Freed Russian Prisoner Mikhail Khodorkovsky Reunites With Family06:13
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Former Russian oil tycoon and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky (R) gives a press conference in the Berlin Wall Museum at Checkpoint Charlie on December 22, 2013 in Berlin. (Michael Kappeler/AFP/Getty Images)
Former Russian oil tycoon and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky (R) gives a press conference in the Berlin Wall Museum at Checkpoint Charlie on December 22, 2013 in Berlin. (Michael Kappeler/AFP/Getty Images)

Former oil executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky was freed after serving more than ten years in prison for fraud.

Russia's president, Vladimir Putin told reporters on Thursday that he would pardon Khodorkovsky, who was seen as Putin's biggest political rival, and whose imprisonment was seen as politically motivated.

Khodorkovsky was flown to Berlin where he was reunited with family. He gave his first press conference on Sunday and told reporters he would no longer participate in politics.

In addition to Khodorkovsky's release, both jailed members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot were released from jail under an amnesty law. The members dismissed the release as a publicity stunt ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The women were jailed in 2012 after singing a protest song in the main cathedral of Moscow.

Pavel Khodorkovsky, Mikhail's son, joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to discuss his father's release.

"I was amazed because of how well he looks, and how energetic he is," Pavel said of seeing his father. "He is literally the man I saw 10 years ago when we last spoke in Boston, and certainly didn't bow down to the 10 years of experience in a Russian jail."

While Pavel thinks the release of his father and the general amnesty were part of Putin's attempts to improve Russia's "public image," he does believe it is a start.

"This certainly doesn't look like it signifies more fundamental change in the way that the government is going to treat its citizens, but I would say this: it all has to start somewhere," Pavel said. "And my father himself said that he hopes he's not going to be the last political prisoner that was released in Russia. And there are many more. There is still a lot of work to be done."

Guest

This segment aired on December 23, 2013.

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