Mikhail Khodorkovsky

The Human Rights, Freedom and Justice Conference

18-19th May 2018
Berlin (Germany)


The conference Human Rights, Freedom and Justice, in memory of human rights lawyer Yuri Markovich Shmidt, will take place in Berlin on 18th and 19th May.

The conference has been organised by the Open Russia Movement with the participation of The Centre of Liberal Modernity (LibMod).


Taking place for the second time, the conference will be dedicated to two main themes this year:

Human Rights and Civil Activity At Times Of Limited Civil Freedoms: Options, Strategies, Opportunities


The Defence Of Human Dignity: Differing Perspectives on Practical Work In The Field Of Human Rights


Four round table discussions are included in the two-day conference programme:

1. How to Respond to the Narrowing of Space for the Activity of Civil Society in Russia.

2. Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Activism in the Era of Digital Technology: Threats and Opportunities. How Social Media Aids the Battle With Corruption.

3. Russia and the European Council: How Russia Can Preserve Civilised Relations With International Institutions.

4. Russian Refugees and the Right To Asylum: How to Discern Between Political Persecution and Other Categories of Asylum Seekers. How the West Can Distinguish Political Persecution From Common Criminal Cases.

Lawyers, Human rights defenders and public figures from Russia and Germany will participate in the conference, including Mikhail Khodorkovsky (Open Russia), Andrey Babushkin (The Committee For Civil Rights), Olga Romanova (Rus’ Sidiashaya, Jailed Russia), Alexander Cherkasov (Memorial), Alexey Simonov (Foundation For The Defence Of Openness).

Journalists: Political refugee Ali Feruz (Novaya Gazeta), Member Of the Presidential Council For Civil Society and Human Rights Leonid Nikitinsky (Novaya Gazeta), Andrey Goryanov (BBC), lawyers Karinna Moskalenko, Vadim Prokhorov, Ilya Novikov, Sergei Badamshin and Marieluise Beck (LibMod), Peter Franck (German branch of Amnesty International), Tim Bose (Russo-German Exchange), Jens Siegert, author, Moscow (Public Diplomacy, EU and Russia) and many others.


Yuri Markovich Shmidt (10.05.1937 — 12.01.2013) was a lawyer and chairman of the Russian Human Rights Lawyers’ Committee. He was born in Leningrad on 10th May 1937. In 1960, he graduated from the Faculty of Law at Leningrad State University and was accepted into the Leningrad Collegium of Lawyers. He became associated with dissident circles from the beginning of the 1960s and took part in work on ‘samizdat’ journals and collections. He was called in for interrogation several times, and Shmidt’s house was the subject of many searches. He began to defend dissidents upon the request of academic Andrey Sakharov, and acted as lawyer for the ‘Karabakh’ committee leaders in 1988. He was a lawyer in big court processes, including the YUKOS case, the Captain Alexander Nikitin case and the murder case of State Duma deputy Sergei Yushenkov. Shmidt’s defendants were often excused. Shmidt has repeatedly spoken out in support of the victims of politically-motivated persecution in Russia and abroad. He is a laureate of many Russian and international prices and awards: “Best Lawyer of the Year” (Moscow Lawyers’ Club, 1996), Russia’s higher legal award ‘Femida’ (1997), Medal in the name of Dr Rainer Hildebrandt (Rainer Hildebrandt International Human Rights Award, 2010), Special Diploma for Activity in Human Rights Defence (Human Rights Watch, 1993), Gold Medal in the name of Fedor Plevako and the mark of ‘Honorary Lawyer’ (1999), Award from the International League of Human Rights (1999), Award of Recognition (International Helsinki Federation, 2000).

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