I guess that title should remain accurate for much of the discussion going on in the next days...
We can discuss both the judging (marking!!!) at those Nationals as well as the effect the placement actually has on selecting skaters for the upcoming big events...
So, what happened at the 2012-2013 Nationals?
a) They sent Kovtun (5th at Nationals) to the Europeans and not Menshov (3rd). Several russian athletes (incl. Trankov) signed a petition that Menshov should be sent. Didn't change a thing.
b) When Plushenko bailed out of Worlds, who did they send? Not Voronov (2nd), not Menshov (3rd), not Gachinski (4th), Yup, Kovtun again.
So I'm sad for the Russians for only having 1 spot, but I'd say it was mainly Plushenko's fault for not going to the HUGELY IMPORTANT EVENT where Russia gets their spots for Sochi, right after kicking everybody's behind at Europeans. He just assumed that he'd get the single spot (I'm afraid he'll be right, but...) that's why I'm so hoping for Kovtun to beat him and get the spot. Kovtun was put in a difficult position by his federation and by Plushenko last year when he wasn't ready for it. The GPs this far have shown that he can be ready - the GP Final that he isn't automatically.
I hope he makes it.
What happened at the 2011-2012 Nationals?
They gave Bazarova/Larionov an unbelievable, ridiculously massive boost in scores in what was pretty much a bad performance during their Nationals LP. Stolbova/Klimov had an amazing skate (only 2Twist) and got massively held back. Weird, it's almost as if THE RUSSIAN FS FEDERATION THOUGHT THAT THE RESULT AT NATIONALS MATTERS? lol
Stolbova/Klimov got 123.67 for this
and Bazarova/Larionov got 126.03... for... that: