I wish I had enough space to reprint in its entirety Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky’s closing statement, as his latest sham trial in Russia came to an end earlier this week. I have never been so moved by the words of a businessman.
Not that Mr. Khodorkovsky is a businessman anymore. Once the most famous of the Russian oligarchs, he ran Yukos Oil, which under his leadership became the best-run, fastest-growing, most transparent company in the country — a gleaming symbol of hope for Russian industry. Mr. Khodorkovsky, however, has spent the last seven years in prison, much of that time in Siberia. Stripped of his company, which was sold off to politically connected insiders, Mr. Khodorkovsky and his business partner, Platon Lebedev, were convicted of trumped-up tax charges brought by prosecutors acting on behalf of Vladimir V. Putin, who had come to view Mr. Khodorkovsky as a threat.
With the courtroom packed with supporters, Mr. Khodorkovsky stood up in the glass cage that has kept him imprisoned even during the trial. He talked for about 15 minutes, barely mentioning the charges against him. Instead, he spoke profoundly about what his case meant for his country.