My object all sublime
I shall achieve in time
To let the punishment fit the crime
The punishment fit the crime
Gilbert and Sullivan, The Mikado
Once upon a time Mikhail Khodorkovsky was the richest man in Russia. He had a petroleum company called Yukos. Then he got involved in politics. Bad idea! He was promptly arrested, his assets seized. The charge was corruption and tax evasion. Suddenly he was living in the vast, cold inhospitable regions that are such a part of the history of Russia. It seems that every time his sentence was about to end, a zealous department of Injustice found new reasons to keep him there.
A trio of Punk Rockers named Pussy Riot staged a mock Putin expulsion from power in a church. They were promptly arrested. A prank, right? A slap on the wrist? They too are serving time in those frozen, harsh camps. And as this is written, one member of the band has gone missing in the system.
More recently Russia has arrested the crew of a Greenpeace ship who were protesting against oil drilling in the Arctic Sea. Two Americans are among them. The Russian authorities reduced the initial charges of piracy to hooliganism because of worldwide protests, but although they surrendered peacefully, they remain in prison.
Still, Alexei Navalny decided to run for Mayor of Moscow. Didn’t he know that Moscow already had a mayor installed there by Putin himself who had zero intention of giving up his seat? Then Putin had an inspiration. Having first arrested Navalny, he decided to release him. Let him run but make sure that he does not win. See, how fair we can be in Russia?
Forbes was probably right in naming Putin the world’s most powerful man. All these people and numerous others can attest to that. What next? The Nobel Peace Prize?
Here is a video clip from the Mikado: