Freedom House: ‘Freedom in the World 2014’ Report
Presidential Decree to pardon Mikhail Khodorkovsky
Human Rights Watch: World Report 2014
World Report 2014 is Human Rights Watch’s 24th annual review of human rights practices around the globe. It summarizes key human rights issues in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide, drawing on events through November 2013.
‘I am a lawyer!’ – Edition of the Heinrich Böll Foundation (in German)
A supervisory appeal to the Chairman of the Russian Supreme Court – December 9, 2013
Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s defence team are demanding termination of criminal proceedings against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev and their immediate release in a supervisory appeal filed to the Chairman of the Russian Supreme Court, Vyacheslav Lebedev, on December 3, 2013
Lebedev’s Appeal Against Decisions Denying Release On Parole – December 3, 2013
Platon Lebedev’s defence team has filed an appeal to Russia’s Supreme Court demanding the cancellation of all previously handed down decisions denying him release on parole.
The appeal document in Russian can be viewed here.
Supreme Court Presidium Ruling – November 13, 2013
The Full List Of Russia’s Political Prisoners
In November 2013, the Memorial—Russia’s most respected human rights organisation, founded a quarter-century ago by Andrei Sakharov—published a list of 70 people it considers to be political prisoners.
Among the names included in the list are Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev as well as all those imprisoned in the Yukos case, Bolotnaya Square case defendants, Greenpeace activists (both Russian citizens and foreigners) detained in the Pechora Sea following a protest against drilling for oil in the Arctic, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina – members of the Pussy Riot punk band.
The list goes on and the leaders of the Memorial emphasise that the list of 70 is by no means exhaustive—there are more political prisoners in Russia, but the cases that have been included in the list have been carefully screened and verified using extensive evidence and stringent criteria.
The Multiple Faces of Torture – A Study of the Phenomenon of Torture in Russia
In November 2013, the French NGO ACAT (Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture) published a report The Multiple Faces of Torture – A Study of the Phenomenon of Torture in Russia. The report is based on the results of two years of extensive research and testimonials conducted by ACAT. The work was supported by the European Union and a number of Russian NGOs.
The report is available in
‘Khodorkovsky Case’ by Adam Michnik, Aleksander Pumpiański, Michaił Chodorkowski, Siergiej Kowaliow (in Polish)
‘A Russian Prisoner’ by Mikhail Khodorkovsky (in French)
Published in October 2013
In the book, Mikhail Khodorkovsky draws portraits of his fellow prisoners, criminals in today’s Russia, whom he has met in the labour camps – Gulags – where he has been incarcerated for the last 10 years. He makes no mention of his former company Yukos Oil, or the Kremlin, but his intriguing conclusions in the book go far beyond a simple description of Russia’s prison system.
The original title: ‘Un prisonnier Russe’
Report by Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, following his visit to the Russian Federation, from 3 to 13 April 2013
The report, which mentions the Yukos affair and the jailing of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, highlights a number of areas of concern to Dr Muižnieks, whose report is the result of a fact-finding visit to Russia earlier this year.
The report is available in PDF format.
‘The Life And Fate Of Mikhail Khodorkovsky’ by Natalya Tochilnikova (in Russian)
‘Hostage. The Story of a Yukos Manager’ by Vladimir Pereverzin
Published in August 2013
A book written by former senior Yukos manager, Vladimir Pereverzin, is now available for purchase in bookstores across Russia.
Pereverzin served over 7 years in prison when he refused to testify against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev. He was released in February 2012, becoming the first former senior Yukos manager to be freed.
The original title: ‘Заложник. История менеджера ЮКОСа’
Supreme Court Judgment in Full – August 6, 2013
“Khodorkovsky, Lebedev, and all the rest” by Konstantin Rivkin
Konstantin Rivkin, the lawyer of Khodorkovsky’s ex business partner and Yukos co-owner Platon Lebedev summarises his experiences during 8 years working on the Yukos case in “Khodorkovsky, Lebedev, and all the rest”.
