Writing to Washington in December last year, a political officer in the US embassy in Moscow noted that one international legal expert believes the trial judge is trying to give Khodorkovsky's defence lawyers a chance. However, in a withering assessment, the officer adds: "The fact that legal procedures are apparently being meticulously followed in a case whose motivation is clearly political may appear paradoxical.
US diplomats have reported startling suspicions that Silvio Berlusconi could be "profiting personally and handsomely" from secret deals with the Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin, according to cables released by WikiLeaks. Exasperated by Berlusconi's pro-Russian behaviour, American embassy staff detail allegations circulating in Rome that the Italian leader has been promised a cut of huge energy contracts.
Russia's leadership and supine television channels were deafeningly silent this morning over revelations that US diplomats view Russia as a corrupt, autocratic kleptocracy. Damning cables sent to Washington by successive ambassadors in Moscow were disclosed by WikiLeaks today and published in the Guardian.