Wednesday

20th Sep 2017

Khodorkovsky: Putin fears Ukraine 'revolution'

  • Khodorkovsky has spent two days in Ukraine, making speeches and visiting hospitals (Photo: khodorkovsky.com)

Russian oligarch-turned-dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky has said the Kremlin fears the Ukrainian revolution, but warned Ukraine not to expect too much help from the West.

The 50-year-old businessman, who currently lives in Zurich after being released from prison by Russian President Vladimir Putin last December, spoke at a meeting in The Kiev State Polytechnic Museum on Monday (10 March).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He told the students that Russia is describing the overthrow of Ukraine’s former president Viktor Yanukovych as a “coup” because to call it a “revolution” would have dangerous implications for the Russian elite.

“Coups primarily take place in situations where there is a constitutional regime. But Ukraine under the Yanukovych regime, as indeed, modern Russia, can hardly be called a legal state, despite the existence of a written constitutional charter. A legal state only exists where there is real separation of powers, an independent judiciary, a handover of power in fair elections, law enforcement. It is quite obvious that nothing like this existed either in Ukraine under Viktor Yanukovych or exists in Russia under Vladimir Putin,” he said.

He noted: “The second revolution in Ukraine [after the Orange revolution in 2004] is a universal event. Its significance goes far beyond Ukraine itself, what is happening now in Ukraine may lead to a reformatting of European politics … This makes Russian government nervous, because the same scenario may be played in Russia.”

“Ukraine could become a new beacon and source of values​​, values ​​for a new Russia, which has not yet been created.”

He warned the audience they should not expect the West to intervene decisively in Ukraine’s confrontation with Russia.

“You can do it [solve the Crimean crisis] yourself. And who told you that could be an easy path?” he said.

He also warned them that one of the biggest threats to the success of the Maidan, the protest movement, is an ethnic conflict between Ukrainian- and Russian-speakers in the country.

Khodorkovsky added that Crimea, which is under occupation by Russian soldiers and pro-Russian paramilitaries ahead of a referendum on joining Russia on 16 March, is considered “a kind of Holy Land” by many Russians.

He suggested it should be granted autonomy, on the model of Scotland and the UK, or on the model of the Belgian or Swiss federations.

His speech met with noisy applause, the Ukrainian newspaper, the Kiyvpost reports. His remarks on Sunday at the Maidan itself, the main protest camp in Kiev city centre, met with a similar reaction.

He said on Sunday he blames the Russian government for the violence in Ukraine which saw more than 100 people killed and thousands injured: “I was told and shown what the authorities did here. They did it with the consent of the Russian authorities … I felt like crying. It was horrifying. It is not my government.”

He noted: “I want you to know that there is an entirely different Russia … I believe that Russia and Ukraine have a common path of European development.”

Putin redraws map of Europe

Russian leader Putin on Tuesday signed a treaty making Crimea part of Russia, shortly before the crisis claimed its first casualty.

Opinion

Putin's calculations on Crimea

Putin has miscalculated many parts of his Crimea plan, but he seems to have counted right on a weak reaction by Western powers.

Opinion

Ukraine: NGOs need EU help

EU governments should stop Ukraine from hampering the work of NGOs in revenge against their anti-corruption work.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary set for fresh campaign against public enemy Soros
  2. Iceland's PM leads in polls ahead of October elections
  3. Erdogan demands Iraqi Kurds cancel referendum
  4. Ireland to hold referendum on ownership of water
  5. Report: May to offer €20bn as Brexit bill in Florence speech
  6. Merkel poised to win election despite CDU dip in polls
  7. EU unveils cyber security ideas
  8. EU must do more to cut emissions, auditors say

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EEFour Tax Initiatives to Modernise the EU's Tax System
  2. Dialogue PlatformResponsibility in Practice: Gulen & Islamic Thought
  3. Counter BalanceHuman Rights Concerns Over EIB Loan to the Trans Anatolian Pipeline Project
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina Leads the Global Clean Energy Transition
  5. CES - Silicones EuropeFrom Baking Moulds to Oven Mitts, Silicones Are a Key Ingredient in Kitchens
  6. Martens CentreFor a New Europeanism: How to Put the Motto "Unity in Diversity" Into Practice
  7. Access MBAGet Ahead With an MBA Degree. Top MBA Event in Brussels
  8. Idealist QuarterlyIdealist Quarterly Event: Building Fearless Democracies With Gerald Hensel
  9. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Urges Bigger Global Role for Emerging Economies
  10. EU2017EEAre We Socially Insured in the Future of Work?
  11. European Jewish CongressFrench Authorities to Root Out "Societal Antisemitism" After Jewish Family Assaulted
  12. European Federation of Local Energy CompaniesClean Energy for All? On 10.10 Top-Level Speakers Present the Clean Energy Package