Khodorkovsky to Stay Away from Politics

World | December 22, 2013, Sunday // 13:36|  views

Russian ex oil tycoon and ex prisoner, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, photo

Russian ex-tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was just pardoned by President Vladimir Putin and freed from a decade in jail, says he will not enter politics.

Khodorkovsky, 50, also told Russia's New Times magazine, cited by the BBC, that he did not intend to fight for the return of assets from his disbanded oil company, Yukos, as there were no conditions attached to his pardon by President Putin.

Plans for the pardon were first announced by Putin Thursday, among other topics discussed at a major press conference that lasted for over 4 hours.

In the aftermath, Khodorkovsky confirmed he had asked the Russian President for a pardon due to "family circumstances" on grounds his mother is suffering from cancer, while Putin cited "the principles of humanity" as his motives.

On Friday, Khodorkovsky, who never admitted any quilt, left the penal colony in the Karelia region of northwestern Russia. He was also granted an international passport on his own request. After that the ex-tycoon took a flight to Germany.

The German Foreign Ministry later confirmed that Khodorkovsky had landed at Schoenefeld airport in Berlin on a flight from St Petersburg.

The German embassy in Moscow had facilitated his departure from Russia with the active intervention of former German foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, who greeted in person the ex-inmate upon his arrival at the Berlin airport.

Khodorkovsky acknowledged Sunday that his departure from Russia was stage-managed.

"If someone wanted to make a movie about the 1970s and a deportation of a dissident you could not have done it better," he is quoted in saying by the BBC.

The ex oil tycoon has explained that while he had not been forced to leave Russia, "we can absolutely clearly understand that they suggested I leave the country."

He has now been reunited with his son and his parents, and said he would not return to his homeland until he was certain he could leave again at any time for family reasons.

Khodorkovsky will make a statement to the media from Berlin later on Sunday.

The former head of the now defunct oil giant, Yukos, was once Russia's richest man and had used his wealth to fund opposition parties.

His sentence was to end in August, after the term was reduced to 10 years and 10 months.

The businessman, together with business partner Platon Lebedev, was held in prison after being convicted to tax evasion and embezzlement.

According to German political scientists, the decision to pardon Khodorkovsky will probably soften the tone of Western politicians to Moscow. It is also seen as a PR move on the part of Putin as many world leaders said they will not travel to Sochi for the upcoming Winter Olympics and will shun the Games.

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Tags: Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Platon Lebedev, Russian, Vladimir Putin, pardon, Germany, Berlin, oil giant, Yukos, Hans-Dietrich Genscher


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