Return to the Public Eye


After spending several months privately focusing on family, Khodorkovsky returned to the public eye when the conflict between Russia and Ukraine began to reach a dangerous threshold. On March 3, 2014 he issued a statement pleading for peace and dialogue, declaring his willingness to travel to any part of Ukraine to act as a mediator. By March 9, he had arrived to Ukraine and delivered a speech at Maidan before a crowd of thousands, where he spoke about the horrors of the violence that took place in Kiev with the consent of the Russian authorities.

“I want you to know that there is another Russia,” he said during the Maidan speech. “There are people there who, during those days, took to the streets to participate in anti-war rallies. They did so despite arrests and many years that they will have to spend in prison. There are people there who value the friendship between the people of Ukraine and the people of Russia over their personal freedom.”

Khodorkovsky again returned to Ukraine on April 24-25, where he organised along with other public intellectuals like Lyudmila Ulitskaya and Yuriy Lutsenko the “Ukraine-Russia: the Dialogue” forum, while also travelling on a fact-finding mission to the conflict areas of Kharkov and Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.

Among his many travels, Khodorkovsky has delivered numerous keynote speeches, including:

Ukraine Dialogue
the Kiev Polytechnic Institute
the University of Zurich
Freedom House 2014 Awards Dinner
Chatham House
Atlantic Council
Sciences Po
Oxford Union

During his imprisonment and after his release, Khodorkovsky received several distinguished honours, including the Lech Walesa Award as well as the “Man of the Year” award from Gazeta Wyborcza. His book, My Fellow Prisoners, has now been translated and published in numerous languages, greeted by outstanding critical reception.

On the 20th of September 2014, Khodorkovsky launched his civil society movement Open Russia with a live event in Berlin and an online forum attended by thousands from across the world.