The jailed oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky has written in today’s Guardian newspaper arguing the Arab spring had inspired peoples everywhere including Russians. He called on voters to reject Vladimir Putin in next weekend’s Presidential elections. He also claimed that the middle class who it is said will be in a majority in ten years time will no longer accept Putin’s ‘managed democracy.’
According to The Guardian, Khodorkovsky has emerged as “a siren voice of freedom and democratic change”, though it adds for balance that he has also become a divisive figure for ordinary Russians who remember him as a billionaire oligarch.
All this may be true, but when Vladimir Putin came to power Russia which had been a superpower had just defaulted, it was also within the iron grip of a number of business men who appeared to have no other interest than amassing more wealth for themselves and it was of course ordinary Russians who suffered as a consequence.
So, if someone like Khodorkovsky appears to be a divisive figure to the not so well-heeled, they may have a point.