Foreign investors 'do not care much about Khodorkovsky'

The pardon for Mikhail Khodorkovsky has divided experts over the economic implications of his release, while some consider it to be insignificant for the business climate; others claim that investment in Russia would increase.

Russian and foreign markets did not react much to Khodorkovsky’s release, with no obvious volatility in Russian market indices, however the MICEX did drop a few points.

Asset manager Eric Kraus believes the release of Khodorkovsky would have no impact on the business climate in Russia. He says that “foreign investors do not care about this very much”. He says it's mostly journalists who are interested in the case.

“People who are actually investing in Russia have learned to discount very deeply what they read in the press and quite frankly there has been an orchestrated campaign in the western press against Russia,” Kraus told RT.

At the same time some experts consider that release of Khodorkovsky will benefit the business climate in Russia and stimulate foreign investment.

Former Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky, left, and former Menatep head Platon Lebedev at Moscow's Khamovniki district court. (RIA Novosti / Grigoriy Sisoev)

Financial and economic analyst Ben Aris told RT that this is a positive sign for foreign investors as it means that Russia is open for business, and that there are negotiating solutions for some of the most difficult problems.

“Khodorkovsky has been a cool celeb; he personified a lot of the concerns that investors had, in particular portfolio investors in doing business and investing in Russian shares. You have to remember in Yukos's heyday in its run up between 2000 and 2003, it became virtually a tourist stock, although Russia still had very bad image in those days. Everybody poured into Yukos as a poster boy of change, and the stock ran from 20 cents up to 15 dollar in a space of the 3 years,” Aris told RT.

Aris believes, that letting Khodorkovsky out is not going to fix the problem with Russia’s perception but certainly it’s a step in a right direction.

“I think [when] the stock investors which are quite pragmatic, if not even cynical, see Khodorkovsky released, for them will be a positive signal, a step in a right direction for investing in Russia,” Ben Aris said.

Daniel Wagner, CEO at Country Risk Solutions, argues that giving a pardon to Khodorkovsky was a part of Putin’s desire to portray Russia as a good place to do business.

“If we look for example at the World Bank doing business rankings, Russia has made substantial progress between 2013 and the just released 2014 rankings, from 111 to 92, and in the 185-point scale, the lower the better in this case,” Wagner said.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.