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Russia, Riches, and the Law45:20
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Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Photo: Voice of America
Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Photo: Voice of America

Mikhail Khodorkovsky was the richest man in Russia. Multi-billionaire. Oil-rich oligarch. No saint, but no worse a sinner, maybe, than many other Russian oligarchs.

Then he crossed Vladimir Putin. Ended up in a cage, on trial, and then in a prison in Siberia. Gilded life — gone.

Now, an American attorney is fighting to free Khodorkovsky. He says it's Russia on trial here — and whether or not a now oil-rich Kremlin believes in the rule of law.

His story is a legal thriller where losers can end up in Siberia, or dead. And the answers ripple well beyond Russia.

This hour, On Point: Russia, riches, and the law.Guests:

Robert Amsterdam, lead legal strategist in the campaign to free Mikhail Khodorkovsky, he's an attorney specializing in "cause lawyering" and property rights in emerging markets and author of a blog on global politics and business.

Christopher Stewart, contributing editor at Portfolio magazine and author of the recent profile of Robert Amsterdam, "Enemy of the State," in the magazine's August issue.

Marshall Goldman, professor of economics emeritus at Wellesley College and author of "Petrostate: Putin, Power and the New Russia."

This program aired on July 24, 2008.

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