The book is dedicated to the memory of another figure in the Yukos case, Vasily Aleksanyan, who was denied essential medical treatment during his pre-trial detention and therefore died before the trial could take place.
“Khodorkovsky: Not guilty!” by Natalia Tochilnikova
Natalia Tochilnikova is a prominent Russian writer and an author of several political writings. Tochilnikova has been collecting material about Mikhail Khodorkovsky and the Yukos case for years. As a result, she has written the most detailed history of Khodorkovsky yet – not only his biography and the story of his two trials, but also an analysis of other Yukos related charges. The book debunks many myths and misconceptions about Yukos and Khodorkovsky.
‘Khodorkovsky: Not guilty!’ is based on interviews with Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s mother Marina Philippovna, Leonid Nevzlin, Vasily Shahnovsky, Alexey Kondaurov, Irina Yasina, Anatoly Yermolin, his lawyers Karinna Moskalenko and Natalia Terehova, classmates and fellow students and trial documents and media publications from the 1990s. The author’s personal correspondence with Khodorkovsky, which began in 2005, and Khodorkovsky’s comments on the text are also included.
Number of pages: 84
‘Algorithm’ Publishing House
H.R. 6156: Removal of Jackson-Vanik and Magnitsky Rule of Law Act
On 16 November 2012, the third anniversary of the death of whistleblowing lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 6156 with a wide bipartisan margin, lifting the outdated Jackson-Vanik travel restrictions, restoring Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR), and opening up a new visa ban regime against Russian officials accused of grave human rights violations. In a procedural vote to bring 6156 to the floor, Rules Committee Chair David Dreier (R-CA) noted: “A lot of us held out a great deal of hope for Russia, more so than we have right now, just a few years ago, and because we’ve seen backward steps. I’ve talked about my friend Mikhail Khodorkovsky , who, at this moment, is languishing in a Russian prison for simply criticizing Vladimir Putin. I’m here today in large part because I want Mikhail Khodorkovsky to be freed. I want to see an end to that kind of treatment of individuals.”
“La mia lotta per la libertà”
An Italian version of Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s book of writings. More information here.
Aš kovosiu už savo laisvę – Михаил Ходорковский
A Lithuanian version of Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s book of writings. More information here.
Biography of Mikhail Khodorkovsky by Natalia Gevorkyan
This edition of the book is published in Ukrainian.
De Tijd Wast Alles Schoon
A Dutch edition of Khodorkovsky’s dialogue with Natalia Gevorkyan. More information here.
Briefe aus dem gefängnis
A collection of Khodorkovsky’s writings in German. More information here.
Khodorkovsky’s Letters with Boris Akunin and Lyudmila Ulitskaya
BĘDĘ WALCZYŁ O WOLNOŚĆ – Michaił Chodorkowski
A Polish edition of Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s interviews and writings. More information here.
An Estonian edition of Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s book of writings, correspondence, and interviews. See more information here.
“The Quality of Freedom” by Richard Sakwa
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the head of the Yukos oil company, was arrested on 25 October 2003. This event proved a turning point for post-communist Russia and for Vladimir Putin’s presidency. By that time Khodorkovsky had become one of the world’s richest and most powerful men, while Yukos had been transformed into a vertically-integrated oil company that was set to go global. On all counts, this looked like a success story for Russia, but it was precisely at this moment that the authorities struck, and Khodorkovsky was later sentenced to eight years in jail. This book explains why all of this occurred. It provides some theoretical discussion as well as detailed analysis of the rise and fall of Yukos, and with it the development of the Russian oil industry. It also examines the relationship between the state and big business during Russia’s traumatic shift from the Soviet planned economy to the market system, as well as Russia’s emergence as an ‘energy superpower’. The attack on Khodorkovsky had far-reaching political and economic consequences but it also raised fundamental questions about the quality of freedom in contemporary Russia as well as in the world at large.
