As was expected, yesterday’s arrest of Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, who is more known for his nickname Taiwanchik, gave rise to a new wave of talks about omnipotent Russian mafia that offends helpless Canadian and American athletes. Defamation cast at Russian athletes at that is beyond the decencies, if some still can be mentioned in this case.
As a result of the defamation, Russian figure skaters Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze are going to bring an action against American TV companies. TV companies showed pictures of the 2002 Salt Lake gold medallists in connection with arrest of Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov and deeds of Russian mafia. Anton Sikharulidze says, “this is another political sortie.” The figure skater thinks that “Canadians and North Americans should calm down and be happy with the second set of Olympic gold presented to the Canadian pair.”
By the way, the Canadian figure skaters derived a great profit from the scandal. Right after the Salt Lake Olympics, Jamie Sale and David Pelletier concluded a contract with a world famous tooth paste producer. According to some sources, the Canadian pair earned $5 million advertising a new tooth paste. Is not it a considerable compensation for the Olympic stress? However, the producer decided not to demonstrate the new advertising video in Russia, and it is clear why.
On the whole, the story looks rather smooth. Taiwanchik is certainly guilty of some crimes, but if he is to be put in jail all the same, why not find evidence of his connection to even harder crimes. Is it really difficult? The tapes presented by the FBI are not a sufficient proof. Words said by anyone of us can be taken out of context and said to be evidence of severe crimes. Very likely, the same was done in this very case.
This is also believed to be a destructive blow against notorious Russian mafia. And Canadian figure skaters, Sale and Pelletier may expect to be offered another profitable advertising contract.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/08/02/45077.html