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Khodorkovsky's Exchange Of Letters Wins Russian Literary Prize


Anastasia Khodorkovskaya (right), daughter of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, accepted the award along with Lyudmila Ulitskaya (far left) in Moscow on January 13.

Anastasia Khodorkovskaya (right), daughter of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, accepted the award along with Lyudmila Ulitskaya (far left) in Moscow on January 13.

MOSCOW -- Imprisoned former Yukos chief executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Russian novelist Lyudmila Ulitskaya have won a literary prize for their letters to each other, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The correspondence between Khodorkovsky and Ulitskaya was published in the November issue of the monthly magazine "Znamya" (Banner) and won in the category "Journalism: civic word addressed to civil society." (Excerpts also appeared on this and our Russian-language websites.)

"Znamya" editor Sergei Chuprinin told RFE/RL that the award has nothing to do with the protest actions in support of Khodorkovsky. He said the magazine's judges based their decision on the intellectual and literary value of the texts.

Chuprinin said Khodorkovsky "turned out to be a good writer" who very precisely chooses his words and metaphors. He said Ulitskaya's literary style was also highly praised.

Khodorkovsky lawyer Natalya Terekhova said the award was a complete surprise to her client and that he believes most of the credit belongs to Ulitskaya.

The award ceremony was held at the Rudomino Library in Moscow on January 13.

Khodorkovsky's award was accepted by his daughter, Anastasia, on his behalf.

"Znamya's" annual literary prize, which is supported by the Russian government, has been awarded annually since 1993. It is given for the best magazine articles.

Khodorkovsky was sentenced to an eight-year term in 2004 on charges of fraud and tax evasion while he headed the Yukos oil company. A Moscow court is currently reviewing new charges of money laundering and theft against him.

Khodorkovsky denies all the charges and, along with many human rights groups, believes they are politically motivated.
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