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Putin to pardon oil tycoon

Friday, Dec 20, 2013 - 01:13

Dec. 20 - Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed to pardon one-time political foe and oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky in a surprise act of mercy. Julie Noce reports.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed to pardon former political opponent and oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Putin made the surprise announcement during a news conference Thursday saying Khodorkovsky had asked for a pardon in a written letter because his mother was ill. Khodorkovsky was jailed in 2003 on tax evasion and fraud charges. His imprisonment became a symbol for what critics say is the Kremlin's abuse of the courts for political ends. Political analyst say the move was Putin's attempt to silence his critics in the West- and just in time too as Russia is set to host the Winter Olympics in 2014. (SOUNDBITE) (English) POLITICAL ANALYST MARIA LIPMAN, SAYING: "At a time when he is referred to as bad, as an evil leader, as a leader of Russia which is launching a campaign of expansion, a leader who is near imperialistic, he suddenly attracts the whole world to himself as a merciful leader who can pardon." Putin also said two members of the punk rock group Pussy Riot would also be freed on amnesty.

Putin to pardon oil tycoon

Friday, Dec 20, 2013 - 01:13

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