Newsletters / New ‘Culture-Dialog’ Website Launches to Connect Civil Society in Russia and Ukraine

When armed conflict broke out between Russia and Ukraine in March 2014, civil society actors in both nations stepped forward to urge peace and understanding.

The ‘Russia-Ukraine: Dialog‘ Congress that convened in Kyiv on April 24-25 at the initiative of the Russian PEN-Center and the movements ‘The 3rd Ukrainian Republic’ and ‘Open Russia’ demonstrated the dire need, under the circumstances, for a forum for direct professional and personal interactions between civil society activists, academics, and intellectuals from both countries.

Now today, the participants are proud to announce the launch of a new website,, which will offer panel discussions where one can view the more eloquent addresses by the participants. But, above all, the website has been launched in order to maintain the dialog that started last April. Registered users of the forum are welcome to join the dialog.

Read more about Open Russia’s activities in Ukraine here.

Khodorkovsky Delivers Speech at University of Zurich

On June 27th Mikhail Khodorkovsky was invited as the featured speaker at the Europe Institute of the University of Zurich, where he delivered a talk on economic freedom and the role of the courts in Russia.

During the event Khodorkovsky commented on his vision for a united continent, where one day Russia and Ukraine could be allies again under a pan-European framework.

He also commented that in today’s Russia, the courts and judges are constantly adjusting the needs of the administration, creating a deeply uncertain environment for both businesses and civil society.

You can watch a full video podcast of the speech (in Russian with German translation) here. View a photo gallery of the event here, and read more media coverage here.

Statement on Russia’s Refusal to Comply with ECHR Order

On June 20 Mikhail Khodorkovsky issued a response statement following the news that Russia’s Ministry of Finance could be “unable” to comply with an order from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) because it did not possess Khodorkovsky’s bank information.

“Given the current level of surveillance that regime opponents are subjected to it sounds almost funny,” Khodorkovsky said in his statement.”Indeed, the RF has yet to honor its obligations,” Khodorkovsky said. “However I am not referring to the payment of said damages. After all the ECHR decision refers to a number of violations of provisions in the European Convention on Human Rights, including the right to a fair trial and protection of property.”

Read the full statement here.

Khodorkovksy’s Book Launches in Berlin

On 12 June 2014, Mikhail Khodorkovsky participated in an event in the Literaturhaus in Berlin on the occasion of the publication of his new book “Meine Mitgefangenen” (“My Fellow Prisoners”) which is due to be published on 18 June.

In a conversation during the presentation with Prof Wolfgang Eichwede, deputy president of the German Society on Eastern European Studies, Khodorkovsky elaborated on his experiences in prison and explained that the rules in Russian society and in Russian prisons are very similar: “The prison is a grotesqueness of our society. In principle it’s the same – just shriller.”

Read more about the book launch here.