News / Europe

Khodorkovsky Associate Lebedev Freed After Russian Court Ruling

FILE - Platon Lebedev walks to a courtroom in Moscow, Russia, June 3, 2011.
FILE - Platon Lebedev walks to a courtroom in Moscow, Russia, June 3, 2011.
Reuters
Former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky's business partner Platon Lebedev walked free on Friday after more than 10 years in prison, following in his better-known associate's footsteps after the Russian Supreme Court shortened his sentence.
 
Lebedev, whose arrest in 2003 foreshadowed Khodorkovsky's months later, had been the former Yukos oil company chief's co-defendant in two trials that President Vladimir Putin's critics called part of a politically charged campaign of revenge.
 
“Free!” Khodorkovsky's website said in a brief statement. “On Friday, Jan. 24 at 22:20 Moscow time, Platon Lebedev left the prison colony where he spent the last 2-1/2 of his 10-1/2 years in custody. He was met by relatives.”
 
His release three months early from a remote jail in northern Russia came a month after Khodorkovsky was freed and flown to Germany following a surprise pardon from Putin, who is seeking to improve his image before the Sochi Olympics next month.
 
The Supreme Court on Thursday shortened Lebedev's sentence to time served.
 
But it has not expunged the men's convictions for financial crimes, or a requirement that they pay 17 billion roubles ($521 million) in tax arrears, reducing the likelihood of Khodorkovsky returning to Russia and challenging Putin. It was not clear if Lebedev would be allowed to leave Russia if he wanted to.
 
Putin, who has been in power since 2000 and started a third presidential term in 2012, has sought to address international concerns over what critics see as a crackdown on opponents as he prepares to host the Olympics.
 
He authored an amnesty last month that freed two female members of the punk band Pussy Riot and dropped charges against 30 Greenpeace activists, most of them foreigners from the West, who had faced up to seven years in prison for a protest at a Russian oil rig.
 
Critics say that, far from showing that the rule of law is strong in Russia, which would help to attract investment and improve the chances of long-term prosperity, the releases only underscore how much hinges on Putin's will and whims.
 
Lebedev, 57, has dismissed the convictions as a farce and refused to seek a pardon from Putin.
 
On the website, his lawyer Vladimir Krasnov said Lebedev was with his elder daughter Lyudmila and son Mikhail, and that they were headed for Moscow by car from prison in the Arkhangelsk region, where it was about minus 19 degrees Celsius (-2 F) when he was freed.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid