09:22 GMT +326 September 2018
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    MOSCOW, APRIL 1, RIA NOVOSTI - Business must be socially responsible, Mikhail Khodorkovsky insists in a letter circulated from pre-trial prison. Many in the Russian entrepreneurial world approve the idea of the Yukos petroleum mammoth's recent president.

    "Khodorkovsky is right: business must realise its responsibility to the public, and make certain steps, though some of them may be unpopular. He has grown to realise the point-let us now try to understand it, and offer him support," Arkadi Volsky, Russian Industrialists' and Entrepreneurs' Guild president, said in an interview the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily will carry in tomorrow's issue.

    The letter certainly came from Mikhail Khodorkovsky's own pen, stressed Mr. Volsky: "He wrote it on his own, and it took him as long as a month to do so. I received confirmation of the fact from himself through persons close to him." The Khodorkovsky message revived in Russian business circles heated debates on Big Biz relations with the regime and the public.

    The topic demands a declaration or memorandum drawn on it, Elena Nikolayeva, chief executive of the Business Russia, nongovernment organisation of medium-scale business, said to Novosti today.

    "It ought to be a tripartite contract, with every Party's rights and duties precisely defined," she deems.

    "The government is drawing some kind of national report. I have heard of it on several occasions-but no one has ever told me just who was making the draft," pointed out Miss Nikolayeva, who thinks spokesmen of the entrepreneurial world must join the team.

    "This will be a necessary document, as I see it. We must have the rules of the game precisely brought forward," said another of our interviewees on the matter-Sergei Borisov, president of Russia's Pillar, small business nongovernment organisation.

    Alexei Kudrin, federal Finance Minister, agrees that Big Biz ought to shoulder its share of responsibility for social affairs in its country. He said so while commenting the Khodorkovsky message today.

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