Ex Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has arrived in Berlin, as debate rages over the reasons behind his release from prison.
He was met by former German foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher on his arrival in the country – fresh from being given a presidential pardon by Vladimir Putin.
Khodorkovsky was jailed for a decade after posing a challenge to Putin and his release has come as a surprise to many.
“A lot of people predicted that these two men (Putin and Khodorkovsky) would never make peace. And such an unexpected act of pardon is of course a big joy,” said Lyudmila Alexeyeva, from the Helsinki Human Rights Group.
Khodorkovsky was freed from jail out of “principles of humanity” according to Putin – because his mother was ill. But some say it is about much more than that.
“It was possible even to let him go even earlier, because it’s so easy. You do not need the court and the rule of law here looks, it’s a rule of personality and the leader, not of the court and the legal system,” Dalia Grybauskayte, President of Lithuania, told euronews in Brussels.
“And that another message probably that it is preparation for the Sochi Olympics because the hostile reaction towards the human rights in Russia, making and influencing some member states and some countries to make a decision to lower the level of the participation, political participation.”
After flying into Germany and possibly into exile, Khodorkovsky released a statement -saying he had sought a pardon and had not admitted guilt.