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Khodorkovsky Launches His First Book

Khodorkovsky's new book Alexander Zemlianichenko

Jailed former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, sentenced last month to six more years, has released his first book to applause from well-known authors, who said many stores would be too scared to stock it.

The book, "Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Articles. Discussions. Interviews," contains observations on life, Russia and what has happened to Khodorkovsky since his arrest in 2003. It carries a cover photograph of the bespectacled Khodorkovsky sitting behind bars with a wry smile.

"He is no longer the man who was arrested. He has gone through amazing inner changes in these years," said novelist Lyudmila Ulitskaya, who attended the book launch alongside Khodorkovsky's parents late last week.

"Not all bookshops will be eager to take it, and some are even scared," she said of the book, which is published by leading local publishing house Eksmo.

Khodorkovsky was sentenced at the end of last year to stay in prison until late 2017 after what his supporters described as a politically charged theft and money-laundering trial. U.S. and European officials have sharply criticized the decision.

The sentence has stoked accusations of selective justice, and many analysts see the case as a political vendetta against an adversary of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

President Dmitry Medvedev lashed out on Thursday at suggestions that he should somehow intervene.

"It boggles the mind! We will never be a law-abiding state if the president … must put pressure on a court," Medvedev told a Public Chamber meeting.

Popular television show host and reporter Leonid Parfyonov said Khodorkovsky's trial had become a key event in modern Russia's history.

"It is a huge indicator of all social and political processes in this country," he said at the book launch.

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