Khodorkovsky’s pardon causes market gains

Oliver Smith
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RUSSIAN stock markets gained yesterday after Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to pardon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man, after he spent more than ten years behind bars.

The move was seen as a boost for investors increasingly worried about political freedoms and Russia’s ability to reform the economy.

Russian stocks have underperformed emerging market peers as a Kremlin crackdown on political opposition raised concerns about the rule of law, a slowing economy and shoddy treatment of minority shareholders.

That has helped prompt an exit of capital but analysts say that Russia’s discount to emerging markets started to widen as Khodorkovsky was jailed in 2003.