One thing that an observer of Russian politics can’t help noticing is the sheer impossibility of appeasing the Russian liberals. Here are two recent exhibits from the Moscow Times.
First, coming to the end of his Presidency, Medvedev pardoned some people in a list of political prisoners presented by the non-systemic opposition a few months ago. The choice of pardons seem justified on grounds of reason and proportionality although it is unclear to what extent, say, someone convicted to three years in prison for selling 70g of marijuana qualifies as a political prisoner (if that was a criterion for political repression, I wonder how many “political prisoners” are currently rotting in US jails?).
But predictably enough the liberals are far more concerned with Medvedev’s refusal to pardon Khodorkovsky without at least first receiving a petition requesting a pardon from the imprisoned. Of course one would also think that withholding many billions of dollars from the tax authorities and defrauding minority shareholders – as repeatedly established by not only the Russian justice system, but the ECHR – are far more serious crimes than selling weed even in a country as regressive in its attitudes to drugs freedoms as Russia. Not that Russia’s so-called “liberals” see it that way.