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Khodorkovsky criticizes Putin at Kiev forum

Thursday - 4/24/2014, 10:59am  ET

Russian former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky speaks at a conference called Ukraine-Russia Dialogue in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, April 24, 2014. Russia’s most famous prisoner, the former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, has harshly criticized Russian president Vladimir Putin, saying he was pressuring Ukraine out of petty vengeance. Khodorkovsky, who spent 10 years in prison, spoke at the opening of a conference in Kiev devoted to fostering ties between Ukraine and Russia, despite Russia’s annexation of Crimea.(AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once Russia's most famous prisoner, has harshly criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin over the annexation of Crimea and Russian pressure against Ukraine.

Khodorkovsky, who spent 10 years in prison in a case widely seen as political revenge by Putin, opened a conference in Kiev devoted to fostering ties between Ukraine and Russia. He said Thursday that Putin was being petty and vengeful against a democratic uprising and that he and many other Russians are opposed to Putin's policies on Ukraine.

He also said "no dictator, however powerful he is, can turn us into enemies."

Participants at the conference included the most prominent Kremlin critics and thinkers. Khodorkovsky also suggested that major changes await Russia "and the wildest dreams today become reality tomorrow."

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