Putin’s Oil: The Yukos Affair and the Struggle for Russia, by Martin Sixsmith
“Putin’s Oil” investigates Vladimir Putin’s war for control of Russia’s vast oil reserves, in particular Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s oil firm, Yukos. “Putin’s Oil” investigates the complex world of Kremlin politics, including conspiracies and conspiracy theories, allegations that Roman Abramovitch plotted with Putin to destroy Khodorkovsky, suspicions of betrayal and double agents in the Kremlin and in Yukos, murder charges against Khodorkovsky’s partners, and the KGB defector who claims they were carried out by Kremlin agents. After the mysterious death in a helicopter crash of the Englishman who had taken over Yukos, the company’s war against the Kremlin is now being waged by a troika of mild mannered Britons, pursued by Interpol arrest warrants and Moscow’s fury. Khodorkovsky remains in a penal camp in far Eastern Siberia. Martin Sixsmith, former BBC Moscow Correspondent, has gained unprecedented access to many of the players in the drama. The resulting book is both a thriller and an analysis of the defining moments of Putin’s presidency and their ongoing impact in Russian and world politics.
“Paroles Libres,” by Mikhail Khodorkovsky
This French edition of “Free Words” compiles several of Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s outstanding writings and correspondence, including letters exchanged with Lyudmila Ulitskaya, Boris Akunin, and Boris Strugatsky.
Mireille Bartholomew, an editor at the publisher Fayard, said “This French publication is a militant act on our part. Olivier Nora wants this book to be published in as many languages as possible in the world and this first publication in French will help.”
“Khodorkovski, Le Prisionnier du Silence,” by Valery Paniouchkine
Ten years after the fall communism, Mikhail Khodorkovsky became the richest man in Russia by building the Yukos oil company. Today, he is serving nine years in a penal colony deep in Siberia. Many people who are convinced that Khodorkovsky’s wealth was procured during the presidency of Boris Yeltsin, feel that the jail term serves him right. The journalist Valery Paniouchkine similarly held this belief, at least until 2005, when his curiosity drove him to visit Khodorkovsky in prison and discover what was behind his story. What he found was dramatically different than he could have expected.
“Prisoner of Putin,” by Mikhail Khodorkovsky / Natalia Gevorkyan
Why a book by and about Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the most prominent prisoner in Russia? He is the most intelligent of his generation, the only oligarch who neither went abroad nor submitted to Putin, the only one who has a vision of a different economy and a different society, concepts with which Russia would clearly have been better off in recent years than under the current government. He is the greatest threat to Putin and embodies the civil society counter-model to the latter’s myopic power politics, a bearer of hope for the post-Putin/Medvedev era – provided he survives his personal “Robben Island”.
While Khodorkovsky has already published several journal articles and corresponded amongst others with Ludmila Ulitzkaya, in this book he reveals for the first time very personal information. It has often been said of him that he is more computer than human, but for all the self-possession that distinguishes Khodorkovsky, here he reveals his fears, concerns, and hopes. He describes what led up to his arrest, who was responsible for it and what their aim was, what his years of imprisonment were like for him and how he faces the allegations against him. And he describes his meetings with judges and prosecutors, with guards and fellow prisoners, who include psychopaths and idiots, intelligent and interesting people, and with whom the exchange is worthwhile so as to survive and not to sink into solitude. This book shows clearly where he gets his strength from – books, which he reads everywhere and in every situation, play an important role – without which he would not have survived the seven years of his captivity.
Natalia Gevorkyan is the ideal partner for Khodorkovsky on this book project. Born in Moscow in 1956, she studied journalism at Moscow State University and worked for ten years in several East European countries. In 1989 she returned to the Russian capital out of enthusiasm for Gorbachev’s perestroika and worked for the Moscow News newspaper. In 1991 she received the American “Freedom of Press” prize, and in 1992 she published “The KGB is alive”. Since 1996 she has written for the respected Russian newspaper Kommersant, first as a special correspondent for politics and large-scale business, currently as the newspaper’s Paris correspondent. In 1998 she received the “Golden Pen” journalism prize, the Russian equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize, for her interview with General Pinochet. She has interviewed most of the oligarchs, and in 2000 published the first book of interviews with Vladimir Putin.
