Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs put exiled Russian tycoon and opposition leader Mikhail Khodorkovsky on its wanted list Tuesday, accusing him of spreading false information about the Russian army, Russian state news agency Tass said. The charge carries a sentence of up to five years in prison, Tass said.
A criminal case was opened against Khodorkovsky in September regarding comments he made online about payments for Russian soldiers killed in the war in Ukraine, Tass said.
Khodorkovsky already spent a decade in prison in Russia on charges widely seen as political revenge for challenging President Vladimir Putin’s rule in the early 2000s. He now lives in London and has frequently criticized Putin’s war in Ukraine on his social media accounts.
In December, Khodorkovsky said Russia is a “fully-fledged totalitarian dictatorship” and that he wants to “fight for a Russia governed by the rule of law and political pluralism.”
Khodorkovsky was previously put on Russia’s wanted list in 2015 after Russian authorities accused him of involvement in the 1998 killing of a Siberian mayor, accusations which he dismissed as a sham.
Khodorkovsky was released from jail in 2013 after being pardoned by Putin, who later said Khodorkovsky had told him he would not engage in politics. In December, Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov accused Khodorkovsky of not keeping up his end of the deal shortly after a Moscow court imposed a fine on the exiled tycoon for administrative violations.
The law against discrediting the Russian army was introduced after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has repeatedly been used by Russia’s courts to jail and silence Putin’s critics. In November, a court in St. Petersburg jailed Sasha Skochilenko, an artist and musician, for seven years for swapping supermarket price tags with antiwar messages.