News Brief

Jailed Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky was placed in 12 days of solitary confinement.

The punishment came after a wide-ranging interview with the Russian edition of Esquire magazine that touched upon his religious beliefs, according to his lawyers.

The continued imprisonment of Khodorkovsky, who has Jewish roots, is the cause celebre for Russia’s liberal elite, and the interview has been the focus of much discussion in Russia’s independent media forums on the Web and on the radio.

Khodorkovsky, then-Russia’s richest man, was jailed in 2003 on charges of fraud and tax evasion. His oil company Yukos was dismantled and sold off by the state.

The interview also delved into the state of Russian politics. Khodorkovsky distanced himself from Russia’s left-liberal opposition parties and said he favored a strong state. Many believe Khodorkovsky’s political aspirations and ideas led to his arrest under as then-President Vladimir Putin sought to consolidate control over Russia’s resources and political power.

In the interview, Khodorkovsky said that until his imprisonment, he was not a complete atheist, but that his time in prison had made him more reflective.

“Almost all of us believe in something superior. It would be strange not to believe, living in this huge and inconceivable world,” the jailed tycoon said.

Khodorkovsky was denied parole in August by a Russian judge. Experts believe he will be forced to serve out all of his seven-year sentence.

NEXT STORY