Newsletters / Mikhail Khodorkovsky Raises the Stakes with Open Russia

On September 20th Mikhail Khodorkovsky launched Open Russia  through an online forum. Activists from Russian regions such as Kaliningrad and Tomsk connected online, as well as participants from across Europe. Khodorkovsky himself joined from Paris. Attempts to prevent activists from joining the event, i.e. problems with electricity and internet repairs by the providers, to name a few, were reported in Nizhny Novgorod, Yaroslavl and other locations in Russia. Over 70,000 people joined the movement within the first day.

Khodorkovsky called on participants to join Open Russia’s movement to secure a better tomorrow for Russia:

“Starting tomorrow, we are open for cooperation with all who even partly share our ideals and values. Our slogan: all who are not against us are with us. All of us want Russia that is great and free, so differences in opinions about peripheral questions need to be kept out of the equation for today. (…) We share what is customarily called “European values”, and we are not in agreement with the political course that declares these values to be outside the law. (…) The European path is not an abstraction, it is a recognition of rule of law as the cornerstone upon which Russian statehood is built. The European path means fair laws, their honest (the same for all) application, and, unconditionally, regular rotation of those in power, without which neither the first nor the second can be ensured.

To watch recording of the forum go here.

To read his opening remarks during the forum go here.

Later that evening, Mr Khdorkovsky was a guest at the Le Monde Festival. At the end answering Piotr Smolar’s direct question if he wants to become President of Russia he stated:

I would not be interested in the idea of becoming president of Russia at a time when the country would be developing normally. But if it appeared necessary to overcome the crisis and to carry out constitutional reform, the essence of which would be to redistribute presidential powers in favour of the judiciary, parliament and civil society, then I would be ready to take on this part of the task.”

The transcript of the evening, is here.

Following the launch of Open Russia, Vedomosti, El Pais, Der Spiegel and Le Monde published interviews with Mr Khodorkovsky in which he shared his future plans and explained further about the launch movement.

For more information on Khodorkovsky’s initiative, please visit