Russia’s closely watched trial of former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky revealed a lot more than just the business dealings of one of the country’s most powerful and prosperous men. For many Russians, the court's ruling exposed a crack in the political unity that keeps Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev comfortably in power. Is Russia's rule of law suffering manipulation by executive power?
Khodorkovsky, the former head of Russia’s Yukos oil company, was found guilty of money laundering and of stealing about 25 billion dollars of oil revenue in the years after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Vladimir Putin has gone on record as saying that the man “should sit in a jail” for the severity of his crimes. Khodorkosky’s supporters argue that the he is only guilty of angering Putin, and that the trial is politically motivated. We discuss the details and what this trial portends for the future of Russia’s political playing field with New York Times Moscow Bureau Chief Clifford Levy.