- Ukrainian resistance to Putin’s invasion led him to go “insane,” a former Russian oligarch said.
- Mikhail Khodorkovsky told CNN that Putin expected to be met with “flowers” in Ukraine.
- “It not only just angered him, I really think it drove him literally insane,” Khodorkovsky said.
An exiled Russian oligarch said Putin went “insane” after he anticipated that the people of Ukraine would “meet him with flowers” when he invaded the country.
“At first, what he wanted was to change the power in Kyiv, put in his puppet, and was expecting that this would be met with flowers thrown in the streets by Ukrainian people,” Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former CEO of the Russian oil giant Yukos, told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on Sunday.
Khodorkovsky — who was once the richest man in Russia, and was imprisoned for nine years on charges of fraud and tax evasion until his release in 2013 — has been an outspoken critic of Putin. He has said his imprisonment was politically motivated.
He told Zakaria that when Ukrainians resisted the invasion, Putin went crazy.
“The fact that the people in Kharkiv did not meet him with flowers, he not only just angered him, I really think he drove him literally insane. That’s when he started bombing Kharkiv and Kyiv,” Khodorkovsky said.
Khodorkovsky said Putin has three ways out of this crisis: continue to pressure Ukraine, use weapons of mass destruction to force Ukrainians to retreat, or start “actual” negotiations.
Last month the exiled oligarch said the war in Ukraine would lead to Putin’s downfall.
“I’m convinced that Putin hasn’t got much time left. Maybe a year, maybe three,” he told CNN.
On Saturday, former Russian Deputy Energy minister Vladimir Milov told CNN’s Erin Burnett top officials in the Russian government are “personally devastated” by Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, adding it was only a matter of months before Putin lost his grasp on power.