President Dmitri Medvedev of Russia claims to champion the rule of law. He also claims that he, not Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, calls the shots in Moscow. Mr. Medvedev can prove both true by using his pardon power to ensure that Mikhail Khodorkovsky faces no additional prison time after being convicted on trumped-up embezzlement charges this week. Mr. Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man, has already served seven years as a result of Mr. Putin’s judicial vendetta against him.

NYT:s editorial writer is - quite rightly - not convinced that Medvedev will raise to the occasion:

Unfortunately, everything about Mr. Khodorkovsky’s latest prosecution suggests that Russia’s judiciary is still under Mr. Putin’s thumb and Mr. Medvedev’s talk of reform is just talk. Mr. Putin did not even wait for the trial to conclude before pronouncing Mr. Khodorkovsky guilty and demanding a lengthy new sentence.