MOSCOW, April 8 (RIA Novosti) - Former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky did not write the article "The Crisis of Liberalism in Russia," Deputy Minister of Justice Yuri Kalinin told journalists on Thursday.
"We have become convinced that this article was not written and signed by Mr. Khodorkovsky; it is a collective product of a group of people," Mr. Kalinin said about the results of the investigation into the article's appearance. In his words, the investigation also showed that no materials for the article had been taken out of Mr. Khodorkovsky's cell.
Mr. Kalinin added, "lawyers must have been involved in the appearance of the article. He expressed the opinion that lawyers had not written the article. "The position of lawyers on the issue is unclear - at first, they confirmed and then denied their involvement," said Mr. Kalinin.
"I do not rule it out that the leak came from Stepanov's staff," said Mr. Kalinin. He thereby made it clear that the article, The Crisis of Liberalism in Russia, had been possibly written by some "initiative group" headed by Yuri Stepanov.
Mr Kalinin explained that the law allows the administration of the pre-trial detention centre to search any person leaving the centre if there is sufficient ground to suspect that he/she is taking out materials that have nothing to do with the investigation and can hamper the probe.
"Mr. Khodorkovsky is allowed to write to his relatives, friends, deputies but his correspondence is controlled," said Mr. Kalinin. He added that the permission for correspondence depended on the investigator, and even if the investigator deems it possible, the prisoner can write books and publications.
Former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky handed over no materials for the article, The Crisis of Liberalism in Russia. This is what Mr. Khodorkovsky said in his explanatory note to the chief of the pre-trial detention centre.
"I handed over no materials written or signed by me to the newspaper. However, having read the article, I am ready to sign it," Mr. Khodorkovsky's explanatory note runs. He added that he expressed the same ideas to lawyers and investigators when he studied his case, because he deems them [the ideas] to be relevant to the charges he is faced with.
Mr. Khodorkovsky's lawyer Anton Drel apologised to the pre-trial detention centre's administration for the publication of the article that was allegedly written by Mr. Khodorkovsky.
This is said in the report of chief of the pre-trial detention centre Sergei Denisov, which followed the publication of the article.
The text of this document was circulated at a Moscow press conference on Thursday.
"I asked Mr. Drel to explain the appearance of the article in the newspaper, if he had received no manuscript from his client. Mr. Drel answered that during the meetings in the pre-trial detention centre, Mr. Khodorkovsky expressed his ideas, and they put them down and worked on them afterwards outside the centre," Mr. Denisov's report says.
According to the document, at the end of his conversation with Mr. Denisov, Mr. Drel said that in view of the article's publication, he would consult experienced lawyers to find a way out of the predicament in which Mr. Khodorkovsky's lawyers had found themselves.
"Mr. Drel said that he would not like to aggravate the relationship between the administration of the centre and Mr. Khodorkovsky's lawyers," Mr. Denisov reported in his note.
The article, The Crisis of Liberalism in Russia, allegedly written by Mr. Khodorkovsky, was published on March 29, 2004 in a Moscow-based newspaper. The article elaborates on the decline of liberalism in Russia and social responsibility of business.
Mr. Khodorkovsky is currently held in pre-trial detention centre No 4 Matrosskaya Tishina. The former Yukos CEO is facing charges on several articles of the Russian Criminal Code.