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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New Judge Selected Ahead of Yukos Case

A new judge has been appointed to represent Russia in the European Court of Human Rights ahead of a trial in the case filed by former Yukos management.

“Andrei Bushev has been commissioned a judge in the Strasbourg court for the hearing over the Yukos complaint,” a source in the Justice Ministry said, Interfax reported Tuesday.

Bushev’s predecessor as ad hoc judge in the court, Valery Musin, resigned after being appointed as a board member of Gazprom.

Musin was the second judge representing Russia in the court to withdraw from the case of Yukos vs. the Russian government. Judge Anatoly Kovler earlier quit the court.

The court was to hold its first hearing on Yukos on Nov. 19, but it might now postpone it because of the switch in judges, according to the court’s web site. Russia has the right to ask for a delay when a new judge is appointed.

Former Yukos managers are seeking $100 billion in damages for the Russian government’s 2006 bankruptcy of the oil company, once Russia’s biggest. Former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky is serving an eight-year prison sentence for fraud and tax evasion and is on trial again in Moscow on related charges. He and his supporters say the charges are politically motivated.

The European court, which has ruled against the Russian government in many cases in recent years, cannot force a country to comply with its decisions but can expel it from the Council of Europe. Each of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe has a judge seated in the European Court of Human Rights.

Musin, who left the court for Gazprom, is a professor of civil law at St. Petersburg State University and a former teacher of President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. In June, Gazprom’s shareholders elected Musin as an independent board member, replacing Boris Fyodorov, a former finance minister who died last year.

Bushev, his replacement at the European court, is a professor of commercial law at St. Petersburg State University and studied law there at the same time as Medvedev. He graduated in 1988, one year after the president, Kommersant reported.