"It strengthens my resolve to continue my struggle because my struggle is Russia's struggle," Khodorkovsky said in the letter received by Donskis on Monday.
Donskis had appeared in a video made to mark Khodorkovsky's 50th birthday and the 10th anniversary of his incarceration. The Lithuanian MEP also organized a book collecting campaign during which MEPs sent books with words of support to the Russian dissident. Khodorkovsky's family later decided to send the books to an orphanage established by Khodorkovsky in 1994.
"Those who have never experienced the bitterness of imprisonment, especially an unjust imprisonment, can never know the enormous sense of relief, pleasure and comfort that comes from a statement of solidarity and support such as yours. I cannot watch videos in prison but I have read the comments you made. What I noted in particular was your belief that I shall continue to play a positive role in my country’s future – a belief that I hope to fulfil in whatever way I can, whether in prison or as a free man. I am also most grateful for your initiative of collecting books by MEPs for the school that I founded," the letter reads.
Donskis said he was moved by this thank-you letter which he considers the best appreciation of his work in the European Parliament. Donskis also pledged to attract more attention to the situation of dissidents during the incumbent Lithuanian EU presidency.
Khodorkovsky was one of the shareholders of Russian oil company Yukos and one of the richest people in Russia. He was also one of few people in Russia who were not afraid to criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin. The businessman was detained in 2003 and his oil company was dissolved. Supporters of the former oligarch say he was punished for funding opposition in Russia.