Newsletters / Mikhail Khodorkovsky: A warning to the West: Appease Putin, and you will lose your freedom

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

In October 2003, Russian special forces stormed a plane in Siberia and arrested me. I spent the next 10 years imprisoned at the behest of Russian President Vladimir Putin on politically motivated, trumped-up charges. On Dec. 20, 2013, Putin released me — but he continues to hold Russia and the world hostage to this day.

Putin has transitioned from corrupt autocrat to expansionist fascist dictator, heralding a global rise in tyranny and populism and a more dangerous, less free world. Putin cannot be appeased. He must be defeated.

Within months of my release, during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Putin invaded Ukraine. He could not tolerate the emergence of a vibrant, young democracy aligned with European values on his doorstep, so he attacked, seizing Crimea, backing separatists in Donbas and spreading lies, disinformation and confusion. The West’s woefully inadequate response meant that Putin thought he could get away with more and paved the way for the full-scale invasion of 2022.

Putin must be defeated in Ukraine, or he will not stop there. Western powers have armed Ukraine just enough for it not to lose but not enough for it to win decisively. President Biden recognized the insufficiency of this approach when he announced a $61 billion military aid package for Ukraine in October.


In the media:

Democracy In Russia Is Possible
How Russia can shift power from the rule of the strongest to the rule of law. The Berlin Pulse (by Körber-Stiftung)

Putin critic reveals ugly truth behind Russia’s killer drones (Newsweek)

Exiled Russian warns of ‘nuclear-armed’ fallout from Ukraine war (Daily Mail)

Inside Putin and his rumored mistress’ luxury yacht (Newsweek)

Russian opposition group report says it’s identified another superyacht belonging to Vladimir Putin (Business Insider)

An online presentation of the book “How to Slay a Dragon: Building a New Russia After Putin” by Mikhail Khodorkovsky (Friends of European Russia Forum)

Das Buch meines Lebens: Michail Chodorkowski (ARTE)

Ein demokratisches Russland ist möglich: Warum sich Putin nicht an der Macht halten kann (Tagesspiegel)

Un livre pour ma vie : Mikhaïl Khodorkovski (ARTE)

Mikhaïl Khodorkovski: « Si Poutine avait face à lui Reagan, Thatcher ou De Gaulle, il aurait peur » (La Règle du jeu)