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11 Sep, 2008 04:20

Khodorkovsky: Medvedev had no other choice

The Russian President had little choice but to react the way he did after Georgia tried to use force to retake the breakaway region of South Ossetia in August, says former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Khodorkovsky, who's serving an 8-year prison term for tax evasion and fraud, told The Moscow Times that Medevedev's decision to recognise South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent countries was the only possible thing to do.

Khodorkovsky believes Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili was counting on the support of the West, and overestimated Georgia’s capacity when he embarked on a military venture without the approval of the United States.

The former businessman says he hopes Russia and the U.S. will not revert to a Cold War and work to keep relations between the two on a positive footing.  He adds that the new American administration which will come to power in January could turn a new page in U.S. relations with Russia.

The interview was the third given by the convicted former oligarch since the start of the year, following on from those conducted with British newspapers, The Financial Times and The Times. Journalists communicated with Khodorkovsky in writing through his lawyers.

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