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Khodorkovsky Visits 'Maidan' Protest Camp In Kyiv

Mikhail Khodorkovsky in Berlin in late December following his release from a Russian prison and quick exit to Germany
Former Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky has visited protesters on Kyiv's Independence Square, the hub of three months of Ukrainian antigovernment demonstrations and unrest.

Khordorkovsky wa once Russia's richest man and a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin before his jailing for a decade for white-collar crimes.

He visited the Ukrainian demonstrators, who continue to occupy the square despite the ousting late last month of former President Viktor Yanukovych, late on March 8.

Khodorkovsky said he came so to see what was going on in Ukraine.

Khordokovsky met so-called Maidan protesters and paid his respects where flowers are being left for the more than 90 protesters killed in February, when police clashed with protesters in the last days of Yanukovych's presidency.

Khodorkovsky is due to give a lecture that is open to the public at Kyiv's Polytechnic Institute on March 10.

Khodorkovsky's legal battles -- condemned as politically motivated by a number of Western governments and rights groups -- began after he started funding the Russian opposition.

Khodorkovsky was pardoned by President Vladimir Putin on December 20 after spending more than 10 years in prison for fraud and tax evasion. He flew immediately after his release to Berlin from his remote Russian prison near the Arctic Circle.

Khodorkovsky pleaded not guilty in his two trials.