Mikhail Khodorkovsky Announces Launch of Foundation for International Investigations of Crimes Against Media: Justice for Journalists

August 15, 2018

London, August 14, 2018 

In late July three Russian journalists, Kiril Radchenko, Alexander Rastorguev and Orkhan Dzhemal were murdered in the Central African Republic while investigating Wagner, a private Russian mercenary group reported to be overseen by catering magnate Evgeny Prigozhin, a close associate of Russian President Putin and the head of the infamous Troll Factory. 

In response to this tragedy, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, founder of Open Russia pro-democracy movement, Amnesty International-recognized prisoner of conscience, and Putin’s most prominent critic, and his former business partner Leonid Nevzlin have announced the establishment of Justice for Journalists, a foundation set up in order to investigate violent crimes against journalists who have been targeted as a result of their professional duties.

“The murder of three journalists in the Central African Republic who were collaborating with one of my research initiatives has deeply affected me. Crimes against journalists is a global problem.  Each year dozens of journalists are killed across the world, and the majority of these crimes remain unresolved.  The way I see it, the Justice for Journalists Foundation is one way of fighting against impunity.  We are hoping to collaborate with journalists and human rights organisations and individual journalists who believe that those who commit crimes against journalists should be brought to justice.  An investigation into the murder of Kiril, Alexander and Orkhan could become the Foundation’s first priority case.”

 – Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Founder of Justice for Journalists

The vast majority of murders of journalists remain unpunished, and there currently exists no international mechanism for pursuing and obtaining justice.  This is a call to action, and this foundation is a pathway to justice.

“The killers and those ordering the murder of journalists are rarely brought to justice. In fact, 86 percent of murder cases show the killers have enjoyed complete impunity.”

 – Robert Mahoney, Deputy Executive Director, Committee to Protect Journalists

Freedom of the press and democracy vitally depend on one another.  As the bonds of trust between society, governments and traditional forms of media decline across the world, it is vital that important investigative work is protected, and that those who wish to silence independent journalism are brought to account.


Our Mission

The aims of the Foundation are to bring the journalistic community and human rights activists together in solidarity to organise and coordinate international investigations into violent crimes committed against journalists regardless of where they took place and what the motives behind them may be.  The Foundation will provide organisational, political, advocacy and financial support to professional investigative groups worldwide in order to discover, disclose and bring to justice those who are responsible for committing crimes against media.  The founders of the Foundation expect that the in the initial stages the Foundation will sponsor or co-sponsor between 5 and 10 international investigations of crimes against journalists a year.


Our Structure

An initial sum of five million dollars has been pledged by Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Leonid Nevzlin towards the future work of Justice for Journalists Foundation.  The Foundation will be run by an advisory board and a council of experts and investigators, drawing from a wide range of renowned professionals in a variety of fields.  Those who have already agreed to become a part of the Foundation are listed below:

Jeff Gedmin, former president of RFE/Radio Liberty, research Council Member at the National Endowment for Democracy, Senior Fellow at Georgetown University and an author.

Luke Harding, foreign correspondent for the Guardian, who has reported from Dehli, Berlin and Moscow, and author of Collusion: How Russia Helped Trump Win the White House.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, founder of Open Russia pro-democracy movement, Amnesty International -recognized prisoner of conscience, and the former CEO of the Yukos oil company.

Dmitry Muratov, founder and publisher of Novaya Gazeta, Russia’s foremost independent newspaper, known for uncovering government corruption and human rights abuses.

Leonid Nevzlin, businessman, philanthropist, former managing director of the Yukos oil company, founder of the Museum of the Jewish People (Israel) and co-owner of Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

David Satter, special correspondent on Russian affairs for the Wall Street Journal, former head of FT in Russia, author of many books on Russia.



The Justice for Journalists Foundation is open for cooperation with international media, human rights activists and investigative organisations on a wide range of issues connected with investigating crimes against journalists.  The Foundation is a collaborative project that allows journalists to come together in memory of their colleagues by reducing impunity around murder of journalists and bringing those responsible for violent crimes to justice.



Maxim Dbar
Press secretary for Mikhail Khodorkovsky