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EU needs to differentiate sanctions against Russia, Mikhail Khodorkovsky tells MEPs

December 3, 2014

The EU approach to Russia needs to be “intelligent, honest and differentiated”, Russian businessman and philanthropist Mikhail Khodorkovsky said yesterday, addressing the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.  The European Union should take a “realistic view” of the country, rather than “painting it black and white”, he insisted, adding the Russian administration has many “sober-minded”, rational people who are currently “forced to submit to a will of a criminally corrupt minority”.
Khodorkovsky called on the EU to “stop applying double standards to Russia” by “forgiving Russia what you would not forgive anyone else”. He also stressed the need to “differentiate” EU sanctions, so as to prevent them hitting the whole economy and “ordinary citizens”.
In the debate, MEPs asked Khodorkovsky how the European Parliament could make a real contribution to the cause of democracy in Russia and reach civil society and citizens, given that Russian public opinion is “brainwashed” by Kremlin-controlled media and curbs on the internet.
Finally, Khodorkovsky was asked to elaborate on his view that the EU should “look for a compromise with Kremlin to avoid global war”, and also, given his stated ambition to become Russia’s next President, to explain his view that Crimea should not be returned to Ukraine.
There is no doubt that annexation of Crimea was illegal, but at the same time, the majority of Russian citizens were in favour of it. We have to balance respect for international law with the will of Russian people,” Khodorkovsky said.  (EU Neighbourhood Info
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Press release  
EU Neighbourhood Info Centre - Russia
EU Neighbourhood Barometer report - Russia (September 2014)

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