Putin Foe Released From Prison, Goes to Germany

After a decade in prison, the former oil tycoon was abruptly pardoned

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Stanislav Krasilnikov / Itar-Tass / Abaca

Former Yukos chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky looks from the sealed glass dock as the verdict being read out at the Khamovniki District Court in Moscow in 2010.

Updated Dec. 20, 11:14 a.m.

A Russian oil tycoon and political foe of President Vladimir Putin was released from prison on Friday after Putin signed a decree that pardoned him.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, 50, had spent the past decade in prison after being convicted of tax evasion and embezzlement. Once Russia’s richest man, he was a fierce Kremlin critic and an influential political opponent to Putin. Shortly after his release, state media reported that he was en route to Germany, and just hours later a German company said he had arrived there, the Associated Press reports.

“I would like to thank everyone who has been following the… case all these years for the support you provided to me, my family and all those who were unjustly convicted and continue to be persecuted,” he said in a statement. “I am very much looking forward to the minute when I will be able to hug my close ones and personally shake hands with all my friends and associates.”

Khodorkovsky said he asked Putin on Nov. 12 to pardon him for family circumstances and that “the issue of guilt was not raised.”

“I am constantly thinking of those who continue to remain imprisoned,” Khodorkovsky added.

At a news conference on Dec. 19, Putin announced that the former oligarch would be freed: “He has already spent more than ten years in prison. That is a serious punishment. In the near future, a decree will be signed to pardon him.”

That “near future” appeared to be the very next day. After being quietly escorted from the prison in northwestern Russia, he reportedly flew to Germany to visit his ailing mother, Marina Khodorkovskaya. “It has not sunk in yet,” she told Russian state television.

The abrupt pardoning of Khodorkovsky — in addition to the amnesty announced for other high-profile prisoners, like the two jailed musicians of Pussy Riot and a group of Greenpeace protesters — might be a sign of Putin trying to quell international criticism of the country’s record on human rights in the walk-up to the Sochi Winter Olympics in February.

MORE: Khodorkovsky’s Pardon Is Another Sign Russia Is Winning

17 comments
rickrick
rickrick

I wonder if Vladimir is aware what his name means in English? 

CrossWinds
CrossWinds

Ezekiel 38 ..........

38 This is another message that came to me from the Lord: 2 “Son of man, turn and face Gog of the land of Magog, the prince who rules over the nations of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him. 3 Give him this message from the Sovereign Lord: Gog, I am your enemy! 4 I will turn you around and put hooks in your jaws to lead you out with your whole army—your horses and charioteers in full armor and a great horde armed with shields and swords. 5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya will join you, too, with all their weapons. 6 Gomer and all its armies will also join you, along with the armies of Beth-togarmah from the distant north, and many others.

7 “Get ready; be prepared! Keep all the armies around you mobilized, and take command of them. 8 A long time from now you will be called into action. In the distant future you will swoop down on the land of Israel, which will be enjoying peace after recovering from war and after its people have returned from many lands to the mountains of Israel. 9 You and all your allies—a vast and awesome army—will roll down on them like a storm and cover the land like a cloud.

10 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: At that time evil thoughts will come to your mind, and you will devise a wicked scheme. 11 You will say, ‘Israel is an unprotected land filled with unwalled villages! I will march against her and destroy these people who live in such confidence! 12 I will go to those formerly desolate cities that are now filled with people who have returned from exile in many nations..........

Ezekiel 39:1-5..........

39 “Son of man, prophesy against Gog. Give him this message from the Sovereign Lord: I am your enemy, O Gog, ruler of the nations of Meshech and Tubal. 2 I will turn you around and drive you toward the mountains of Israel, bringing you from the distant north. 3 I will knock the bow from your left hand and the arrows from your right hand, and I will leave you helpless. 4 You and your army and your allies will all die on the mountains. I will feed you to the vultures and wild animals. 5 You will fall in the open fields, for I have spoken, says the Sovereign Lord.


