Medvedev Talks of Economy And Yukos' Fate in New Book

A new book based on interviews with President Dmitry Medvedev released Wednesday has him discussing issues ranging the fate of Yukos and the economy to his family and love of literature.

The book -- titled "Medvedev" -- charts a series of interviews between the president and TV anchor Nikolai Svanidze and his journalist wife, Marina, over a 2 1/2-month period before and after his election.

Medvedev also touched upon several themes of his presidency, including "legal nihilism," speaking of his envy for Western judicial systems, and the importance of breaking down outdated views toward private property.

But Medvedev offered little hope of a presidential pardon for former Yukos chief executive officer Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who is serving an eight-year prison sentence for tax evasion and fraud.

"When analyzing this topic, people often ignore the facts," he said. Mimicking their arguments, he said, "Sure, maybe he broke the law, but his close colleagues also committed crimes ... so why is it that only he is sitting in jail? Is this selective justice?"

He then added sternly: "For me, as a lawyer, this argument just doesn't wash. ... If you have something on other people ... then give this information to the police."

Medvedev advocated a lesser state role in some areas of the economy and said state corporations -- set up toward the end of Putin's presidency -- should have a limited shelf life, existing only to address current challenges.

"There is no need to strengthen the state in the economy -- in some cases, quite the opposite," he said.