CHITA, Russia - Imprisoned Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, in an interview with The Financial Times, said his country needs the rule of law.
Khodorkovsky spoke with the newspaper Wednesday during a break in a legal hearing in Chita, a city in Siberia. The former head of Yukos Oil, once the richest man in Russia, was in the ninth day of a hunger strike aimed at getting a former Yukos vice-president transferred to a Moscow hospital.
The government in Russia acts more lawlessly than the government in China, he said. He said he does not believe China should be a model.
"I'm convinced that Russia is a European country, it's a country with democratic traditions which more than once have been broken off during its history, but nonetheless there are traditions," he said.
While he acknowledged that President Vladimir Putin's successor will have a hard time restoring democracy, Khodorkovsky believes that Russia has opened too far to return to the closed society of the Soviet Union.
Khodorkovsky was arrested in 2003, eight years after he acquired Yukos when it was privatized. Yukos has since been sold, with most of its assets acquired by Rosneft, the state oil company.
He faces new charges, which he says are political.
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