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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Prosecutors' Incompetence or Brilliant PR?

Boris Berezovsky ought to send Deputy Prosecutor General Vladimir Kolesnikov a great big bouquet of flowers. Seriously.

If not for Kolesnikov's tireless efforts, the West would still see Berezovsky as the "Godfather of the Kremlin," an oligarch who amassed his fortune in shady deals and who is directly responsible for creating the current regime in Russia.

Instead, the Prosecutor General's Office has done everything humanly possible to ensure that Berezovsky received political asylum in Britain. It has also pulled off the much trickier feat of making Berezovsky's millions look legitimate.

Do you remember the grounds on which the Prosecutor General's Office was seeking Berezovsky's extradition? It accused him of illegally acquiring 2,000 Lada automobiles.

If Kolesnikov has nothing better to hang on Berezovsky than heisting a couple thousand Ladas, it follows logically that Berezovsky must be as innocent as a baby when it comes to everything else.

Then again, prosecutors have also managed to wash Berezovsky's hands of the Ladas as well. You see, he is supposed to have acquired them with the help of an accomplice, the governor of the Samara region. No one has been demanding his extradition from Samara, so how guilty can Berezovsky be?

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In its April 1 issue this year, Moskovsky Komsomolets played a little April Fool's joke. The tabloid reported that the prosecutor's office had ceased its efforts to have Berezovsky extradited for grand auto theft, and had come up with a new and improved charge guaranteed to bring him home. During an argument with his mistress, MK wrote, Berezovsky had slung his cat against a wall in a fit of rage, killing it instantly. The mistress had agreed to testify, and Berezovsky has been charged with cruelty to animals. In animal-loving Britain, the thought was, this charge would carry a lot more weight.

And what do you think happened? Did anyone laugh? Not a chance. No one was surprised in the least that the prosecutor's office had involved a cat in its campaign to nail Berezovsky.

Berezovsky is not the first to have benefited from the prosecutors' zeal. We need look no farther than former Chechen field commander Akhmed Zakayev, whom Denmark was itching to extradite after the hostage taking at the Dubrovka theater. But alas, the Danes were thwarted by the Russian prosecutor's office itself, which filed such a shoddy extradition request that no self-respecting Danish judge could approve it. Zakayev was accused, in part, of murdering two Orthodox priests, one of whom was still very much alive. Statements from eye witnesses had been date-stamped the day after the warrant had been issued for Zakayev's arrest.

Now this farce is being repeated in an English court, where our lawyers are trying to prove that the war in Chechnya is actually an "anti-terrorist operation." It seems Russia has nothing better to do than screw itself in an English court and pay for the privilege.

If we rule out the possibility that Berezovsky himself is bankrolling a deep-rooted conspiracy in the prosecutor's office, only one explanation remains: incompetence. The products that roll off the line of the law enforcement system are intended strictly for domestic consumption. Like the Lada, they're not competitive in other countries.

And still it's curious. In bungling the Zakayev case, Russia completely wasted the international sympathy that flooded in after the Dubrovka theater terrorist attack. Yet no one in the prosecutor's office was fired as a result. Just the opposite -- they forwarded the same shoddy extradition request from Denmark to England.

Now that the prosecutors' PR campaign has miraculously turned the "Godfather of the Kremlin" into a political refugee, will anyone in the prosecutor's office be called to account? Will anyone be sacked? Or even reprimanded?

Or will the Kremlin remain firm in the belief that incompetence is the mother of loyalty?

Yulia Latynina is a presenter of "24" on RenTV.