Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Khodorkovsky gives his verdict

November 2, 2010

Some words become history years after being spoken. Others carry historic weight as soon as they are uttered. The last words spoken today by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, as his 18-month trial drew to a close, belong to the second category. The statement he read out from his bullet-proof glass cage in a packed Moscow court will be cited in history textbooks, just as the case itself will be.

Mr Khodorkovsky’s arrest in 2003 and the destruction of his Yukos oil company have changed Russian history, and continue to determine it. Today's short speech was clinically accurate in its description of where, seven years later, Russia and he have ended up.

As Mr Khodorkovsky said, the people who put him and Platon Lebedev, his business partner, in prison wanted to show that they are above the law and will always get their way. “So far, they have achieved the opposite: they turned, us, ordinary people, into symbols of a struggle against lawlessness. This is not our achievement. It is theirs.”