Justice Under Pressure: The Verdict
This document has been prepared by defense counsel of Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, former Yukos Oil Company CEO, and of his business partner and friend Platon L. Lebedev. From March 2009 to December 2010 Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were put on trial on allegations that they had embezzled the entire oil production of Yukos over the six-year period from 1998 to 2003. The purpose of this document is to provide an overview of the December 27, 2010 decision delivered by Judge Viktor N. Danilkin, pronouncing Khodorkovsky and Lebedev guilty.
Justice Under Pressure: Executive Summary
This document has been prepared by defense counsel of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former Yukos Oil Company CEO, and of his business partner and friend Platon Lebedev. From March 2009 to December 2010 Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were subjected to a trial centering on allegations that they had embezzled the entire oil production of Yukos over the six‐year period from 1998 to 2003. This document provides an overview of the trial. Additional information is available in a series of legal summaries issued by defense counsel as the case unfolded. The defense counsel also publicly released extensive official trial documentation, with English translations. For further information, the legal defense team may be contacted here.
Briefing on Second Trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev (2007-2011)
Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky was arrested in October 2003 and sentenced in 2005 to an 8-year prison term for alleged fraud and tax evasion. In February 2007, when the former Yukos Oil Company chief had become eligible for release on parole, new charges of embezzlement and money laundering were brought against him. The second trial based on that indictment began in March 2009. Khodorkovsky and his co-accused business partner Platon L. Lebedev pleaded not guilty, while emphasizing that the charges against them were incomprehensible and unexplained. After 20 months of grave procedural violations throughout the trial, on December 27, 2010, both Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were found guilty by Moscow’s Khamovnichesky Court. On May 24, 2011, the Moscow City Court rejected the appeal lodged by Khodorkovsky and Lebedev against the Khamovnichesky Court verdict. With just months remaining before completion of their current prison terms, their overall sentences were extended to a total of 13 years, pushing their scheduled release from 2011 to 2016.
IBA Khodorkovsky Trial Observation Report, 2011
On 20 September 2011 the IBAHRI released an extensive report on the trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian billionaire, former CEO of Yukos Petroleum. The report concludes that the trial was not fair and criticises the lack of equality of arms and the absence of daily courtroom protocols, which in the Russian legal system take the place of transcripts of the trial. The report criticises the indictments, which throughout the trial were unclear as to the precise charges. The accused’s detention also militated against their being able to mount a defence as it hindered their access to legal counsel.
The 46-page report, entitled: The Khodorkovsky trial is severely critical of the prosecution of former Yukos Chief Executive Officer, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and his business partner, Platon Lebedev, who were convicted of stealing approximately two-thirds of the total petroleum output of Yukos and of laundering the proceeds in excess of USD16 billion. The report concludes that the trial’s processes were incapable of producing clear proof of the theft or embezzlement required for a sound conviction.
Justice Under Pressure: The Appeal
Lebedev, on December 27, 2010 the two men were declared guilty of embezzling and laundering the proceeds of all oil produced by Yukos subsidiaries over a six-year period. The Khamovnichesky Court found the defendants guilty of having embezzled significantly more oil than prosecutors had alleged or even attempted to prove. Lead defense lawyer Vadim V. Klyuvgant called the trial “a charade of justice”. On December 30, 2010, with less than a year remaining before completion of their existing 8-year prison terms, Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were sentenced to an overall total of 14 years in captivity, meaning that counting time already served they are now expected to remain in jail at least until 2017. The defense initiated appeal procedures on December 31, 2010.2 The appeal is scheduled to be heard by the Moscow City Court on May 17, 2011.
Justice Under Pressure: The Pre-Verdict Summary
This document has been prepared by defense counsel of Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, former Yukos Oil Company CEO, and of his business partner and friend Platon L. Lebedev, who have been on trial since March 2009 in Moscow’s Khamovnichesky Court. The purpose of this document is to provide an overview of the pre-verdict trial proceedings, which ran from March 2009 to November 2010. More detailed information is available in a series of legal summaries issued by defense counsel as the case unfolded. Certain elements of the analysis herein may be impacted by the forthcoming verdict. A more detailed and definitive report, to be issued following the verdict, will supersede this document.
