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Khodorkovsky Says No Plans to Return to Russia

Published: December 23, 2013 (Issue # 1791)



  • President Vladimir Putin at the news conference on Sunday.
    Photo: kremlin.ru

Former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was released Dec. 20 after a presidential decree ended his 10 years of imprisonment, said from Germany on Sunday that he would not return home for fear of being unable to leave again.

Khodorkovsky, whose release was reportedly facilitated by former German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher during two years of talks with President Vladimir Putin, gave his first two news conferences in the Wall Museum in Berlin on Sunday.

Khodorkovsky’s appearance — just days after Putin shocked observers worldwide by unexpectedly announcing that the former Yukos CEO had appealed for pardon and would receive it “in the nearest future” — triggered a frenzy among journalists anxious to speak with him.

Putin’s announcement on Dec. 19 of Khodorkovsky’s imminent freedom came as a surprise even to the prisoner’s own lawyers, who said at the time that they had not heard anything about an appeal.

On Dec. 20, Putin signed the order pardoning Khodorkovsky and it immediately went into effect, freeing Khodorkovsky from the Segezha prison, located 1,200 kilometers northwest of Moscow.

The first news conference on Sunday was held for a small group of journalists and was not broadcasted live, while the second one was attended by dozens of journalists from various countries and was shown in Russia by Dozhd television.

The broadcast showed Khodorkovsky, dressed in a business suit, squeezing his way through a crowd of photographers with the help of two security guards.

Khodorkovsky looked confused throughout the 40-minute news conference, speaking timidly, softly and with deliberation.

Khodorkovsky, who was granted a one-year German visa, told journalists that he would not return home unless a Russian court overturned a ruling ordering him and his business partner Platon Lebedev to pay $550 million as part of their first conviction on fraud, embezzlement and tax evasion charges in 2005.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Apr. 23


Problems facing the elderly are in the spotlight at Senior Generation 2014, an international forum at LenExpo beginning today that focuses on drawing attention to and providing information about some of society’s most vulnerable members. An exhibition combined with a trade fair will help those interested be better equipped to help this demographic.



Thursday, Apr. 24


Learn more about Denmark during the Danish Business Delegation’s visit to SPIBA this evening starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Danish Culture Institute. Danish Consul general Klaus Sorensen will be in attendance and the buffet following a presentation on Danish companies in Russia will be the perfect opportunity to network with the assembled businessmen.


AmCham’s Human Resources Committee Meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. this morning in their St. Petersburg office. Check their website for more details.



Friday, Apr. 25


Light Music presents the main events for their Cultural Kitchen project at Loft-Project Etagi today. A B2B event that focuses on Finnish food, arts, travel, music and design, the evening will conclude with a dinner by chef Jyrki Tsutsunen and dancing to music by Aino Venna. The event, which began yesterday with presentations by tourism and cultural institutions, concludes today with a preview of Finland’s Flow festival and other musical events. Invitations are available from www.culturalkitchen.fi.



Saturday, Apr. 26


At 6 p.m. this evening, stylist Liliana Modigliani offers 50 simple ways to up your style quotient with beauty tips at the Galeria shopping center on Ligovsky Prospekt. The event is part of the final day of the shopping mall’s Fashion Saturday sales event, this week focusing on top brands located on the ground floor as well as presentation from fashion experts on sprucing up your spring look.



Sunday, Apr. 27


Families shouldn’t miss Childhood Planet 2014, the trade fair that started yesterday and concludes today at LenExpo. Not only will goods and services be provided for children and families but the event hopes to promote Russian brands and eco-friendly products using the latest technology available in the childcare industry.



Monday, Apr. 28


The Hotel Indigo will be the site of SPIBA’s Acting Skills for HR and Other Managers master class this morning starting at 9 a.m. The event will begin with coffee before moving on to the class itself and conclude with a tour of the recently opened hotel. Confirm attendance by Apr. 24.



Tuesday, Apr. 29


Improve your English at the British Book Center’s Interactive English Lesson tonight at 6 p.m. Students at pre-intermediate and intermediate levels are welcome discuss topics that are selected to help learners master the more difficult aspects of English grammar and vocabulary.