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Jailed Tycoon Calls For Left Turn In Russian Politics

Mikhail Khodorkovskii shown during his trial (file photo) 1 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Jailed Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovskii urges for the country's fragmented liberals to unite and to bring about a "left turn" in Russian politics.

Khodorkovskii, founder of the oil company Yukos, was sentenced in May to nine years in prison on tax-evasion and fraud charges after a trial perceived to be Kremlin-orchestrated.

In an article published in the business daily "Vedomosti," Khodorkovskii said: "It's time for liberals to decide whether to join a wide social-democratic coalition or remain part of a grudging and politically useless fringe."

Khodorkovskii wrote that Russian President Vladimir Putin should leave office in 2008 at the end of his second term, as called for under the constitution.

He added that a move to the political left will win votes from the majority of Russians who feel they lost out in the rush to switch to capitalism.