that the prosecutor general would drop the charges and allow Gusinsky to leave the country.
The prosecutor general followed through, and Gusinsky has stayed abroad. From London, he denounced the deal with Gazprom as invalid because coerced. The prosecutor general then summoned Gusinsky to appear in Moscow for questioning on September 29. Gusinsky did not show, and Reznik says he will not until the prosecutor general explains why he is being sought–in other words, in what case is he allegedly a witness? Meanwhile, Gazprom has brought a civil suit against thirty-one companies that are part of Media Most, and a court has frozen the assets of twenty-seven of them. Gusinsky, however, had apparently transferred title to the most valuable assets to offshore companies last April.
Andrei Babitsky, a Russian citizen, reported the war in Chechnya for U.S. government-financed Radio Liberty until he was taken into custody by Russian troops in January. Although he was not charged with any crime, Babitsky’s stories and videotape, some of which aired on Gusinsky’s NTV network, had infuriated the Russian military and then acting president Putin as well. In early February, Russian forces handed Babitsky over to unidentified gunmen, purportedly Chechens, in what was billed as an “exchange” for several Russian prisoners of war. Several weeks later, Babitsky subsequently appeared in the neighboring republic of Dagestan, carrying an Azerbaijani passport he said he had been given by his captors. He was promptly arrested, and although President Putin publicly called him a “traitor,” he was charged only with using a false passport. His trial began October 2 in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan. Attorney Reznik says the defense will focus on the “political character” of the charges. The presiding judge said the case may be settled under an amnesty.