Media playback is unsupported on your device

Putin opponent Mikhail Khodorkovsky released from jail

20 December 2013 Last updated at 14:31 GMT

The former tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been freed from jail following a decree from President Putin pardoning his former political opponent.

Officials say he was released on humanitarian grounds because his mother is ill.

Mr Khodorkovsky made a fortune in the years after the collapse of the Soviet Union and used the wealth of his Yukos oil company to enter politics.

He was jailed for tax evasion and theft after funding parties opposed to Mr Putin.

The BBC's Oleg Boldyrev reporting from Moscow said many Russians would be sceptical that he was released purely on humanitarian grounds.

Analysts say Mr Putin may be trying to ease international criticism of Russia's human rights record ahead of February's Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.