Mikhail Khodorkovsky, formerly the richest man in Russia, now a resident of the Siberian Colony YaG-14/10 twelve miles from the Chinese border, was hospitalized this week. Mr. Khodorkovsky had been on a hunger strike, drinking water as his only nutrition. He started a hunger strike to protest his jailers' decision to put him in a single-person cell, after he was attacked by another inmate April 14.
On April 14, 22-year old prisoner Alexander Kuchma got into an argument with the former oligarch and attacked him with a shiv. Khodorkovsky suffered a deep cut on his face. No charges have been filed yet as a result of this incident. According to Russian laws, in cases involving personal injury, the victim has to press charges himself. Khodorkovsky, probably worried about his personal safety and reputation among his cellmates, has decided to drop all charges. The prisoner Kuchma received a slap on the wrist for this brutal attack - just a few days of solitary confinement.
Kuchma said that he had planned to cut out Khodorkovsky's eye, so that he would be transferred to a different penal colony section due to his conflicts with several prison inmates. Khodorkovsky is a middle-aged former billionaire intellectual and proved an easy target. The prison administration commented that Khodorkovsky got too friendly with his cell-mates and had forgotten about the real background of his fellow prisoners.
For Khodorkovsky's "personal safety" he was transferred to a single-person cell. Khodorkovsky's attorneys maintain that this is just more pressure from the prison colony administration and a convenient way to make the ex-oligarch's life a living hell. Khodorkovsky only managed to go two days without food during his hunger strike before he was placed in the infirmary.
To facilitate visits, Khodorkovsky's family has purchased an apartment in the nearby city of Krasnokamensk. The former oligarch's wife continues to visit him at the penal colony and stays in Siberia more often, due to the extremely long trip from Moscow (eleven hour flight, fourteen hours on the train, and then a one hour drive from the rail station).
Russia Blog thinks that Khodorkovsky is guilty of the financial crimes for which he was convicted, and that he should serve time in prison for what he has done. However, the man is clearly being singled out for persecution by the prison's staff. We think that this series of "unfortunate events" (beginning with Khodorkovsky being placed in solitary confinement for a petty offense) have been arranged by the prison administrators. Khodorkovsky must continually be tormented for not "sharing" with powerful people in the past, and for trying to sell 40% of the Russia's oil reserves to the Americans.