Distorting the Truth: Behind the Magnitsky Film


The Moscow International film festival on Tuesday screened “The Magnitsky Act — Behind the Scenes.” The central premise of the film is that the U.S. was duped into sanctioning innocent Russian officials by adopting the Magnitsky Act after the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, Jamison Firestone writes for The Moscow Times:

I was Sergei’s boss and I am both a combatant and a casualty in the war between the Russian government and the truth. Since Magnitsky’s arrest almost seven years ago, a group of his friends, colleagues and human rights activists have been in an unending war with the Russian government. We investigate everyone involved both in the crimes Sergei reported and in his murder. We name them, shame them and push for their total exclusion from the West and the confiscation of every asset we can find outside Russia’s borders.

We are a small group of people standing up to the Russian government and doing the one thing that scares them the most — lobbying for laws to take away the money and international travel privileges of its kleptocrats. The war has been fought in many forums — in the courts, in parliaments, on YouTube and now the fight has expanded to the big screen…..

The more I watched, the angrier I became, particularly at the moment when Nekrasov interviewed Sergei’s mother, Natalya. She says in Russian something that clearly means “It is difficult for me to accept [deal with] the fact that Sergei was beaten just before he died and Nekrasov — fluent in both Russian and English — disingenuously translates that as “It’s difficult for me to accept he was beaten before he died” and Nekrasov chimes in “Ah! Even Magnitsky’s mother doesn’t believe he was beaten!” That was when I knew all I needed to know about Nekrasov.


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