Vladimir V. Putin proved his power and control over Russia and its judicial system yet again. Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky was sentenced by Judge Viktor Danilkin to six years in prison. He had almost completed an eight year sentence to end in 2011.
Supporters of the Russian Business Tycoon protested this decision claiming Khodorkovsky was being punished for standing up to Putin. They argue that the court is being manipulated by the Kremlin. The current President Dmitri A. Medvedev has also been criticized for not bringing about fair play in the judicial system during his presidency.
But Khodorkovsky was labeled a violent criminal by Vladimir Putin. He felt that Khodorkovsky should be behind bars for much longer. There’s talk that the current Prime Minister might run again in 2012 for the Presidency. It’s been claimed that he doesn’t want Khodorkovsky out of prison before the next Presidential election.
“Damn you and your descendants!” Khodorkovsky’s mother shouted at the judge according to a New York Times article by Clifford J. Levy. His family and supporters are very unhappy with the verdict and sentence.
Khodorkovsky could only watch from behind a glass enclosure as he was sentenced. His new sentence adding six more years to his prison term that was to end in 2011. 2017 is now his new release date.
The latest case prosecutors claimed he used accounting schemes to steal $27 billion and that it was missed by auditors. The judge agreed and also gave the prosecutors their recommendation of the maximum sentence allowed. The judge said Khodorkovsky needed “isolation from society” to reform. Khodorkovsky’s attorneys called the charges politically motivated. The convicted tycoon might go back to the Siberian Penal Colony where he’s served a large portion of his original sentence.
The case has been heavily criticized by the West which included the American Government. Where the case has been viewed as having been blatantly manipulated. But the Russian Foreign Ministry has bluntly stated that other countries should mind their own business. The ministry said Khodorkovsky was punished fairly because his crimes would’ve been serious in any country.