Putin Says Khodorkovsky Must Request Pardon

October 8, 2012

Celebrating his 60th birthday over the weekend, President Vladimir Putin made several dismissive comments toward his opponents and critics, and, in what may be perceived as cynical gesture, said he “would not mind” the release of political prisoner Mikhail Khodorkovsky so long as the pardon would not be “harmful to law and order.”

Speaking with state news agency Interfax, Putin commented “I do not think we should do anything harmful for law and order… If that can be done in compliance with the legal procedures, let it be so. But there are certain rules to follow.”

An appeal for pardon is a part of this procedure, the president said:

“He (Khodorkovsky) must ask for pardon. This is a way to solve the problem,” Putin said.  “If he (Khodorkovsky) asks for pardon, we will consider his appeal. We will do that amicably, not bloodthirstily.”

The demand that Khodorkovsky request pardon is a familiar ruse to many supporters of the political prisoner, and especially insulting given that his nine-year imprisonment on false charges has been deemed improper by a number of third party organizations, including the Presidential Human Rights Council.

Vadim Klyuvgant, lawyer of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, today commented on President Vladimir Putin’s statement:

“Perhaps there is a certain novelty in this lengthy, anniversary comment from the President on Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s situation.
This novelty lies in his declared absence of a “bloodthirsty attitude” , finally… After all, does this represent an acknowledgement that a “bloodthirsty attitude” once existed?

Well, this is a deeply rhetorical question…

It is impossible to ignore the amount of concern shown by the President for the strict observance of the rule of law, while attempts are made to free Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

The most important question (and also deeply rhetorical) is this: does one only remember the rule of law when the question of freedom pops up?


For example, what about the undermining of that very rule of law during the repressions of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Yukos workers and the Yukos itself?

Is this not the rule of law being undermined? There is a reason why the 9 year anniversary of Khodorkovsky’s imprisonment, who the President “doesn’t mind” seeing freed, is approaching? So perhaps it’s time for the main guarantor of the Constitution and the rule of law, who has lost his bloodlust, to start to really take care and virtually eliminate this very reason?

For example, why has the Moscow City Court not executed the decree of the President of the Supreme Court for so long? The guarantor of it all at the same time so touchingly cares about the rule of law. Somehow it is not clear…
The same applies to the pardon.

Why would the guarantor, since he is so concerned with the rule of law, not take into account that the already personally established pardon procedure is so far removed from the Constitution?

In fact it is not clear what lies behind the phrase “if he will file the petition to pardon, it would be considered quite favourably.”
There is a split with the petition too – when it comes to Khodorkovsky – without the petition, pardon is impossible, but when it comes to a spy or someone “special” – even without the petition to pardon, anything is possible.

How about the rule of law?

In general, again there is a hitch.

It turns out that what we have left to be comforted by, is merely that the “bloodthirst” has now apparently gone…

Rather weak consolation from the guarantor and the hero of the day.”

The original comment in Russian is here

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