If Vladimir Putin wins the war in Ukraine, he could begin another with NATO, claims Russian criticMikhail Khodorkovsky.
Who is Mikhail Khodorkovsky?
Businessman-turned-philanthropist, Khodorkovsky was Russia’s richest man by the age of 40. In 2003, it is estimated his fortune was worth $15 billion, and he was ranked 16th on Forbes’ list of The World's Billionaires.
After being imprisoned for 10 years in Russia for tax evasion and fraud, which he claims was politically motivated, he is now exiled and has been living in London since 2015. Khodorkovsky is now one of Russia's most prominent dissidents. He has been described as 'the Kremlin's leading critic-in-exile' by The Economist.
What does he predict?
Speaking to the Financial Times, Khodorkovsky warns the west about being complacent in regards to the war in Ukraine. He said, through an interpreter:
If we don’t manage to deal with this plague in Ukraine, we’ll have to face it in other territories.
He believes that the Kremlin’s 'next step is going to be the air blockade of Lithuania. It will allow Russian aviation to fly right through between Russia and Kaliningrad. Then Nato will face a question of what to do.' Furthermore, he says:
If he wins now in Ukraine, he will, because of domestic problems, start a war with Nato…
However, Khodorkovsky also predicts that this road will not lead to success for Putin:
For sure, Putin is going to lose eventually... Had it not been for so many casualties, I would have said that I’m actually quite happy, because he has embarked on a route that is going to lead to his demise.
Like others before him, he anticipates a coup:
Regime change in today’s Russia can only come via force. It could be Putin’s entourage, it could be the army, or it could be society . . . This is another reason why Putin and [Belarusian dictator Alexander] Lukashenko do not dare to arm the people. [Ukraine’s Volodymyr] Zelenskyy didn’t really fear his own people and he handed out arms. If Putin hands out 40,000 AKs in Moscow, he will not be with us tomorrow.