09/26/14

Permalink Mikhail Khodorkovsky breaks political silence, saying he would lead Russia

The former oil tycoon and adversary of president Vladimir Putin has launched a pro-European political platform from exile. The former tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who spent a decade in jail after challenging the Kremlin, says he would be ready to lead Russia if called upon. Khodorkovsky’s statement, at the launch of an online movement called Open Russia, appears to break his promise to steer clear of politics, which he made after being pardoned by president Vladimir Putin in December.

“I would not be interested in the idea of becoming president of Russia at a time when the country would be developing normally,” he was quoted as saying by Le Monde newspaper. “But if it appeared necessary to overcome the crisis and to carry out constitutional reform, the essence of which would be to redistribute presidential powers in favour of the judiciary, parliament and civil society, then I would be ready to take on this part of the task.” Open Russia is intended to unite pro-European Russians in a bid to challenge Putin’s grip on power. “A minority will be influential if it is organised,” Khodorkovsky said during a ceremony broadcast online from Paris.

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