Newly Freed Russian Tycoon Back With Family
Khodorkovsky arrives in Germany, free after a decade
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2013 9:26 AM CST
Photo provided by the website khodorkovsky.ru shows former German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, right, welcoming Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky at the airport in Berlin-Schoenefeld Friday.   (AP Photo/khodorkovsky.ru)

(Newser) – After Vladimir Putin pardoned oil tycoon and outspoken government critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky yesterday, Khodorkovsky wasted little time in getting out of Russia. He arrived in Germany and spent his first night of freedom in 10 years inside a Berlin hotel, reports the BBC. He has been reunited already with his son, Pavel, who flew there from the US. And Khodorkovsky's parents are due to arrive in Germany from Moscow soon.

Khodorkovsky has cleared up one detail about his release: He did indeed seek a pardon, citing his mother's cancer, though he continues to maintain his innocence on the tax-evasion charges that landed him in jail. It's always good news when someone unjustly imprisoned is set free, write the editors at Bloomberg View, but this move "merely confirms the arbitrary nature of the Russian justice system." For real progress, Russia has to rely on the "rule of law," not the whims of Putin.