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article imageKhodorkovsky verdict postponed, politically charged

By Sara Star     Dec 15, 2010 in Politics
Moscow - Today, Russia was about to face one of the biggest judgments on the Putin-Medvedev leadership; the verdict of the legal case against Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
BBC reports: Mr Khodorkovsky challenged the very foundations of the oligarchic system, the symbiosis of power and wealth that makes Russia what it is now...Many believe that the outcome of the trial will foretell the result of the next presidential election in 2012.
When journalists showed up at the court house today, they saw only a single page posted on the door, indicating that the verdict was postponed until December 27.
(AFP video here)
According to Business Insider, Mikhail Khodorkovsky who was once the richest man in Russia and CEO of giant Russian oil company Yukos, worth more than $15 billion. In 2003, after funding political parties that opposed Vladimir Putin, Khodorkovsky was charged and convicted on tax-related charges. The assets of his company were frozen, forcing bankruptcy. Assets were sold of at low prices, most of it went to government owned oil companies.
PM Vladimir Putin had been likened to an African plutocrat, reported by The Telegraph, after a political scientist claimed that Putin had acquired control of £20 billion in energy assets - enough to make him Europe's richest man. Putin calls the claims "trash".
But will Khodorkovsky follow in the same footsteps as ex-African leader Nelson Mandela?
According to The Guardian, Khodorkovsky's second verdict can keep him in prison until 2017, long after the 2012 elections: Supporters argue that the second trial, which could see him jailed until 2017, was designed to keep him in prison throughout the election period. His current sentence runs out in October 2011.
Khodorkovsky has also been compared with Julian Assange in The Guardian, and by DJ.
Whatever the verdict, in his court speech, Khodorkovsky writes it ”is going to become part of the history of Russia. Furthermore, it is going to form it for the future generation. All the names – those of the prosecutors, and of the judges – will remain in history, just like they have remained in history after the infamous Soviet trials.”
Khodorkovsky goes on to say he is proud of the fact that after all these years, not a single employee has become a false witness. They have not sold their “souls and conscience.” People have still kept the most important thing - human dignity.
He goes on to say: Those who started this shameful case, – Biryukov, Karimov and others, – have contemptuously called us “entrepreneurs”, regarding us as low-lifes, capable of anything just to protect our prosperity and avoid prison.
The years have passed. So who are the low-lifes now? Who is it that have lied, tortured, and taken hostages, all for the sake of money and out of cowardice before their bosses?
He admitted a deep shame for his country: "A state that destroys its best companies, which are ready to become global champions, a country that holds its own citizens in contempt, trusting only the bureaucracy and the special services, is a sick state," Khodorkovsky told the court.
Medvedev, a former lawyer, pledged to modernise and democratise the country. Critics say, in practice, he has done little to suggest that he operates independently of PM Putin.
More about Mikhail khodorkovsky, Khodorkovsky trial, Vladimir putin, Dmitry medvedev, Yukos
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