ChandraPanchabhikesan
ChandraPanchabhikesan

Releasing Khodorkovsky is a master stroke by Putin. Does this augur well for others under detention? Does this signal a sea-change in Russian policy towads dissidents? Does this fit with Putin's new grand plan of ruling Russia with an iron fist and flexibility? Or does he have a trick under his sleeve?


Pancha Chandra Brussels

larz2500
larz2500

Please, don't go to Germany.  You would feel much more welcomed in Israel.

RedEyedTreeFrog
RedEyedTreeFrog

Did Putin release Khodorkovsky to remove a talking point from RINO Arizona Sen. John McCain's Ukraine speeches with his buddy Connecticut Democrat Senator Chris Murphy?  McCain was at ease talking to the poor Ukrainians who it is said, were pd by Jews to push their President to hook country to EU headed for OneWorldGovernment.  Putin also gave Ukrainians $$$ which will likely enable the poor marchers to drop the picketsigns and live better...  free.  Obviously McCain is going after Putin through the Ukraine, at the direction of Obammmma's Controllers - the NeoconZionistCommies.  Putin is Commie but anti-NeoconZionistCommies.  Anybody ask the RINO-In-Chief why he is running around the woild on taxpayers $ to tell other countries how to govern themselves while he refuses to fulfill the obligations of his Oath of Office in the USA?  Why does he welcome invaders to flood the USA instead of protecting our Sovereign Borders?  It has been mentioned quite a while ago that the RINO's mommie is of jewish descent.  Is that true?  Would explain his unseen connections and support.  Feel free to talk, you who know.

j45ashton
j45ashton

Khodorkovsky just has to watch out no one poisons him.  Russia itself has come a long way in 15 years.  Parts of Moscow have come back to life with many great retail businesses & restaurants.  But the old stiff necked mentality still exists among people like Putin.  So backward & hostilely competitive.  Even though the Chinese government is still communist and far, far from any perfect model, it is still light years ahead of Russian leadership....which somehow acts like the cold war never ended.

ShaunMacNeil
ShaunMacNeil

The only reason he was jailed in the first place was because Putin thought Khodorkovsky's billions would look a whole lot better if they were moved to his own account.  It's a very smart move to get out of Dodge while he still had the chance.  Putin is not a man to be trusted.  Eventually Khodorkovsky will tell his side of the story (forthcoming book?).  It'll be interesting to see how much money he was left with after Putin's brazen and public larceny.

CliffordSpencer
CliffordSpencer

Vladimir Putin, Bush's golfing comrade, also demanded the release of Viktor Bout!

He was a Russian dealer!

  He tried to sell arms to Colombian outlaws!

  They wanted to murder American pilots!

  The FBI nabbed him!

  Is Russia selling arms to Mexican bandits?

  Is Vladimir Putin a good guy?

 

RicardoRivera
RicardoRivera

I wonder how much he had to pay Putin! What 1billion, 2billion, 3billion?

bojimbo26
bojimbo26

A leopard doesn't change its spots overnight .

CherieMar
CherieMar

@ShaunMacNeil  

Not fully agree. In Russia there are many people with billions of dollars on their accounts, why him? Why
Khodorkovsky? This story has a lot more into it. Putin is a man who can't stand any type of criticism from opposition. He is very cruel and vindictive politician.

CherieMar
CherieMar

@bojimbo26  

of course nothing will be changed... but Olympic Games are just month and a half away and political leaders, one after another, refuse to visit Russia during Games for some "unknown" reason. So Russian President made a very smart move - he freed Khodorkovsky to demonstrate that Russia is not a police state. After the Olympic Games everything will be just the same I am afraid.

ido.somecoding
ido.somecoding

@CherieMar @bojimbo26  What they're not telling you here is that Mr. Khodorkovsky was really only imprisoned for opposing Putin. Prosecution witnesses were tortured and blackmailed to testify against Khodorkovsky falsely. I wouldn't be surprised if he had an "accident" some time in the future.