Vladimir Putin. Picture: AFP PHOTO/MAXIM SHEMETOV
Vladimir Putin. Picture: AFP PHOTO/MAXIM SHEMETOV

WE HAVE noted a series of opinion pieces by Tony Leon that negatively portray Russia and President Vladimir Putin, based on William Browder’s memoir-style book on the so-called Magnitsky case.

I am not going into details; I am just wondering.

I wonder why Leon ignores multiple facts presented by Russian enforcement agencies on Browder’s shady schemes and illegal practices as an investor in Russia, as well as facts uncovered by journalistic investigations and depicted in several films (The Browder Effect, The Magnitsky Act, Behind-The-Scenes).

I wonder why Browder was so unwilling to give testimony at the Court of New York, preferring to play cloak-and-dagger with the police for two years to avoid being served a subpoena (one of his escapes was caught on camera and uploaded to YouTube). When finally forced to speak in the court, Browder admitted on record to having forgotten many details of his "adventures" in Russia.

Here is the recipe on how to present facts on Russia according to Leon: take a book by a businessman with a conveniently selective memory who has been convicted for tax evasion, announce it to be the ultimate truth, while disregarding any alternative — and true — information or opinions, then publish an article in a respected newspaper. Mission accomplished. I wonder what I can say to this? Eish….

Alexander Kulyaev
Press attaché of the Russian embassy in SA

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