Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s decision to order a probe into the legality of the verdict to former Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky was correct, Prime Minister and president-elect Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.
“I see nothing special about it… I think this is right,” Putin told journalists in Moscow.
The Kremlin said on Monday Medvedev ordered the Prosecutor General’s Office to probe the legality of the verdicts handed down to 32 prisoners, including Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev.
Analysts said Medvedev’s move, just a day after his mentor and ally Putin secured his third non-consecutive presidential term with a landslide 63 percent win, suggests the ruling elite wants to defuse public anger in Russia and is ready to offer concessions to the opposition.
Khodorkovsky has been in jail on charges of fraud and tax evasion since his arrest on a Siberian airport runway in 2003, which his supporters claim was punishment for funding the liberal opposition at a time when Putin was beginning to create a “power vertical.”