Interfax: Comparing Khodorkovsky with Solzhenitsyn is inappropriate – top Russian senator

Alexander Solzhenitsyn file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 24 (Interfax) – Valentina Matviyenko, speaker of the Federation Council, the upper chamber of Russia’s parliament, has advised against comparing former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was pardoned by the Russian president on December 20 and flew to Berlin immediately after his release from prison, with Soviet writer and dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn, whom Matviyenko described as a prominent public figure.

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

“Solzhenitsyn was a person who did a great deal without politicizing the situation. He was a true fighter for human rights, freedom and equality. Solzhenitsyn was a great patriot of his Motherland. He was recognized by all people. And comparing Khodorkovsky with Solzhenitsyn is inappropriate and impolite,” she told reporters.

The Federation Council speaker also criticized attempts to guess what Khodorkovsky is going to do next. “He [Khodorkovsky] is quite an educated person. He did a lot of rethinking over the ten years that he spent in prison. He will make his own choice concerning his future,” she said.

“Time is the best doctor,” Matviyenko said. When speaking about punk group Pussy Riot performers Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who were released under the latest amnesty and announced their plans to defend the rights of prison inmates, Matviyenko said that the girls are free to do whatever they please.

“They [Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina] have every right to choose any area of work. But I hope that their activities will strictly abide by the law,” she said.