Leading Russian liberal Anatoly Chubais, whose fate has hung in the balance since the Kremlin blamed a recent Moscow power cut on the company he heads, on Friday pledged loyalty to President Vladimir Putin, the Reuters news agency reports.
Last month’s conviction of oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky in a trial widely seen as Kremlin revenge for his political ambitions has moved the spotlight to Chubais —- head of the Unified Energy System (UES) power monopoly and driving force in the 1990s post-Soviet privatization criticized by Putin.
The Russian president upbraided Chubais over the May 25 power outage, which stopped market trading and brought public transport to a halt. His reaction fueled suggestions by political analysts that Chubais could be the next target in new trials of business captains promised by top prosecutors.
Reuters quoted Chubais’ interview with the Moskovskiye Novosti weekly, where the UES chief hailed Putin’s political reforms, which scrapped elections for regional governors and effectively closed the doors of parliament to smaller political parties.
“I believe that this was a correct decision and fully support Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin in that sense,” he said of the reform, which has been criticized by opponents as a Kremlin plot to tighten its grip on power in Russia.
Putin’s reform has virtually doomed Chubais’ Union of Right-wing Forces (SPS) party, which failed to pass the five percent vote threshold to enter parliament in 2003.
Based in London, we are an informal group dedicated to supporting democracy and human rights throughout
the former Soviet Union. Our aims are:
Informing the public about issues in this area that receive little coverage in the Western media.
Staging peaceful demonstrations and letter-writing campaigns in support of specific causes.
Supporting and publicising nonviolent pro-democracy groups throughout the region.
Encouraging European and American involvement.
Support the Belarusian cartoonists
Third Way, the Belarusian organisation whose members are being prosecuted for producing satirical cartoons about Lukashenka,
have set up a web page where you can make a donation via PayPal. The group urgently
need money for their legal defence and operating expenses. Please give what you can today! Read more
We are continuing to focus our efforts on the Belarusian prisoner of conscience Mikhail Marinich.
We are campaigning for him to receive proper medical treatment, to be permitted to see his family,
and ultimately to be released from prison pending a review of his case. You can help by distributing
our factsheets and letters.
Members of these groups have joined our blog to share their views and experiences.