World

Khodorkovsky warns Putin government might benefit from excessive sanctions against Russia

  • Russian former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky smiles prior his speech at an opening of the Forum 2000 conference in Prague, Czech Republic, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014. The Forum 2000 Foundation pursues the legacy of Vaclav Havel by supporting the values of democracy and respect for human rights. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

    Russian former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky smiles prior his speech at an opening of the Forum 2000 conference in Prague, Czech Republic, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014. The Forum 2000 Foundation pursues the legacy of Vaclav Havel by supporting the values of democracy and respect for human rights. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)  (The Associated Press)

  • Russian former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky speaks at the opening of the Forum 2000 conference in Prague, Czech Republic, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014. The Forum 2000 Foundation pursues the legacy of Vaclav Havel by supporting the values of democracy and respect for human rights. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

    Russian former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky speaks at the opening of the Forum 2000 conference in Prague, Czech Republic, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014. The Forum 2000 Foundation pursues the legacy of Vaclav Havel by supporting the values of democracy and respect for human rights. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)  (The Associated Press)

Former Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has warned against the use of excessive sanctions against Russia by the West.

Khodorkovsky says the sanctions might have been necessary because of Russia's behavior on the international scene. But he says their use is a "tricky instrument" and that an excessive isolation of Russia "may play into the hands of" President Vladimir Putin's government.

Khodorkovsky, who spent 10 years in Russian prison before being released and moving to Switzerland last year, was speaking Sunday at the opening of a Forum 2000 conference in Prague. It is the 18th edition of the annual event established by late Czech President Vaclav Havel.

Khodorkovsky named visa restrictions as an example of sanctions to avoid.