Jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky reversed his long-standing criticism of Russias president this week in an article in the weekly Vedomosti. Writing from prison, Khodorkovsky said that Vladimir Putin was, if not a true democrat, at least more liberal than most Russians. Regardless of whether we like Vladimir Putin or not, it is time to realize that the head of state is not just a person, he said. We have to reject senseless attempts to undermine the president. Analysts said the commentary appeared to be an attempt to curry favor with Putin ahead of Khodorkovskys trial. The tycoon was arrested for alleged tax evasion in October, after he gave money to a political party that opposed the president.