On December 2 the Center for Public Opinion Studying reported that the majority of Russians are irritated with the Western countries’ queries on the Yukos case. 55 per cent out of the 1600 people under survey consider such queries as interference in the country’s own affairs.
In the evening of December 1 President Bush expressed his concern over the Yukos case to Russian President Vladimir Putin in the phone conversation. According to White House spokesman Scot McLellan, the topic of the conversation was different from Yukos, but at one point George Bush asked about the situation with “obedience the legal norms in Russia” meaning the arrest of oil company Yukos President Khodorkovsky. McLellan said that Vladimir Putin confirmed his devotion to following the legal norms.
Russian Center for Public Opinion Studying (WTSIOM) has another answer for George Bush. On December 2 the Center reported that the majority of Russians are irritated with the Western countries’ queries on the Yukos case. 55 per cent out of the 1600 people under survey consider such queries as interference in the country’s own affairs, Vremy Novostei newspaper wrote. 43 per cent of the surveyed believe the situation with Yukos will unlikely influence the relations between Russia and the Western countries, 28 per cent gave prognoses for temporary “freezing” of relations and only 9 per cent think the relations will worsen for a long period of time. Besides, 51 per cent cannot see or unable to name the possible consequences of Yukos case. Among their opponents who see such consequences 23 per cent think the campaign started by the authorities will result in having order and legal principles priority in economic sphere, other 5 per cent see the result as the restriction of big business’s claims for governing the country. Answering the question if arrest is an acceptable measure for the people accused of tax evasion 39 per cent said this is necessary, 29 per cent believe this measure should be applied only to the people not paying big sums and only 16 per cent oppose this measure.
However, the notion of "interference in the country’s own affairs" is in case of Yukos can hardly be applied. Most of the company’s executives are American citizens: Steven Tidi who is in charge of the company’s everyday business activity, Bruce Mizamor - Yukos’s financial director and Semen Kukes - the Head of the company.
Mr. Kukes is a former citizen of the USSR who was granted American citizenship. However, American passport did not save him from accusations. They were made by Vadimir Yudin, the famous deputy of the State Duma who stated the Yukos case with his official inquiry about Apatit Company. The deputies finished their term in the state legislature on November 28 and started preparing for the elections to Duma on December 7. However, while still having the deputy’s status Mr. Yudin made one more attempt to prosecute Yukos. He submitted another official inquiry to the Attorney General’s Office and stated that New York District Court is hearing the case against the CEOs and owners of TNK company, including Mr. Kukes (he was the president of TNK until June 2003). "American court accuses these persons of committing crimes - racketeering (extortion), threats of physical execution to the bosses of "Yugrneft", "Chernogorneft" и Norex" companies, and Mr. Kukes "is evading the court". The case has been heard for a long time after the minor shareholder for TNK corporation - Canadian company Norex accused TNK several years ago of illegal takeover of its subsidiaries which violated the minor shareholders’rights. According to Yukos, Mr. Kukes is not a party in this case, аnd TNK reports “New York District Court is considering if this case is under his jurisdiction." Earlier, Russian courts several times made verdicts not in favor of the Canadian company.