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Khodorkovsky to stand for Dumas

Khodorkovsky
Khodorkovsky has been held behind bars since his arrest in 2003.

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Mikhail Khodorkovsky
Yukos
Russia

MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- Imprisoned Russian oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky announced he will run for a seat representing Moscow in Russia's State Duma, or lower house of parliament, his press center confirmed to CNN.

The Yukos founder said he is grateful to "all regions, all voters and all citizens of Russia who have expressed their readiness to nominate me as a candidate in elections to the State Duma and regional parliaments," according to a report from Russia's Interfax news agency.

"In our common struggle, I rely heavily on the vibrant energy, talent and courage of people across the length of the country, but for my words to be heard all over Russia and all over the world, I need to run in Moscow," Khodorkovsky said from the Matrosskaya Tishina jail in a statement via his lawyers, according to Interfax.

"I am sure that my supporters will understand me."

The announcement comes a week after Khodorkovsky grabbed headlines when he announced he had gone on a hunger strike to protest the treatment of his former jailmate and business partner, Platon Lebedev.

He ended his strike a few days later after Lebedev was removed from solitary confinement.

On May 31, a Russian court found Khodorkovsky and Lebedev guilty of tax evasion and other crimes and sentenced each to nine years in prison.

Yukos, which has since been crushed under the weight of a $27.5 billion back-tax bill, has been the object of a lengthy campaign by prosecutors and tax authorities.

The court also ordered the men to pay 17 billion rubles in back taxes, roughly $600 million.

Khodorkovsky, 41, has been held in prison since his arrest in 2003.

He has appealed his sentence of 9 years of labor camp. That appeal is scheduled for Sept. 14 in Moscow city court.

Russian law does not prevent people in jail from running for public office until their verdict is final.

CNN Moscow producer Maxim Tkachenko contributed to this report

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