Defending Khodorkovsky, US officials stress out only the long period, which the tycoon will have to spend in jail
Experts predicted before that the sentence against the former CEO of the Russian oil giant Yukos, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, would not have any influence on the relations between Russia and the USA. US Congressman Tom Lantos publicly stated Tuesday that he would double his efforts to make the Congress support the resolution, in which Lantos and his colleague, Christopher Cox, suggested Russia should be withdrawn from the Group of Eight. An official spokesman for the US Department of State, Richard Boucher, said yesterday that the Bush administration was against making such a decision. According to Boucher, the US administration is certain that Russia's participation in international institutions was positive, whereas the isolation of Russia would not bring anything good.
Furthermore, Mr. Boucher set out his protest against taking economic or any other measures against Russia. The USA does not consider the cessation of business cooperation with Russia a good idea. Shutting down joint anti-terrorist and law-enforcement programs is not viewed as a positive factor in the relations between the two states, Boucher added.
The statement from the high-ranking American official was apparently released in response to a harsh remark from a Russian parliamentarian, the chairman of the State Duma Committee for International Affairs, Konstantin Kosachev. Mr. Kosachev particularly criticized the aspiration of his “US colleagues to teach Russia good and bad and to which extent Russia corresponds to democracy.”
Other American officials hurried to release friendly statements too to pacify Russian politicians. The head of the US Department for Commerce, Carlos Gutierrez, decided to share his impressions of the dynamic development of the free market and entrepreneurship in Russia. Mr. Gutierrez said that he was impressed with the results that Russia had been able to achieve at this point. The official said that it took the USA 200 years to form the free market economy, whereas Russia succeeded in only several years.
The chairman of the committee for international relations of the Congress, Representative Henry Hyde, also set out his opinion against Russia's exclusion from the Group of Eight. Furthermore, the official called upon the US government to cancel the notorious Jackson-Vanik amendment, which was approved in the USA more than 30 years ago to restrict commercial activities with communist countries.
The US president is seemingly not that much concerned about the fate of the Russian oil tycoon, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The G8 meeting is scheduled to take place in Scotland on June 6-8th: George W. Bush is not willing at all to spoil his relations with Vladimir Putin.
Co-chairman of the national strategy council, Josef Diskin, said in an interview with Utro.ru that the American president did not want to aggravate relations with Russia. Condoleezza Rice repeatedly stated before that Russia should be involved, not isolated. Russia might start developing active cooperation with China, if there is too much anti-Russian pressure in the US policy.
”The USA does not want Russia to take a Chinese orientation as it develops its energy projects. The US minister for energy has recently visited Russia to conduct negotiations about increasing deliveries of oil and liquefied gas. The USA wants to diversify their energy import and to continue working with Russia on the non-proliferation program too,” Diskin said.
It is noteworthy that defending Khodorkovsky, US officials stress out only the long period, which the tycoon will have to spend in jail. The USA does not deny the billionaire's guilt, though. “They realize that Khodorkovsky is obviously guilty of the charges. It goes without saying that US officials do not want to be accused of having friendly attitudes to fraudsters. Bush does not want to put an end to Russia's G8 membership: such an initiative may end in the collapse of this organization. Furthermore, Russia will chair the Group of Eight on June 9th,” the specialist said.