Medvedev vows to reopen controversial Khodorkovsky case
Muscovites went to bed on Sunday with Vladimir Putin breathing patriotic fire into the microphone in front of tens of thousands of flag-waving supporters.
But they woke up to something very different. The outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev, who stood beside Mr Putin during the victory speech, announced a surprise package of measures early yesterday. Several high-profile criminal cases would be re-examined, said Mr Medvedev, including that of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, formerly an oil tycoon and Russia's richest man. Khodorkovsky has been in jail since his arrest in 2003 and in late 2010 had his prison term extended until 2017 after a second trial.
His jailing is seen as one of the watershed events of Mr Putin's presidency. While few Russians initially had much sympathy for Khodorkovsky, many now see his incarceration as a symbol of the selective-justice system in Russia. Mr Medvedev also ordered the Justice Ministry to look into why the People's Freedom Party, an opposition group, was denied registration in the vote.
Mr Medvedev's announcement is clearly meant as an olive branch to the opposition, but there was scepticism yesterday about whether any real results would follow. As the judge was considering the sentence in Khodorkovsky's trial in late 2010, Mr Putin used a televised phone-in session to say he believed Khodorkovsky was guilty. "A thief should sit in jail," Mr Putin said.
Khodorkovsky's situation has been the subject of heated debates at the Kremlin, with some aides to Mr Medvedev privately keen to release the symbolic prisoner. But Mr Putin and a number of his key advisers have been equally adamant that there should be no amnesty for Khodorkovsky, whose Yukos empire was largely swallowed up by the state oil company Rosneft.
"Keeping Khodorkovsky... in prison today does the government far more harm," Khodorkovsky's lawyer, Yuri Schmidt, told Kommersant newspaper.
- 1 Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'
- 2 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Perez Hilton apologises for publishing Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
Jennifer Lawrence 'nude photo hacker' claims there are hundreds more celebrity images to come
Victoria Justice on naked photo leak: 'Let me nip this in the bud right now – pun intended'
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: Pictures are completely fake, say representatives
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Maths teachers requir...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Executive Assistant/Event...
£23760 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: The JobAre you a trai...