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BERLIN, December 21, 22:02 /ITAR-TASS/. Former YUKOS CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, pardoned by President Vladimir Putin this week, has reunited with his family in Berlin.
His elder son Pavel had arrived from New York and his parents from Russia. “We are together and feel very happy,” Pavel told the journalists outside Berlin’s Adlon Hotel on Saturday, December 21.
Khodorkovsky also had a two-hour meeting with German Green Party MP Marieluise Beck, who said after the conversation that in her opinion Mikhail was not going to return to Russia any time soon.
She said this issue was not on the agenda for the time being.
German politicians welcomed Khodorkovsky’s pardoning. Chancellor Angela Merkel noted that she had repeatedly called for his release and reiterated that discussions with Moscow on other disputable issues would continue.
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Khodorkovsky’s release was “good news.” He believes that Germany should continue negotiations with Russia on the rule-of-law state and human rights.
It is not known how long Khodorkovsky will stay in Germany. He may travel on to Switzerland. He is to hold a news conference in Berlin on Sunday, December 22, to speak about his plans. He will meet the media at the Berlin Wall Museum (Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie) at 13:00 local time.
Khodorkovsky was flown from St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport to Berlin on Friday, December 20, hours after he had been pardoned and released from prison after a ten-year term. At Berlin’s airport he was greeted by former German Chancellor Hans-Dietrich Genscher, who had made arrangements for his transportation with the company OBO Bettermann, which provided a plane.
“It was a humanitarian act requested by Hans-Dietrich Genscher,” a Bettermann official said, adding that Khodorkovsky would not be charged for the expenses.
OBO Bettermann is a family enterprise that employs about 3,000 people and is now building a plant in Russia to make.
Genscher thanked Putin for having met with him on two occasions to discuss Khodorkovsky’s fate and said that his efforts had enjoyed the strongest support from Merkel, former Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and German Ambassador to Russia Ulrich Brandenburg.