Justice Under Pressure: The Prosecution’s Case
This document has been prepared by defense counsel of Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, former chief executive of the Yukos Oil Company, and of his business partner Platon L. Lebedev, who have been on trial since March 2009 in Moscow’s Khamovnichesky Court. The purpose of this document is to provide a summary of the prosecution’s presentation of its case against the defendants, which ran from April 21, 2009 to March 29, 2010. This document is part of a series of legal summaries issued by defense counsel as the case has unfolded. Certain elements of the analysis herein may be impacted by developments in court as the trial continues to unfold. This document does not purport to list all the violations of due process and examples of prosecutorial misconduct which occurred during the presentation of the prosecution’s case. A more detailed and definitive summary report, to be issued following the trial, will supersede this document.
Justice Under Pressure: The Defense
This document has been prepared by defense counsel of Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, former chief executive of the Yukos Oil Company, and of his business partner Platon L. Lebedev, who have been on trial since March 2009 in Moscow’s Khamovnichesky Court. The purpose of this document is to provide a summary of the defense phase of the trial, which ran from April 5 to September 22, 2010. This document is part of a series of legal summaries issued by defense counsel as the case has unfolded. Certain elements of the analysis herein may be impacted by developments in court as the trial continues to unfold. A more detailed and definitive summary report, to be issued following the trial, will supersede this document.
European Parliament Resolution (2011)
In this February 2011 Resolution passed by the European Parliament on the rule of law in Russia, the MEPs declare the following: “Expresses serious concern at the verdict in the recent second trial and conviction of MichailKhodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev; emphasises that serious judicial questions have beenraised concerning this and previous trials against the two, and calls for an independent judicial review to be conducted in connection with the pending appeal against the verdict;demands that the Russian authorities do all in their power to improve the judicial system, inline with President Medvedev’s pledges to ensure greater justice and transparency.”
Summary of Human Rights Council Report
An official public inquiry into the second prosecution and conviction of ex-Yukos chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his former business partner Platon Lebedev was conducted from April to December 2011, backed by President Dmitry Medvedev and involving a group of renowned Russian and international experts. The inquiry identified serious and widespread violations of the law, finding that there was no valid legal basis or evidence supporting the guilty verdict in the second Khodorkovsky-Lebedev trial, which ran from March 2009 to December 2010, and that the proceedings were severely marred by violations of fundamental human rights. More broadly, the inquiry found that the Khodorkovsky-Lebedev case highlighted widespread systemic problems in Russia’s law enforcement practices and judiciary. The inquiry prompted calls for an annulment of the “illegal” guilty verdict and the release of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev, and also for a series of reforms to address the systemic problems illustrated by this case. The inquiry was conducted under the aegis of the Presidential Council of the Russian Federation for Civil Society and Human Rights. All quotes in this executive summary are from the Council’s published findings and recommendations.
PRESIDENTIAL COUNCIL OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION FOR CIVIL SOCIETY AND HUMAN RIGHTS
In January 2011, a decision was adopted by the Presidential Council of the RF for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights to conduct a public1 legal expert examination (a scholarly legal analysis) of judicial acts with respect to the criminal case of M.B. Khodorkovsky and P.L. Lebedev (known to the general public as the second case charging the named persons) examined by the Khamovnichesky District Court of the city of Moscow with the issuance of a verdict of 27.12.2010. President of the RF D.A. Medvedev was informed of the intention to conduct the public expert examination, and he, during a regular meeting with the Council on 02.20.2011 in the city of Yekaterinburg, agreed with the potential significance of an analytical report with respect to the given case, drawn up by an independent public expert group.
