Moscow, August 17, Interfax - Mikhail Khodorkovsky, ex-head of the defunct oil company Yukos, said politics stand behind the Pussy Riot punk singers' trial and that acquittal would be a fair outcome.
"I think, acquittal would be the only fair outcome of the Pussy Riot trial," the jailed businessman said in an interview with the Zuddeutsche Zeitung magazine, posted on his and his business partner Platon Lebedev's website on Friday.
"I think Church would have handled their escapade in a much quieter manner, but for the text of the punk prayer. The text was anti-Putin and the church hierarchs are apparently fearful of losing close ties with those in power. So, the prosecution is definitely politically motivated," Khodorkovsky said.
"The goal is to teach a lesson to the regime critics. At least, this is the way the whole thing looks like, whichever motives Putin may have had initially. No doubt, the command arrived from above," he said.
"Of course, the women's conduct was unthinkably offensive. However, a negative ethical assessment does not mean the offence was a crime. Moreover, ethical views vary. The reported presence of a car wash, banquette rooms and stores in the same church may hurt someone's feelings, just as well," Khodorkovsky said.