Mikhail Khodorkovsky was the richest man in Russia when he was arrested in November 2003. He was imprisoned for ten years before Putin pardoned the former head of the Yukos oil company. The Kremlin has recently put a bounty on his head.

Khodorkovsky knows Vladimir Putin from the past and describes three scenarios for the “ Tagesspiegel ” of how the war could end. “The worst: the West tires and stops supporting Ukraine. Putin gears his whole country towards a war economy and pushes through one or two more mobilizations. Result: He makes it to Kyiv,” says the ex-oligarch. “He will then have two-thirds of Ukraine under his control. But he still has to continue waging war at some point because two-thirds of Ukraine are not enough to support the economic to solve Russia’s problems.”

A second possibility is that the conflict will be frozen. 15 percent of Ukraine then remained occupied by Russia. “Putin can take a deep breath, he needs a break. After that, the war will continue because the national patriots in Russia will force it to do so.”

According to Khodorkovsky, the third variant would be the best for Ukraine: “If the West continues to provide serious military support to Ukraine, then Ukraine can retake its territory at least up to the borders of February 24, 2022. We don’t know if they can get Crimea too. But in this situation, Putin could lose power. Under a new Russian government there could be a peace agreement.”

The Putin expert does not see the fact that the Russian president has just canceled his New Year’s speech as a sign that Putin’s regime could collapse faster than expected. “A non-violent transition is very unlikely. Putin could be replaced by a slightly less carnivorous politician. But that won’t end this regime,” Khodorkovsky said.

“We have to be prepared for anything,” said Khodorkovsky. Putin or his mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin had committed so many crimes that they would not go voluntarily. “Putin will only give up power and stand trial if the alternative is death.”

Media critic Hans-Peter Siebenhaar considers Louis Klamroth to be the wrong choice as the new moderator of “hart aber fair”, not least because he is close to the climate activist scene as a partner of Luisa Neubauer. Talk shows have degenerated into a piazza for NGOs and I-AGs, he says.

In the nationwide raid against the Al-Zein clan, the state has struck a blow against organized crime. FOCUS online explains the machinations with which the clan ripped off citizens and the state.