under Article 159, paragraph 3, subparagraph “b” of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. After that, Gusinsky V.A. ended up in a cell of a pretrial detention center.


“Business circles” decided to get involved in this case, and the level of legal consciousness of the members of it, at that time, was based, more often than not, on speculations regarding “the fate of democracy”. The open letter, in which the merchants “stood bond for Gusinsky”, was just from this series.

“Business circles have different attitude towards the figure of Vladimir Gusinsky. We acknowledge that law enforcement agencies may have had question regarding his activity. We also accept that the authorities have the right and obligation to take strict measures of preventive character towards anybody. Towards anybody, but not towards Vladimir Gusinsky”, wrote the oligarchs in their letter to the Office of the Prosecutor General, reasoning “about fragility of democracy in Russia” and pointing out that Gusinsky was “a critic of the authorities”, i.e. “opposition member”, and was supposed to have indulgence of everything.

Already on June 16, thanks to the efforts of lawyers, Vladimir Gusinsky was set at large under the written pledge not to leave the country. So, the case was suspended, and Gusinsky fled to Spain, from where it was impossible to extradite him.

Among 17 persons that had signed this “wonder letter” full of civic pathos, was also the finance trickster Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Only later, at the suggestion of the West, oligarchs learned by heart the term “rule of law” as well as mantras about “independent justice system”, but in 2000 the matter came down to reflections on “fragility of democracy” and down to the assertion that they were “the best people”, and, in general, pillar of society.


By the way, Khodorkovsky had an ordinary interest in trying to save Gusinsky from arrest – money. Moreover, for Khodorkovsky, Gusinsky at large was for more profitable than Gusinski sitting in a cell of a pre-trial detention center. Many common schemes concerning juggling with money and depository notes, were based on personal agreements between Khodorkovsky and Gusinsky. One of such schemes looked rather graphically and was included in the materials of the first criminal case against Khodorkovsky.

As it was established, “Khodorkovsky M.B., while leading an organized group, illegally and free of charge withdrew and turned in profit Gusinsky V.A. 2 649 906 620 rubles belonging to the OJSC “NK Yukos” and to structures under its control, thus inflicting damage to owners of these means, to the joint stock company and its shareholders”.

To put it simpler, Khodorkovsky “mixed up” the cash register of the joint stock company with his own pocket, and from there he dragged out the sum of money mentioned in the court’s verdict, so he stole money not only from the oil company Yukos, but also from shareholders of the company. And it was made without any maxims “about fragility of democracy”, about which “business circles”, including Khodorkovsky himself, contemplated while sending to the Office of the Prosecutor General their pompous manifesto for salvation of Gusinsky.

“It’s not unexpected that nowadays the defender of “fragile democracy” and “the rule of law” has morphed into a common dribbling polizei-policeman, writing denouncements on all his former comrades-oligarchs. For instance, on his co-authors of “the open letter in defense of Gusinsky”, namely on Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven, who have been included in all possible “black lists” of the collective West. For the polizei-policeman it’s not important that all restrictions against Russian citizens are introduced beyond any legal norms, by barbaric means – on the basis of anti-Russian expediency, without investigation and judgement”, notes the website Prigovor.ru.

(See also the previous article “On this day, lawyers “lost” Khodorkovsky”. Lawyers’ farce under the name of “Khodorkovsky was removed in an unknown destination. The lost object was found at the following address: Karelia, town Segezha, Leigubskaya Street, Correctional Facility IK No7. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on June 13, 2011).

*On May 20, 2022, the Russian Ministry of Justice included M.B. Khodorkovsky in the list of physical persons executing functions of a foreign agent.

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