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Khodorkovsky's Group To Support Media Startups

Exiled Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky (file photo)

A pro-democracy group founded by exiled Kremlin critic and former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky has launched a project to fund online media startups.

Open Russia said on September 29 that the goal of the project was "to create communication channels within the part of the Russian society that considers itself independent from the government's support."

Selected online media startups are to receive 30 million rubles ($470,000) each to begin their activities as of December this year.

Khodorkovsky told RBK television channel that the startups should focus on investigative journalism.

Once Russia's richest man as the chief executive of its most important oil firm, Yukos, Khodorkovsky spent 10 years in a Siberian prison on tax evasion and embezzlement charges, which he says were politically motivated.

He left Russia for Europe after Putin pardoned him in December 2013. He lives mainly in Switzerland and Britain.

With reporting by RBK
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