The Kremlin's crackdown

What now for Russia?The indelicate jailing of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, chief executive of OAO Yukos, and freezing of shares in the company reminded a hopeful West that authoritarian traditions linger in the land of the czars. It did not, however, change Russian geology.Any outbreak of old-style thuggery is disappointing in a Russia thought further along in liberalization. Yet Russians support the heavy-handed treatment of Khodorkovsky by the administration of President Vladimir Putin. The Yukos chief, who resigned from jail on Nov. 3, belongs to the unpopular class of so-called oligarchs—murkily financed opportunists who acquired state assets cheap during the chaotic privatization of t...

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