News

EuroParl Slams Conviction of Navalny, Notes Parallel with Khodorkovsky Case

The recent conviction of Russian anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny and his brother Oleg demonstrates the continuing deterioration of the rule of law under the current regime, members of the European Parliament said today in a resolution highly critical of the political manipulation of justice by Russian authorities.

The resolution drew attention to the fact that the Navalny brothers’ prosecution is the latest in a series of cases, starting with Khodorkovsky’s jailing in 2003, that have “cast doubt on the independence and impartiality of the judicial institutions of the Russian Federation.”

MEPs noted another parallel with Khodorkovsky’s case: the way in which Navalny’s sentencing was brought forward from mid-January 2015 to 30 December 2014, when most Russians were focused on new year festivities. Khodorkovsky’s sentencing for his second conviction was arbitrarily brought forward in exactly the same way, to 30 December 2010.

Highlighting “a systematic failure of the Russian state to uphold the rule of law and to deliver justice to its citizens”, the resolution notes that despite its membership of the a Council of Europe and its international legal obligations regarding the rule of law and human rights, the Russian government is taking the country in the opposite direction.

MEPs also backed Alexei Navalny’s high-profile campaign to expose corrupt officials within the government and reiterated their support for the Russian people in finding a settlement to ensure democracy, political pluralism, unity and the respect of human rights.

The ongoing crackdown against Russian civil society organisations came under the spotlight in the resolution, which called for more EU funding to be allocated to such organisations.

In a separate resolution on the situation in Ukraine, MEPs condemned the Russian government’s actions in fuelling the conflict in the east of the country and called for the maintenance, and possible strengthening, of the sanctions regime against Russia until the Kremlin fulfils its responsibilities under the Minsk agreement.

Posted in Other Developments |

Next Open Russia Online Forum: “Can You Converge at a Square?”

January 17, 2015- Open Russia’s online forum “Can You Converge at a Square?”

• How effective can a peaceful protest be?

• Does the Russian opposition have any chance to achieve its goals through nonviolent actions?

On January 17 (Saturday) at 12:00 PM (Moscow time) these questions will be addressed by Lyudmila Ulitskaya, Alexei Navalny, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Aleksandr Podrabinek, Aleksandr Arkhangelsky, Anatoly Osmolovsky, Lev Gudkov, Pyotr Tsarkov, Vlad Tupikin, and the others.

Watch the live stream on openrussia.org and khodorkovsky.ru.

We encourage the forum audience to participate in our discussion by asking questions via:

• Emails to info@openrussia.org

• Chats on Open Russia website

Facebook event page

• Open Russia Twitter page, #мирныйпротест

There will be no simultaneous English translation – the event will be broadcast in Russian only.

Posted in Events |

A Video Message from Mikhail Khodorkovsky

The following video message from Mikhail Khodorkovsky was originally circulated in Russian on 20 December 2014, the one-year anniversary of his release. In the version below, his message is accompanied by English subtitles.

Posted in Other Developments |

Khodorkovsky’s Lunch with the FT

Mikhail Khodorkovsky appears in this weekend’s edition of the Financial Times interview series, “Lunch with the FT.”

Speaking with Russia correspondent Neil Buckley, Khodorkovsky describes the most difficult part of his ten years in prison, the drama surrounding his release one year ago, and the challenges faced by Russia today.

Khodorkovsky reiterated earlier comments pointing out that economic troubles alone will not bring change to Russia.

“Economic crisis won’t decide anything by itself, unless society understands that there’s an alternative,” he says to the FT. “And that’s what we’re trying to show people.”

If things continue to deteriorate, the Russian president could, says Khodorkovsky, be forced from power in various ways.

“We don’t know of a single authoritarian regime that is eternal, still less one that’s not based on any ideology. There’s the question of whether we’ll live to see this or not, but there’s a chance we will.” He laughs.

Khodorkovsky tells the FT that his programme aims to set Russia on the path to establishing a pravovoye gosudarstvo, a law-based state, or rule of law. There must be separation of powers, an independent judiciary, independent opposition and regular changes of power. If he became interim leader, he says, he would confine himself to conducting such reforms, then call free elections and stand down.

Read the full interview on the Financial Times.

Posted in Other Developments |

ECHR Upholds Yukos Ruling

An application from the Russian Federation application to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights concerning the court’s judgment on the Yukos case has beenrefused. July 2014 ruling stands – Russia must pay about 1.9 billion Euros to YUKOS Oil Company shareholders

  • An attempt by the Russian Federation to further delay paying about Euros 1.9 billion to YUKOS Oil Company (“YUKOS”) shareholders has been rejected.
  • Former YUKOS management seeks for Committee of Ministers and the Russian Federation to urgently agree a prompt procedure for payment to over 55,000 shareholders.

The former management of YUKOS today called on the Committee of Ministers of the European Union to work with them and the Russian Federation to ensure that shareholders of YUKOS, who lost their investments when the company was expropriated by the Russian Federation, will receive prompt, full payment.

The July judgment stipulated that the Russian Federation must, in co-operation with the Committee of Ministers, produce a comprehensive plan, including a binding time frame, for distribution of the award of just satisfaction within six months of the ruling becoming final.  Following the announcement today that the Russian Federation’s application for a referral of the Court’s ruling of 31 July 2014 to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) was rejected, that landmark judgment is final.  The enforcement of the payment process now rests with the Committee of Ministers.  It must ensure payment by Russia in the timescale demanded by the Court. There were over 55,000 YUKOS shareholders, including over 50,000 Russian shareholders, who reside across Europe, Asia, the US and Russia.

Read more on The Yukos Library website.

Posted in Case Updates |