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Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s conviction for stealing oil from his own company and laundering the proceeds is a verdict likely to keep the oil tycoon who once challenged the power of Vladimir Putin behind bars for several more years.

The unrelenting legal attack on Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man, has come to define the country’s transformation under Putin. The outcome of the second trial Monday exposes how little has changed under President Dmitry Medvedev despite his promises to strengthen the rule of law and make courts an independent branch of government.

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