Reporting from Moscow, Julia Ioffe makes no attempt to sugarcoat Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the half-Jewish Russian oligarch laid low by two politicized trials, in her profile today in Tablet Magazine: The man undeniably bent the rules, almost certainly broke some laws, and entirely possibly got blood on his hands on his road to becoming his country’s richest man in the late 1990s. Since then, though, Vladimir Putin’s bizarrely personal crusade against him has transformed him, partly by his choice and partly as though by necessity, into Russia’s most important “dissident.”

Today, the European Court of Human Rights founds that Khodorkovsky’s lawyers failed to prove his case was politically motivated. And yesterday, he requested parole. Good luck: Ni pukha ni pera, as they say.

Unlikely Martyr