Staunton, December 10 – Yesterday, exiled Russian oligarch and opposition leader Mikhail Khodorkovsky gave an online press conference in which he said that a revolution in Russia is both “inevitable and necessary, a declaration that has attracted broad attention in the Russian segment of the Internet.
But he said a number of other important things as well, and these have been summaried by Yevgeny Babushkin in an article on the Snob.ru portal today as “The Eight Theses of Mikhail Khodorkovsky” (snob.ru/selected/entry/101920). Taken together, they form both a cri de coeur and a political program.
· On the powers that be: “The decorative role of the government is clear to all. The president and his entourage can use the means of the state without any control to buy loyalty, make war and engage in various mega-projects or simply to line their own pockets.” That pattern, he suggests, shows that Russia today has suffered “a full-scale anti-constitutional turnover.”
· On revolution: Given the lack of honest elections, “the only means of changing power is revolution … the issue is how to make this a peaceful one … Revolution is inevitable; it can and must be peaceful.”
· On the future: Russia needs new centers of growth, better transportation, contemporary infrastructure and modern industry. “All this is impossible without escaping from the isolation which the authorities have driven us in order to keep themselves in power forever.”
· On the opposition: “The Russian opposition undoubtedly must unite, but this will not be sufficient” until the dictator goes.
· On the Stockholm syndrome: As far as the love for Putin is concerned, a love which 90 percent of the population of Russia feels, then this is the kind of love that the residents of many countries in the world suffer from as do hostages seized by terrorists. This is an ordinary situation.”
· On love and politics: “Since my mother passed away in August,” Khodorkovsky says, he has “no obligations before Putin.” But he isn’t interested in getting involved in politics. “Unfortunately, the situation has assumed a form in which the professional people who are involved in politics in the opposition now cannot fulfil this function.”
· On science and Africa: Russia cannot modernize or even hold its own if it doesn’t integrate with technologically advanced countries, something the current Kremlin opposes. “The main problem in the middle distance is the loss of technological schools, the loss of cadres, the loss of science, and the loss of talented young people. Will be able to exist by selling natural resources? Yes, we will be able: there are not a few countries which live that way, most of them are in Africa.”
· On security: Despite his travails in the past, Khodorkovsky says, his “current situation seems [to him] secure.”