Russia: A Non-Democratic Power on the World Stage

Today Mikhail Khodorkovsky is participating in one of the panels of the Forum 2000 conference in Prague titled “Russia: A Non-Democratic Power on the World Stage?” along with Petr Kolář, Former Ambassador to Russia, Czech Republic, Vytautas Landsbergis, Former Head of State, Lithuania, Andrey Zubov, Historian, Russia, and Daniel Baer, Representative to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, USA.

This link for the live feed can be found below. Click here to read Khodorkovsky’s speech during the opening of the conference.

Posted in Events |

Mikhail Khodorkovsky to Speak at Forum 2000 in Prague

Mikhail Khodorkovsky is scheduled to appear at the upcoming Prague Forum 2000 Conference this evening, titled Democracy and Its Discontents: A Quarter-Century After the Iron Curtain and Tiananmen.”

“During the Velvet Revolution people used to jingle keys to show that previously locked doors were opening,” says Mikhail Khodorkovsky in regard to his participation in this year’s Forum 2000. “Almost exactly 25 years after those events it is time to evaluate the state of democracy, see how open those doors are and ask which doors in post-communist Europe still need the keys to democracy.”

This year’s conference offers a critical reflection on the period of democratic transformations over the past few decades and naturally the current situation in the Middle East, Venezuela, Ukraine, and Russia will also not be neglected.

“We are really delighted that in this context we have managed to get many important people for the panel debates, including the founder of the Open Russia Foundation Mikhail Khodorkovsky,” says the Executive Director of Forum 2000 Jakub Klepal. “Besides his appearance, with respect to Putin’s Russia, it will undoubtedly be interesting for conference visitors to hear the opinions of the Editor in Chief of the Russian opposition daily Dmitry Muratov, the Russian opposition politician Grigory Yavlinsky, and the former Czech Ambassador to Russia Petr Kolář. One of the most important themes of this year’s conference, which brings together the subject of growing extremism in Europe and the increasingly aggressive behavior of Vladimir Putin, will also be a series of events on the subject of links between the Kremlin and Europe’s extreme right parties. Besides Prague, one of these debates will also take place in cooperation with our Hungarian partners in Budapest.”

The live stream of the conference is below:

Posted in Events |

Video: Stephen Sestanovich in Conversation with Khodorkovsky

Mikhail Khodorkovsky recently appeared at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York for a conversation with George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies Stephen Sestanovich. The video of the event is below.

Posted in Other Developments |

Khodorkovsky Interviewed on Charlie Rose Show

Speaking in an exclusive two-part interview on the Charlie Rose Show in the United States, Mikhail Khodorkovsky says that Russia is nearing an economic crisis that could fuel an uprising similar to the country’s 1917 revolution.

“I fear that Putin is going to bring the country to a crisis much more quickly than many would like,” said Khodorkovsky. Russia could end up seeing “a repeat of 1917 when a person brings the country to an economic crisis, and we are certainly moving right in that direction.”

Deteriorating economic conditions may spark the sort of discontent that helped put an end to Russia’s Czarist autocracy a century ago, he said, referring to the turmoil that swept the Bolsheviks into power under Vladimir Lenin and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. Russia’s economy is teetering on the brink of recession as international sanctions linked to the conflict in Ukraine stunt growth.

Read more from the interview on Bloomberg and watch Part 1 of the interview here.

Posted in Other Developments |

Khodorkovsky Raises the Stakes with Open Russia Launch

On September 20th Mikhail Khodorkovsky launched Open Russia  through an online forum. Activists from Russian regions such as Kaliningrad and Tomsk connected online, as well as participants from across Europe. Khodorkovsky himself joined from Paris. Attempts to prevent activists from joining the event, i.e. problems with electricity and internet repairs by the providers, to name a few, were reported in Nizhny Novgorod, Yaroslavl and other locations in Russia. Over 70,000 people joined the movement within the first day.

Khodorkovsky called on participants to join Open Russia’s movement to secure a better tomorrow for Russia:

“Starting tomorrow, we are open for cooperation with all who even partly share our ideals and values. Our slogan: all who are not against us are with us. All of us want Russia that is great and free, so differences in opinions about peripheral questions need to be kept out of the equation for today. (…) We share what is customarily called “European values”, and we are not in agreement with the political course that declares these values to be outside the law. (…) The European path is not an abstraction, it is a recognition of rule of law as the cornerstone upon which Russian statehood is built. The European path means fair laws, their honest (the same for all) application, and, unconditionally, regular rotation of those in power, without which neither the first nor the second can be ensured.”

To watch recording of the forum go here.

To read his opening remarks during the forum go here.

Later that evening, Mr Khodorkovsky was a guest at the Le Monde Festival. At the end answering Piotr Smolar’s direct question if he wants to become President of Russia he stated:

“I would not be interested in the idea of becoming president of Russia at a time when the country would be developing normally. But if it appeared necessary to overcome the crisis and to carry out constitutional reform, the essence of which would be to redistribute presidential powers in favour of the judiciary, parliament and civil society, then I would be ready to take on this part of the task.”

The transcript of the evening is here.

Following the launch of Open Russia, Vedomosti, El Pais, Der Spiegel and Le Monde published interviews with Mr Khodorkovsky in which he shared his future plans and explained further about the launch movement.

For more information on Khodorkovsky’s initiative, please visit

Posted in Newsletter Archive |

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