Open Letter to Medvedev from U.S. Human Rights Groups
In October 2010, several of the leading human rights groups in the United States, including Freedom House and Human Rights Watch, signed an open letter to President Dmitry Medvedev calling for the release of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev. The authors writes, “the suspicious circumstances surrounding the initiation of the case and the accumulation of serious allegations of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct, including serious, enduring flaws in the charges on which the men are being tried; allegations that serious procedural errors committed by prosecutors were consistently tolerated by the court; and evidence suggesting that investigators engaged in intimidation, harassment, beating, and denial of necessary medical treatment to witnesses and defense attorneys, have given rise to a widespread impression that the prosecution of Mr. Khodorkovsky and Mr. Lebedev is being undertaken for political purposes, contrary to human rights guarantees that Russia has pledged to uphold.”
Q&A on PwC’s Reversal of Yukos Audit
On September 7, 2010, the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times both published major reports on PwC’s decision in June 2007 to withdraw a decade of Yukos audits. Why did these stories appear now?
With new charges having been brought against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev in 2007 to prevent their scheduled release from prison in 2011, it was clear to prosecutors that PwC’s stamp of approval on the Yukos audits was raising serious questions worldwide about the credibility of the case. Since June 2007, when PwC withdrew its Yukos audit opinions for the 10 years from 1995 to 2004, the Khodorkovsky‐Lebedev defense team has been asserting that this unusual and unconventional reversal was made in response to coercion and threats from Russian authorities. In the three years since then, the defense team has documented its assertions and initiated legal actions in order to prove that PwC legally should have stood by its audits, and that the excuses PwC gave for its decision are factually incorrect and meant to cover up the truth.
Neither the Wall Street Journal nor the Financial Times would have run their major features on September 7, 2010 had they not recently obtained proof of the truth and credibility of the assertions being made against PwC. The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times stories also raise troubling questions about the reputation and reliability of PwC in Russia, given the firm’s national predominance. In today’s challenging financial environment, the value of PwC audits that can be pulled essentially on orders from corrupt officials alters the calculus of risk in the Russian economy.
Fact Sheet of the 2nd Khodorkovsky Trial – 31 March 2010
March 31st, 2010 marks the first anniversary of the beginning of the second trial against Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev. This brief fact sheet was compiled to share all the details of the lack of grounds for the prosecution’s impossible accusation that the two defendants had embezzled all oil produced by Yukos from 1998-2003. International as well as various Russian observers of the second trial have emphasized the politically motivated nature of the case against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev while calling for their immediate release.
Justice Under Pressure: First Month of Trial
Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, former chief executive of the Yukos Oil Company, and his business partner Platon L. Lebedev, were convicted and sentenced to eight years imprisonment in 2005 and banished to Siberia. They were victims of severe abuses of institutions of Russian state power – from investigatory, prosecutorial and regulatory authorities to the judiciary – committed by a group of figures in the political establishment who viewed them as challengers or competitors. The interests of political and commercial adversaries had coalesced to orchestrate the state’s incarceration of the two men and raiding of their company’s assets. When Khodorkovsky and Lebedev became eligible for parole in 2008, those in power who still perceive them as a threat stepped up a long-dormant effort to find new grounds to keep them incarcerated for a long time to come. In addition to keeping Khodorkovsky and Lebedev isolated from society, their adversaries seek to conceal the corrupt and criminal actions committed against them and other victims of the Yukos affair with the participation and under the protection of high-ranking officials.
This summary covers courtroom proceedings from March 31 to April 27, 2009.
Stay Motion: Call for Termination of Proceedings
Lawyers representing Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky and Platon L. Lebedev have catalogued a series of severe abuses of the Russian criminal justice system in a new case being prepared against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev, underlined the prosecution’s duty to recognize these abuses as irremediable, and called upon the prosecutors to fulfill their legal obligation to terminate the proceedings immediately. According to the lawyers, the new case against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev was ordered and is directed by high-level Russian government officials acting through prosecutors. The lawyers assert that the case is incurably flawed under Russian law and would be thrown out of court in any country with an independent judiciary.