Putin's confrontation with West 'artificial': dissident Khodorksovsky




 
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June 18th, 2015  
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Topic: Putin's confrontation with West 'artificial': dissident Khodorksovsky


By Lesley Wroughton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin's confrontation with the West is "artificial" and aimed at protecting Russia's ruling elite and distracting attention from a corrupt system, a former Russian oil tycoon said on Wednesday. "The current confrontation with the West is absolutely artificial," Mikhail Khodorksovsky told the Atlantic Council think tank. "The cooling of relations has been inspired by those Russian elites who want to hold on to power." Speaking through a translator, Khodorksovsky, once Russia's richest man, said, "They desperately need an image of an enemy who would distract the attention of the populace from the corruption and inefficiency that exists in the power." Khodorkovsky's empire, which included now defunct Russian oil company Yukos, produced more crude than Qatar before he ran afoul of Putin and was jailed for fraud and tax evasion.




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