Former Russian oil tycoon, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, has been reunited with his family his Berlin after being released from prison on Friday.
He had spent over ten years in jail and was unexpectedly pardoned by President Vladimir Putin.
Speaking to the press in Germany, Pavel Khodorkovsky said: “I’m thrilled to be here in Berlin, in Germany today because my father is free. My family is finally reunited and we’re very, very happy to be together after ten years of separation.”
The news of Khodorkovsky’s pardoning and departure to Germany has been met with mixed feelings by Russians.
One Muscovite resident asked: “Where else would he go? There’s no place for him in Russia anymore and he won’t be able to live a normal life.”
Many people believe that Putin’s decision to pardon the former oil tycoon is a sign that he is confident in his position as President of Russia.
Former Russian Prime Minister, Mikhail Kaysyanov explained “that under Putin’s regime Khodorkovsky won’t run in the elections but who knows in the future because he’s still a young man, just 50, with his whole life ahead of him and hasn’t disappeared from public life.”
The release of Khodorkovsky may soften criticism from inside and outside Russia against the Putin government’s human rights record in the run-up to the Sochi Olympics.