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Russia Needs to Be Respected for Successes in Economy, Science – Khodorkovsky

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Russian opposition figure Mikhail Khodorkovsky said that Europe needed a strategy to communicate with the Russian people as the lack of it made Russians believe that the EU sanctions target all people of the country, not the authorities.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia needs to be respected for its success in such spheres as economy and science, not military power, Russian opposition figure Mikhail Khodorkovsky said Wednesday.

"We need to be respected in the world due to our successes made in economy, science – not because of our threats," Khodorkovsky said at the Boris Nemtsov forum in Berlin.

He criticized the policy of the current Russian authorities, which from his point of view resulted in deterioration of Russian-European relations.

"The people of Russia are tired of confrontation, they are tired of the militaristic hysteria, they are tired of hearing that they are surrounded by enemies … We know that 70 percent of Russians believe that it is more important to restore a friendly equitable relationship with the world and with Europe," Khodorkovsky said.

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The opposition figure pointed out that Europe needed a strategy to communicate with the Russian people as the lack of it made Russians believe that the EU sanctions target all people of the country, not the authorities.

Arrested in Russia on October 25, 2003, former head of the Yukos oil company Khodorkovsky spent 10 years in a prison for fraud and tax evasion before being pardoned. Following his release he left the country.

In December 2015, a Russian court charged Khodorkovsky, who was then in London, in absentia for organizing the 1998 murder of Vladimir Petukhov, the mayor of the western Siberian town of Nefteyugansk. In February, Russia sent a request to the global police service, Interpol, asking for Khodorkovsky to be placed on the international wanted list.

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