Imprisoned tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has urged Russians to snub presidential favorite Vladimir Putin and vote for "alternative" candidates in the March 4 election.
Khodorkovsky told RFE/RL by email through his lawyer that Russians should not vote for "candidates for victory," but for those who are "rather the symbols of the possible future development" of Russia.
He added that if he could vote, he would cast his ballot for such a candidate. Khodorkovsky did not mention any names.
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former CEO of the oil giant Yukos, has been in prison since his arrest in 2003. Once Russia's richest man, he was initially charged with tax fraud and then retried and sentenced last year on charges of embezzlement.
He could be imprisoned until 2017.
Khodorkovsky maintains his innocence and says he is in jail for daring to challenge the Kremlin by becoming politically active. Amnesty International has declared him a “prisoner of conscience.”
Khodorkovsky said that even if he had been free he would not have run in the presidential election, adding, "One has to love power too much to aspire to what these posts carry with them."