To my shame, I am only reading that amazing work now. Thoroughly researched, fully documented it relies heavily on Hoffman's own interviews with the ologarchs and key players of the time. Khodorkovsky, Smolensky, Gusinsky, Luzkhov, Chubais, Berezovsky all opened their doors to him and shared their versions of what drove them to chamge Russia and, for the oligarchs, to get unbeleivably wealthy.
The Washington Post is currently one of those newspapers that follows the Khodorkovsky line. It's journalists and editors would be well advised to read Hoffman's book and become familiar with Khodorkovsky's shadier side as he thwarted minority shareholders and used transfer pricing to fund his appetite for international borrowing.
All the Yeltsin-era oligarchs were guilty. Khodorkovsky's crimes were put under the scrutiny of Russia's Security services because he alone broke the pact offered by Putin when he became President. In June 2000 Mr Putin made peace with Russia’s tycoons, promising not to question their entitlement to the shares they acquired in the dubious Yeltsin deals, providing they stayed out of politics.
Khodorkovsky and his partners in Yukos single handidly bankrolled up to a quarter of the Russian Parliament's (Duma) lawmakers to thwart government legislation on oil taxes. The busted oligarch now claims in his postulations from jail that this was normal lobbying, justr as in the United States.
When Sergei Lavrov, the Foreign Minister of Russia meets his opposite number, William Hague in London this week I hope Khodorkovsky ios off the agenda.