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The Unanswered Question of the Budraitskis-Vernik Affair

Burtsev.ru, the investigative branch of Russian weekly Left.ru, has been conducting its own inquiry into the Budraitskis-Vernik affair and preparing a report on it. While the lessons of this case are primarily political, there remains one crucial, yet unanswered question of a 'technical' nature: What passports did these people use when visiting their Western sponsors? Fake or real?

What is remarkable about the accounts and the statements of all the foreign groups affected by the stint is their complete silence on this one but potentially the most serious of all questions, at least, for the Russian Left. Yet, according to these accounts it appears that there was a substantial human traffic involved in their relations with the perpetrators of the fraud. Is it possible that in the conditions of the post-9-11 stiffened border controls the citizens of Western countries who invited these con artists from non-Westerns countries did not have basic information about their travel documents? Perhaps, they did not. Did they care to know? Probably, not.

Neither would we if it were not for the fact that the Ukrainian and, especially, the Russian CWIs have been playing leading roles in their countries' "anti-globalization movement". Suffices to say that Ilya Budraitskis figures as one of the organizers of the "Second Forum on the Future of the Russian Left," coming this November and hosted by the CPRF, Kagarlitsky's Institute of Globalization Problems, and ATTAC-Moscow, this last controlled by Budraitskis. The question of travel documents is then relevant to the question of WHO controls this movement of the broad left. If it turns out that the fraudsters not only misrepresented themselves to their sponsors but also traveled abroad under fake identities this case will have to be re-classified and may have much more serious political implications. Then the mother of all questions will be WHO provided them with fake ID's good enough to get them through Western passport controls.

We are going to address these questions publicly to the Russian and Ukrainian participants of this fraud and invite them to clear themselves of at least this kind of suspicions. But we also invite the political groups victimized by this gang, as well as all honest leftists, to help us to answer this unanswered question.

Andrey Petrov, Vadim Stolz, Marina Stolz


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