I am appalled by how the Guardian follows the rest of the west’s one-sided support of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, suggesting he may be innocent of the prosecutor’s charges and was sentenced to a further term in prison so as to keep him from interfering in the next Russian election in 2012 (Report, 31 December). What poppycock! Putin is quite right: “A thief belongs in jail.” And that is the problem in Russia: other oligarchs get away with it, whereas Khodorkovsky was a bit more transparent about Yukos profits, which he had stolen.
Everyone you quote, from the UK Foreign Office to supporters of Khodorkovsky, all ignore the fact that he was an embezzler, stealing Yukos profits, and laundering them into his own account to evade taxes. As for the charge of lawlessness by the defence lawyers, Judge Viktor Danilkin was actually following rule of law by carefully reading all the evidence, before finding Khodorkovsky and Lebedev guilty. An appeal will be heard, where that evidence can be challenged for accuracy. The point the defence lawyers were too scared to make was that lawlessness in Russia continues, allowing oligarchs to go free for doing the same as Khodorkovsky.
I find it especially shameful of the Foreign Office to suggest there may be problems with trade relations with Russia as a result of Khodorkovsky being found guilty. It’s high time for the west and Russia to work together to clean up corruption in general.