Worldwide Campaign

Photo credit: AFP
Photo credit: AFP

Throughout Khodorkovsky’s years in prison, there had been many voices raised around the world, about the injustice that had been done. The worldwide campaign for the release of Mikhail Khodorkovsky took many forms – in parliaments, theatres, opera houses, on the street. The many events included:

1916544_322469460036_2594070_nBerlin Wall Domino

9 November 2009, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a large public art spectacle of falling dominoes was set up, measuring over 1.2 km (0.75 miles), from the spot formerly known as Checkpoint Charlie to the Reichstag. One of these dominoes carried Khodorkovsky’s image, and was signed by dozens of supporters.

gidon-kremerSolidarity concert for political freedom in the Gewandshaus zu Leipzig,

That evening, on 9 November 2009, the concert “Reaching out a hand – a musical plea”, was presented by violinist and conductor Gidon Kremer and the composer Giya Kancheli, to publicise the plight of people fighting for the right to personal and political freedom.

The highlight of the evening was the German premiere of Arvo Pärt’s Fourth Symphony, dedicated to Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and performed by Kremer and his Kremerata Baltica.

The 900 guests included politicians of the German Bundestag and the Saxonian parliament as well as representatives of the City of Leipzig, Amnesty International and the Russian human rights organisation Memorial.

khodorkovsky-sketches-comicSketches of (in)justice” in the European Parliament, Brussels

On February 2, 2010, more than a hundred people, including members of the European Parliament, Russian politicians, officials from European institutions, human rights activists and artists, attended the opening of the exhibition “Sketches of (in)justice” held in the European Parliament. The exhibition showcased some 30 courtroom sketches and paintings by different Russian artists, illustrating the legal battles waged against Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev.

Prominent guest speakers included the former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, Chairwoman of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights MEP Heidi Hautala and Memorial’s Executive Director Elena Zhemkova, winner of the European Parliament’s 2009 Sakharov Prize.

Mikhail Kasyanov, Russian prime minister under President Putin (and still in office at the time of Khodorkovsky’s and Lebedev’s arrests in 2003), was clear in his criticism of the current government. “Putin told me [the trial] was political,” and he added that, “all the charges were fabricated.”

The courtroom drawings had already been exhibited in Moscow and London, and were later shown at the Berlin Wall Museum in Berlin, and then in Paris.

musica-liberatMusica Liberat Concert dedicated to Khodorkovsky and Lebedev

The ‘Musica Liberat’ concert took place in Strasbourg on July 5, 2011. Its aim was to focus attention on the lack of human rights and respect for the rule of law in Russia.

The event brought together world-renowned musicians, including Martha Argerich, Evgeny Kissin, Gidon Kremer, Mischa Maisky, Anatoli Kotscherga, and Roman Kofman accompanied by the Kremerata Baltica. The organisers chose to dedicate the concert to Khodorkovsky and Lebedev because they view the two men as “living symbols of the world’s failed hopes for rule of law and freedom of expression in Russia. They have now spent almost 8 years in jail and the gross mishandling of their case has inspired imitation by corrupt officials across Russia, spreading impunity and deepening corruption throughout the country.”

Russian-Visionaries-at-the-PACE-Strasbourg-photo-5Kirill Nikitenko photography exhibition “Russian Visionaries – Into the light”

On March 8, 2012, a photography exhibition by the well-known Moscow photographer, Kirill Nikitenko, opened in Paris, titled “Russian Visionaries – Into the light,” and featuring the portraits of Russian opposition leaders, including Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

During the opening reception, Pavel Khodorkovsky, head of the Institute for Modern Russia, and his mother Elena Khodorkovskaya, curator of the exhibition, explained how the concept of the exhibition had actually been invented some months before the demonstrations began in Moscow.

François Zimeray, French ambassador for human rights said “I was in court during the second trial [of Mikhail Khodorkovsky] and I was struck by the strange atmosphere of the trial, with Khodorkovsky dismantling point by point the accusations but no one listening: not the prosecutor, not even the judge.”

The exhibition was also presented in New York, Moscow and London.