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Khodorkovsky Addresses Thousands At Kyiv Rally

A mass rally on Independence Square in Kyiv on March 9.
A mass rally on Independence Square in Kyiv on March 9.
Addressing thousands of people on Independence Square in downtown Kyiv, former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky has accused Russia of complicity in the police violence that claimed more than 100 lives during protests against Ukraine's ousted pro-Russian president.

Khodorkovsky, a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin who spent a decade behind bars before his release in December, said that force was used against the protesters last month "with the agreement of the Russian authorities."

He told the crowd, "I want you to know -- there is a completely different Russia."

In response, demonstrators chanted "Russia, wake up!"

Khodorkovsky on March 8 met with demonstrators who continue to occupy the Maidan, or Independence Square, that was for months at the center of protests despite the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych.

Khodorkovsky is due to give a lecture at a Kyiv university on March 10.

Based on televised reports and reporting by Reuters and AFP