Jailed former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky criticized the U.S. White House in a new article, saying Obama's administration should abandon "realpolitik" and pressure the Kremlin on human rights.
Khodorkovsky denounced the Russian-U.S. "reset," ongoing since 2009, in the latest addition to his quickly increasing journalistic portfolio, published in U.S. Newsweek on Sunday.
He acknowledged that the reset has allowed the United States to find common ground with Russia on policy in Iran, Libya and Afghanistan, as well as facilitate a $3.5 billion share swap between Rosneft and ExxonMobil.
But in the long run, these benefits may endanger the global leadership of the United States because they undermine the integrity of the "American dream" of freedom, democracy and human rights, which remains attractive to millions of people around the world, Khodorkovsky said.
By refusing to pressure Russia on ideological issues, "America risks losing its moral capital — capital that is by no means limitless," he said, adding that "America's economic might is dependent on its moral leadership."
Khodorkovsky did not name specific causes that the United States should press Russia on, but his own case is a prime contender. He, along with his business partner Platon Lebedev, has been jailed since 2003 on economic charges that many see as revenge from Prime Minister — and presidential hopeful — Vladimir Putin for his political ambitions.
Khodorkovsky, sent to a prison in Karelia this summer, has recently become a regular contributor to The New Times magazine, writing a column about his past and present inmates.