Author: Aleksei Gorbachov

(By Aleksei Gorbachov. Nezavisimaya gazeta, Nov. 29, 2016, p. 4. Condensed text:) Editors’ Note. - The ex-head of Yukos says in an interview with Nezavisimaya gazeta that he has not broken any agreements with [Russian President] Vladimir Putin.

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Question. - Mikhail Borisovich [Khodorkovsky], the activity of the Open Russia movement, which you lead, is based on the prospect of President Vladimir Putin leaving [office]. Are you really so sure that Putin’s regime will fall of its own accord? Can you explain what facts support that scenario?

Answer. - I believe that Putin is a man of common sense and is well aware that either he leaves, or everything will end badly for him and for the country. I think that when he decided to take two [more] six-year terms [by amending the Russian Constitution - Trans.], he determined precisely that if he set exactly these dates, he would leave in 2024. Although I could envision a scenario where he would change that decision, I don’t want to say that publicly just now.

Q. - You are personally acquainted with many members of the current Russian government, and certainly maintain contact with some of them. Based on your communication with them, how unanimous do the elite seem in terms of supporting the regime? Or is there trouble in paradise, so to speak?

A. - Our elite are always ready to stab each other in the back. Like all normal people, they are always making choices between profit and risk. At this point, the profit they might gain from revolting against the regime is not that great, and the risks they would incur are enormous. So they can only grumble under their breath. But I predict that between 2017 and 2024, there will be a crisis of dual loyalty, when people realize that due to his age, Putin ...

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