Mikhail Khodorkovsky: The Case that Defines Russian Justice

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The case of former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky embodies the brutal reality and strange mechanics of the Russian justice system.

Yesterday marked 10 years since Khodorkovsky was arrested in October 2003. Then the head of the oil company Yukos, Khodorkovsky was tried and convicted on charges of tax evasion, fraud and embezzlement. He was set to be released from jail in 2011, but the Russian justice system found him guilty of further charges and his sentence was extended.

Khodorkovsky has long maintained that his trial and sentencing were politically motivated, serving as punishment for his vocal opposition to what he saw as corruption in the Russian government.

In a op-ed published yesterday in our partner The New York Times, Khodorkovsky continues his critique of Vladimir Putin and urges his fellow Russians to strive for a better future.

“When a regime that has unknowingly entered a stage of irreversible degeneration, and is highly reluctant to give its opponents the space for real political competition, the only hope for change lies in the success of a broad-based, peaceful protest movement," he writes.

Pavel Khodorkovsky, Mikhail’s son, tells The Takeaway that though his father is set to be released in August 2014, given the state of the Russian justice system, that date is far from certain. He examines the differences between Soviet society and Russia under the Putin regime, and echoes his father’s call for a peaceful protest movement in his home country.