The right to defend ourselves

The right to defend ourselves (following up on the previous post)

The court ruled, following — oddly — the prosecutor’s line, that the cabbie was trying to force his passenger to perform oral sex on him. He must have thought he had succeeded when he felt the sting of her knife. What is mind-boggling is how the judge could conclude that a fairly weak stab — almost a prick — in the guy’s fleshy thigh, which no reasonable person could expect to be fatal — how that stab was consistent with any intent to kill. For “murder in the state of nervous agitation” implies intent to take one’s life.

I have my own suspicions about who paid whom and how much but I’d rather keep them to myself. Note that the prosecutor and the judge are women; most of the real victim’s defenders are men. Let us now look and see whether this case is somehow connected to the Khodorkovsky trial.

Of course it is. Had Khodorkovsky been tried by jury, through truly adversary proceedings, with the government employing the most qualified lawyers to prosecute, with extensive professional media coverage (court reporters, not a bunch of dilettantes), he could have been convicted just as well, but that would be a “fair and square” conviction. An open and fair trial of that importance would have helped defendants get fairer treatment across the board. It is difficult to imagine a jury that would unanimously convict Alexandra Ivannikova — perhaps one consisting of menopausal old shrews or crazy Armenian nationalists.

Now on to those who are supposed to help abused women: the human rights industry — shall we say cottage industry. Those people, much as I respect some of them, keep convincing me they are only ready to defend the Other. They never seem to care about members of the collective “Us.” Moreover, whenever they rush to defend someone, they make people suspect there’s something alien about the new object of their compassion.

No wonder then that I haven’t yet heard them on this matter. An ordinary, non-minority, non-politically-affiliated married woman is involved. They are just not interested, and that’s why they will always lose out.


  1. Come, Tatyana, don’t pretend you don’t know they types I’m talking about. The old shrew — you must have met plenty of those — is one of the most important and seemingly widespread Soviet types: the archetypal divorce judge or mother-in-law. Tends to hate pretty much everybody. When I say “an old shrew,” I don’t use a pre-existing definition; rather, I define a group of old, nasty women who can’t possibly be objective.

    I haven’t yet met an Armenian nationalist; they may all be very nice people. However, most small-nation nationalists tend to hate Russia and Russians to a point of madness; it is therefore more likely, a priori, that twelve Armenian nationalists would be blinded by hatred than a randomly selected dozen. Not necessarily, of course.

    I’m afraid one should expect the same of Russian nationalists, as a good deal of them are simply ethnic chauvinists.

  2. You might be right about 12 nationalists combined; it might very well be the case of quantity flowing to quality.
    But using “menopausal” as defining characteristic (as if change of hormonal level is so primary in humans it strips one of all rational judgement abilities) is on same level as very popular in Live Journal “nedoeb” argument.


  3. Yes, I was being rude, but the key word is “shrew,” and the judgement is probabilistic: a member of group A is a priori (i.e. in the absense of any other information about her except this membership) more likely to do X than a member of group B. Racial profiling is based on the same principle. It may be immoral but it isn’t illogical.

    By the way, I have found a LJ-ist whose opinions on the case I mostly share: Sergey Hudiev. I think I have quoted him before.

  4. Well, if you have rock-solid statistics backing you up, than profiling is valid.
    If conviction statistics show in absolute numbers prevalence of black criminals, racial profiling is justified.

    Your unsubstanciated shot sounds more like shauvinistic dicrimination and bullyism.
    Typical of hypocrite Russian Orthodox Christians (if we reverse the tables for better illustration)


  5. Of course I cannot substantiate it, that’s why I did not make myself clear as to who qualifies as a menopausal old shrew. It’s but polemics.

    I was wrong about human rights groups, actually. Lev Ponomarev wrote a letter in support of Alexandra. I’m going to correct the error.

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