Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky landed in Berlin Friday hours after a pardon signed by Vladimir Putin released him from ten years in jail. He headed out of his last place of imprisonment in the town of Segezha in Karelia in NW Russia straight for the airport. During that decade, the government dismantled his company Yukos Oil and continued to press criminal charges against him. Khodorkovsky was one of the first immensely wealthy businessmen known as oligarchs to be thrown up in the new Russia of the 1990s and to later seek political influence.
Next month, Putin plays host to the Winter Olympics at the Black Sea resort of Sochi, and appears to be making an effort to improve his human rights image in the West.