Khodorkovsky to 'stay out of politics, be new Solzhenitsyn': analyst

MOSCOW- The freed Russian ex-tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky is likely to stay out of politics but may write about Russia in the same way as the celebrated dissident Soviet author Alexander Solzhenitsyn, a German analyst who helped in his transfer said on Saturday.
Political analyst Alexander Rahr, the author of several books on Russia, told the RTVi channel in an interview that Khodorkovsky's dramatic release Friday had been the result of "clandestine diplomacy" between Russia and Germany.

In the interview with the private international channel broadcast late Friday, he offered the first insights on what role Khodorkovsky might play following his release after 10 years in prison.
Some have seen Khodorkovsky as playing the role of a possible moral leader in the protest movement against President Vladimir Putin, whose rule the chief of the former Yukos oil giant has long criticised.
But Rahr said: "I do not think he will be involved in politics and I can almost even exclude this.
"You know what role he will have? Maybe I am exaggerating. But he could start the path of Solzhenitsyn."
Rahr recalled that the author of the "Gulag Archipelago" and other exposes of the horrors of the Soviet prison network had been forced out of the Soviet Union in 1974 and went to Germany.
He "then went to Switzerland and then America and wrote books and spoke and thought about the future and about Russia's future," Rahr noted.
The first photograph published of Khodorkovsky after his release showed him meeting former German foreign minister Hans Dietrich Genscher, who brokered the transfer, in Berlin. Rahr was the only other person in the image, smiling in the background.
Contacted by AFP, Rahr said his role in the release had been that of "translator to Mr Genscher."
In the interview with RTVi, Rahr said Khodorkovsky's release came about after "clandestine Germany diplomacy" and personal negotiations between Genscher and Putin.
"Thank God that in Germany there are still these secure... channels with Russia" which bore fruit in this situation, he added.
Rahr revealed that Khodorkovsky was released after being woken up by officers at his prison camp in Segezha in northern Russia at 2:00 am on Friday.
"The head of the camp told him that he was being allowed to go abroad and asked him if he was ready to go abroad. He agreed."
Khodorkovsky was then taken into town where a helicopter flew him to Saint Petersburg, where he changed to a private jet that had flown from Germany to pick him up, he added.
At Berlin's Schoenefeld airport, he was met by Genscher who "congratulated him on his release and then took him to the Adlon hotel by car where Mr Khodorkovky stayed and has been meeting with his relatives," said Rahr.

Monday, December 23rd 2013

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