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MOSCOW, October 24 (Itar-Tass) - Friday marks ten years since the arrest of the former co-owner of the YUKOS oil company, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. In this connection and in view of an amnesty to be declared on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Russian constitution, interest to this person has again flourished in society and among experts.
The Lavada Centre polling agency dedicated one of its opinion polls among Muscovites to this subject. Two thirds of the polled (65 percent) said they would welcome Khodorkovsky’s release.
“It is not typical of me to share popular views but in this case I am joining the majority,” Sergei Karaganov, a department dead at the Higher School of Economics and a member of the presidential human rights council, told Itar-Tass, commenting on the poll’s results.
“The court ruling must be implemented and then Khorodkovsky may be set free,” Vyacheslav Nikonov, a member of the Russian State Duma lower parliament house with the United Russia party, told Itar-Tass when asked to say what he thought about Khodorkovsky’s future lot.
As many as 32 percent of respondents said they were confident that it was up to President Vladimir Putin to decide whether to amnesty Khodrkovsky or not. Thirty-nine percent said they were sure Khodorkovky would impact the political situation in the country when released.
He is to go at large on August 25, 2014.
Over the past year, Khodorkovsky’s son, Pavel, has grown more optimistic about his father’s chances to be released when his prison term is over. In an interview with the BBC Russian Service he said, “Many things have changed in Russia. Many various things are taking place on Russia’s domestic political arena, and the authorities are preoccupied with other matters. So, I think the time is ripe now.”
He also said that if his father was finally released he would try to talk him to move to the United States, where he himself was living. He said he had not seen his father for ten years and the latter had never seen his granddaughter. Family reunion is what Khodorkovsky Jr. wants most of all. In his words, his father told him he owed much to his family and was not planning to do business any longer.
“I would like to hope that Mikhail Khodorkovsky would be set free,” human rights activist Ella Pamfilova, who leads the nationwide movement Civil Dignity, said on Thursday. “It is highly probable that he would fall under the amnesty on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Russian constitution.”
Kirill Kabanov, a member of the presidential human rights council, who took part in the elaboration of proposals for the head of state on the forthcoming amnesty, said in an interview with Itar-Tass, “In technical terms, Khodorkovsky might be set free in line with the amnesty concept worked out by the council. But it was our principled position not to politicize this document, so we mentioned no particular names.”
As for his personal position, Kabanov said he believed Khodorkovsky could be amnestied. “I think YUKOS’ former co-owner is not going to get involved in politics, the opposition now has new leaders. But he can do much good to society in the areas of education and charity. Khodorkovsky’s previous projects, such as the School of Future, have proved to be very useful for the ruling United Russia party,” he noted.