Kremlin foe Khodorkovsky 'willing to lead Russia'

21st September 2014, Comments 0 comments

Ex-tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who spent a decade in jail after opposing the Kremlin, openly stated his political ambitions on Saturday by announcing he would be ready, if called upon, to lead Russia in times of crisis.

"I would not be interested in the idea of becoming president of Russia at a time when the country would be developing normally," he was quoted as saying by Le Monde newspaper.

"But if it appeared necessary to overcome the crisis and to carry out constitutional reform, the essence of which would be to redistribute presidential powers in favour of the judiciary, parliament and civil society, then I would be ready to take on this part of the task."

The comments were made after Khodorkovsky, 51, launched an online movement to unite pro-European Russians in a bid to challenge President Vladimir Putin's grip on power.

The remarks, made at a ceremony in Paris to launch the "Open Russia" platform, appear to mark the first time the former head of defunct Yukos oil firm has publicly voiced a willingness to take on Russia' top job.

After being unexpectedly released from prison late last year and going into self-imposed exile in Switzerland, Khodorkovsky had previously said he would stay out of politics.

© 2014 AFP

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