Yukos Bankruptcy Auction Followed the Law

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In response to "How to Steal Legally," a comment by Tim Osborne on Feb. 15.

My colleagues and I have always worked within the framework of the law, and the Yukos bankruptcy process was also carried out in accordance with Russian legislation.

The Yukos management never appealed the bankruptcy auctions in court. In addition, the shareholders' representatives did not exercise their legal rights, but instead preferred to make unsubstantiated declarations in the press.

On Oct. 31, an Amsterdam court ruled that I did not have the right to sell Yukos' foreign assets in a bankruptcy auction in August, and it refused to recognize me as the legitimate receiver of Yukos' Dutch subsidiary, Yukos Finance BV, which holds Yukos' foreign assets.

The court also ruled that Yukos did not receive a fair trial to establish how much back tax it had to pay. As a result, the court handed back control of the subsidiary to its former top managers, chief financial officer Bruce Misamore and legal counsel David Godfrey.

To this day, I have not received the official court decision. However, my lawyers have informed me that the Amsterdam court agreed that all of my actions were legal.

Furthermore, the district court determined that the Russian court's jurisdiction is in agreement with international principles. But this requires a special analysis, and only then would a comment be appropriate.

Eduard Rebgun
Former court-appointed receiver in the Yukos bankruptcy auctions.

Closing European University

In 1994, St. Petersburg Mayor Anatoly Sobchak and the Russian Academy of Sciences started a sophisticated and progressive initiative that ultimately established European University at St. Petersburg.

We are European University's international students, and we are writing because our school's auditoriums and library are currently empty and its hallways are eerily silent. There are no winners in the situation.

On Feb. 8, authorities suspended activities at European University on the grounds of fire-safety violations. The university acted quickly to rectify 20 of the 53 violations. As to the remaining violations, European University believes that they cannot be resolved because of the building's historical architecture. Meanwhile, the charges have elicited speculation about political or business interests in the property since the building passed fire-safety inspections in previous years.

European University plays a crucial role in fostering relationships between countries that are driven by mutual respect and understanding. By temporarily shutting down our university, the authorities create a volatile environment in which a respected university, founded on post-Soviet freedoms, idealism, and innovations is gravely injured.

It is necessary to consider the ramifications of closure for both Russian and international students who are genuinely interested in learning about and partnering with Russia.

Foreign students at European University
St. Petersburg

Armenia's 'Rule of Thieves'

In response to "New 'Bully' May Help Move Yerevan Forward," a comment by Arthur Martirosyan and Tom Samuelian on Feb. 26.

Have Arthur Martirosyan and Tom Samuelian even bothered to look into what is really taking place on the streets of Armenia? As journalists, one would expect them to go out there and interview people and get some real stories to discuss. There are hundreds of thousands of people on the streets protesting this embarrassingly scandalous election, and this is despite the fear of the current regime. The "rule of thieves" is instilled in the people. I have relatives who fear losing their jobs and getting kicked out of universities for making their voices heard.

This can hardly be announced as an election. Nobody in that regime was preparing for any election on Feb. 19. They had been preparing well in advance on how to rig the results. It was a show for them, and Armenia was their theater stage.

Inga Galadzhyan

Putin is No Weakling

As a Canadian looking in from the outside, I feel that Russia has been very well served by President Vladimir Putin. He has served his country at a very difficult time, and his performance as president has been spectacular.

We all live in a time when the United States is on the warpath, and President George W. Bush keeps bringing his aggressive military regime closer and closer to Russia's front door. The latest aggressive move is the provocative plan to station missiles in Poland. Only a very weak leader would ignore such a massive threat, and Putin is no weakling. Under this U.S. military expansion, it is fair and proper for Russia to station missiles in Iran and Cuba as deterrence.

Against overwhelming odds, Putin has stood up to U.S. aggression. He was brilliant to forge a strong alliance with China. The United States' status as the world's only superpower is completely over, thanks to the fact that China and Russia are growing stronger, while America is in rapid decline.

Norman Grant Smith
Chilliwack, British Columbia

American Finger-Pointing

In response to "Putin Saved My Career," a comment by Mark Katz on Feb. 22.


When Mark Katz claims that "Putin saved" his career, one gets an image of a Sovietologist recalling the good old tradition of American finger-pointing and criticizing an independent power that dares challenge the United States.

Though at first it seems that Putin saved his career, I suspect that sticking to the politically correct line on Russian foreign policy has helped preserve Katz's status as an expert.

There will always be new time for old stories. One wonders how many careers for Americanists in Russia and the world are created by the invasion of Iraq, expansion of NATO, strategic arms race, weapons in space, or disregard for international law in Kosovo?

Leon Rozmarin
Hopedale, Massachusetts