Mikhail Khodorkovsky news conference: In quotes
- 22 December 2013
- From the section Europe
Former Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky has given his first news conference following his release from prison after 10 years.
Here is a selection of quotes from the event in Berlin, on issues ranging from President Vladimir Putin to the forthcoming Sochi Olympics.
On his release
"It was 2am when the commandant of our camp woke me up and he told me I was going home. After that, on the trip, I found out that this trip was supposed to end in Berlin."
"Mr Putin spent 10 years contemplating my release. I hope the decision he came to after such long reflection will not be seen by him as a mistake."
"Back when I was involved in big business, I realised I was involved in tough games. Of course I was given slightly tougher treatment than usual. At the same time, I have to say that my family was left untouched, in other words my family was always treated decently. And for that reason I didn't take the confrontation to heart. I took a pragmatic view of a problematic relationship and pragmatism has no place for vengeance and hatred. Those are just the rules of the game."
"I am not going to engage in any political activity, and I said that in my letter to President Putin and have reiterated it several times since. I am going to engage in public work. The struggle for power is not for me now."
"Do not see me as a symbol of Russia no longer having political prisoners. Please see me as a symbol of how the efforts of civil society can result in even people seen as hopeless cases being freed."
On imprisoned Ukrainian opposition politician Yulia Tymoshenko
"I hope that President [Viktor] Yanukovych, who frequently communicates with the president of my country, will follow his example in this matter, with the release of a political prisoner."
On returning to Russia
"At the moment, if I were to go back to Russia, I might not be allowed to leave the country again."
On future plans
"I would like to devote the rest of my active business life to repaying my debts to people who are worse off than myself - in other words, those still in prison - and to Russian society, which really needs to change a little, so that we can live a bit better in Russia."
On the Winter Olympics 2014 in Sochi
"It's a celebration of sport, something which millions of people will celebrate. Obviously, it should not become a great party for President Putin."
"I believe I have achieved what I wanted to achieve in the course of my business career."
"My financial situation doesn't require me to work just to earn some more money."