Georgy Satarov on Mikhail Khodorkovsky: Leave him in peace (Echo of Moscow)

posted 23 Dec 2013, 08:57 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 23 Dec 2013, 08:58 ]
21 December 2013

Georgy Satarov

President of INDEM Foundation, presidential aide to B.N. Yelstin 1994 –97

Source: Echo of Moscow

Remember when everything came crashing down over Mikhail Borisovich Khodorkovsy: the tumble from the heights of power; the unfair prosecutions; the shameless robbery; slander; prison camps; provocation and assassination attempts; and separation from his family. Remember the stoicism and courage with which he bore all this. Do you not think that now, after his release, he deserves something different from our attempts to put him on a pedestal, and the preparation of arenas for him to achieve new heroic deeds? And least of all gossip. Now he deserves peace and quiet. All the rest can come later. Khodorkovsky has everything ahead of him, but that is for him to decide. The how and when of the changing circumstances that will affect his decision are unknown to us.

Let’s leave him in peace. There has been enough speculation about what has happened; and moreover without any reliable information. Undoubtedly there are things here to discuss, and which need to be discussed. But any serious analysis requires a pause for reflection and for information, and the rattling of one’s jaws over the dead body of a sensational event. And what we certainly have no right to do – lacking the experience that Khodorkovsky has himself endured – is to judge him, take a hardened line, indulge in idle gossip, or stick labels anywhere.

For my part, nothing that has been going on now can undermine my respect for Khodorkovsky and Lebedev, nor my attitude to Putin. In all that has happened there is no evidence of Putin’s “nobility”, and, moreover, no indication of weakness on the part of the prisoner of conscience who has been released. At dinner today, Masha and I will change our traditional toast, which we regularly make for the release of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev. I still do not know what the exact words will be, but to be sure, we shall simply rejoice for Mikhail Borisovich and his family.

Translated by Frances Robson