Mikhail Khodorkovsky was once the most powerful businessperson in Russia. Then Putin imprisoned him. Now he watches from London in rage and shame at what Putin is doing.
“I think that Biden was right in his last speech about Putin, and I was very upset that the White House bureaucrats said it was a mistake. Putin is an enemy of the U.S. as well. If he stays in power, there is no peace. You can try to be an ostrich, with your head in the sand. It is not the task of the U.S. government to remove Putin, but … until Putin leaves, we will never have a normal life. That is the opinion of a large part of Russian society.
“We must understand correctly what Biden meant. It’s not that he said what the American government should do. This was his remark to the Russian audience. It is up to the Russian people to remove Putin from that position.” Chuckling, he continued: “Putin understood this exactly as the White House understood it. So everyone understood Biden correctly.”
For Putin now, Khodorkovsky insists, even though it is not “real” that Russia is at war with either the U.S. or NATO, “it is real in his head.” That’s why “without removing Putin from power, the war will never stop.”
“Most problems between Putin and the Ukraine are not only the problem of territory, not only the problem of the Soviet Empire. The biggest problem for him is that there is a democratic country on his border,” he says, referring to Ukraine. “Democracy is a big problem for him. The next step for him is invasion of Poland or the Baltic countries...”