Tags: Mikhail Khodorkovsky | Trump | Putin | Power

Exiled Russian Opposition Leader: Trump Could Help End Putin's Hold on Power

Image: Exiled Russian Opposition Leader: Trump Could Help End Putin's Hold on Power
(AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 08 Mar 2017 10:12 AM

President Donald Trump's administration has a unique opportunity to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to give up power and enhance the forces of democratic political reform there, exiled Russian opposition leader Mikhail Khodorkovsky told The Washington Free Beacon.

What makes this chance special, he explained in an interview with Bill Gertz, is that for the first time in two decades there is an American president willing to reconsider the post-World War II order that is still the basis for the current international power structure.

This means, according to Khodorkovsky, that "if Putin leaves during this U.S. administration, he will be able to negotiate with [Trump] some of his personal achievements in foreign policy. It's unlikely that he'll be able to negotiate about those with the next administration whatever that may be."

The key, Khodorkovsky said, is for the U.S. not to push too hard, but to use a "hybrid tactic" to convince Putin to either step down or initiate democratic reforms.

Khodorkovsky said the widespread American view of an all-powerful Putin who is capable of swaying the U.S. elections is laughable and shows a lack of understanding about what is happening in Russia.

Instead, Russia has grown increasingly unstable under Putin, he warned, and it could collapse in the near future.

However, Khodorkovsky said, it is not surprising if there were contacts between Trump associates and Russian intelligence, because Putin has used as a common tactic the targeting of alternative elites around the world in influence operations.

One aspect of Trump that concerns Khodorkovsky is that he's not sure the American president is "all that interested [in Russia]. I think that today the U.S. administration's stance on Russia is to unpick the existing issues, ignore each other where possible, and cooperate on a very narrow playing field," he explained on his website.

He stressed that "the United States used to be a symbol of freedom for many countries, including Russia. A model for building their own state institutions," but if Trump retreats from the international arena to focus on domestic issues, "it would be regrettable if the United States were to reject that mission" of preaching certain values.

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President Donald Trump s administration has a unique opportunity to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to give up power and enhance the forces of democratic political reform there, exiled Russian opposition leader Mikhail Khodorkovsky...
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Trump, Putin, Power
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2017-12-08
Wednesday, 08 Mar 2017 10:12 AM
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