RIA Novosti: Nearly Half of Russians Approve Khodorkovsky Pardon

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

MOSCOW, December 26 (RIA Novosti) ­ Almost half of Russians support their president’s decision to pardon jailed former tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, an independent pollster said on Thursday.

Levada Center said 14 percent of respondents said they “definitely approve of” the move, while 33 percent said they “mostly approve of” it.

Only five percent said they had a “definitely negative” opinion about the decision and nine percent were “mostly negative.” A total of 40 percent said they had no answer.

A third of Russians (33 percent) said they had never heard about the pardon for Khodorkovsky before.

The majority of respondents (55 percent) agreed with the official explanation that Khodorkovsky appealed for the pardon himself, seven percent disagreed with it and 38 percent had no answer.

A third of Russians believe the tycoon’s decision to appeal for pardon shows that he had admitted his guilt, while 24 percent disagreed with the statement, and 43 percent were undecided.

The survey was conducted on December 20-24 and involved over 1,600 respondents. The margin of error was below 3.4 percent.