Publication: Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 88

On May 4, Russia’s Foreign Ministry denounced the American authorities for having made no effort to detain Media-Most founder Vladimir Gusinsky, who had addressed the National Press Club in Washington the previous day. The ministry stated that despite the absence of an extradition treaty between Russian and the United States, the fact that the Russian authorities had issued an international arrest warrant for Gusinsky through Interpol should have been sufficient basis to detain him. In failing to do so, the U.S. authorities were, the ministry charged, “following political motives first and foremost” despite their “loud statements on the importance of the joint fight against financial crimes.” It also expressed “serious concern” over the fact that Gusinsky had attended official meetings in the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Congress. Late last month, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office charged Gusinsky with money laundering and issued an international arrest warrant for him. The new charges and warrant came just days after a three-judge tribunal in Spain refused to satisfy a Russian request that Gusinsky be extradited to face fraud charges (see the Monitor, April 24, 30). In response to the Russian Foreign Ministry’s complaints, a U.S. State Department spokesman said that the absence of an extradition treaty between Russian and the United States meant the Russian extradition demand had no legal basis. The spokesman also called the accusations against Gusinsky politically motivated and accused the Russian government of trying to silence critical media (Russian agencies, May 4). During his speech to the National Press Club, Gusinsky said there was no respect for human rights, press freedom, private property, law or the independence of courts in Russia. He also called on the United States and other Western democracies to demarcate “red lines” that Russia should not cross if it wants to be considered a “civilized country.” Gusinsky’s had been summoned appear at the Prosecutor General’s Office in Moscow on May 3, the day he addressed the National Press Club in Washington. He has now been summoned to appear for questioning on May 10 (May 3, Associated Press, Reuters, Russian agencies; Moscow Times, May 7).