Russia arrests its wealthiest man

Black-uniformed special forces swept onto the airplane of Russia’s wealthiest man Saturday and forced him back to Moscow, where he was ordered jailed on criminal charges – a dramatic escalation of the politically charged probe into Russia’s largest oil company.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky was charged Saturday with fraud, forgery and other crimes hours after the special forces troops, weapons drawn, surrounded his private plane at a Siberian airport.

This can’t be good news for a country. I can’t begin to understand the byzantine ins and outs of Russian politics. But either the wealthiest man doesn’t deserve to be arrested, in which case this is a tragic oppression or scapegoating. Or the wealthiest man does deserve to be arrested, which is tragic as well. What does it say about how wealth is earned in the country?

Somehow, this being Russia, one suspects that both case A and case B are true at the same time, which makes it even worse, and no, you need not lecture me on Aristotle’s Law of the Excluded Middle.

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