At the Forum 2000 Conference in Prague, an event to honor the legacy of Vaclav Havel’s struggle to liberate what was then Czechoslovakia from Soviet tyranny, warned the West against excessive sanctions against Russia. After spending 10 years in a Russian prison for “economic crimes, ” the former oil tycoon who now lives in Switzerland is not encouraging lighter sanctions to show Russia mercy. His reasoning is that isolating Russia will make Vladimir Putin more entrenched and the populous more extreme and likely to listen to him. He called sanctions a “tricky instrument” that may “play into the hands of Vladimir Putin’s government.”
Khodorkovsky recently announced a new movement called “Open Russia, ” which is designed to be an online gathering of like-minded people rather than a political party. The aim is to keep Russia engaged with the West and vice versa and to weaken support for Vladimir Putin’s nationalist agenda.