The former Russian oligarch and arch political enemy of Vladimir Putin, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, has landed in Germany after taking a private jet out of Russia.
Minutes after receiving a surprise presidential pardon the former boss of Yukos Oil and once Russia’s richest man was on his way, reportedly to see his parents. His elderly mother is being treated for cancer in Germany and is reportedly in poor health. Kodorkovsky’s wife lives in Switzerland.
“None of us can judge these releases in the end. there’s obviously a time factor involved. I don’t want to belittle it, the fact people are now being released is a good signal. I say we should use them to have further discussions with Russia about legal processes and the protection of human rights,” said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
The sudden nature of the pardon and liberation caught everyone by surprise, none more so than Khodorkovsky’s parents.
“The last we heard he was released, he is free,” said father Boris when phoned by a journalist. “We’re just waiting, and we know nothing about any appeal.”
The Kremlin says the pardon was in response to an appeal for clemency, but Khodorkovsky’s lawyers deny this. The press in
Russia is already wondering if a deal has been done with Vladimir Putin.