Russia on brink of stagnation – Khodorkovsky

Mikhail Khodorkovsky (RIA Novosti / Andrey Stenin)
Jailed tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky predicts an era of stagnation in Russia which will be followed by a political crisis and then a change of power - “hopefully, a bloodless one.”

The former Yukos CEO believes that Vladimir Putin, who plans to run for the presidency in 2012, will neither leave power, nor find a successor.

“There is no authority figure in the country who would be able to provide Putin with secure guarantees,” Khodorkovsky said, responding to readers’ questions on the website of Ekho Moskvy radio station.    

“The liberal opposition's task is to protect freedom values and human rights in the years of stagnation and ease the consequences of revolution,” he said, adding that the opposition should become “an active and constructive part of the post-revolutionary coalition.

Khodorkovsky believes that Russia does have a chance of productive development. However, it is only possible if the nation's political, business and intellectual elite stop considering Russia as merely a money mill and realize that their interests depend on the development of the country.

Once Russia's richest man, Khodorkovsky is now serving a 13-year prison sentence for tax evasion, fraud and money-laundering. He passed his answers to Ekho Moskvy website readers through his lawyers.