Newsletters / Open Russia Supports Election Observer Mission to Ukraine

Open Russia (OR), which has re-launched its activity under Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s leadership, will provide assistance to the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) in its election observation efforts for the upcoming Ukrainian presidential elections taking place on May 25, 2014.

“Given the drama of Ukraine’s historic situation that will provide the backdrop for the Presidential election in May, Open Russia aims to expand the range of observers, including from Russia, as well as achieve enhanced monitoring, by observers, of polling stations across Ukraine,” Khodorkovsky commented.

Read the full press release here.

Khodorkovsky Awarded ‘2014 Man of the Year’ by Gazeta Wyborcza

Last week Mikhail Khodorkovsky attended the 25th anniversary celebration of the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, where he was presented with the ‘2014 Man of the Year’ award by journalist and former Solidarity leader Adam Michnik.

During his acceptance speech, Khodorkovsky congratulated the newspaper and the people of Poland on 25 years of successful democracy, and also thanked them for their support of Russian political prisoners, many of whom continue to languish under politically motivated jail sentences.

“Today my country, Russia is not a rule of law state. But the Russian society remains on its path to freedom,” Khodorkovsky said during the Warsaw speech.  “I want you to remember the common experience that we have of joint efforts towards democratic values. Remember the friendships we have had for many years. I want you and our friends in Ukraine to know that, outside the official Kremlin, there is a different Russia; a Russia that for all those years in a difficult conditions and with alternating success continues on the road to democracy we once set out to follow together.”

The event marked the first face-to-face meeting between Michnik and Khodorkovsky, several years after they had begun a correspondence by post which was published by the New Republic.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk congratulated Khodorkovsky on the occasion: “Until recently Mikhail Khodorkovsky was a prisoner of Vladimir Putin, earlier he was entrepreneur and a man of financial success, for many years he remains unbreakable defender of dignity and human rights in Russia. Like others I don’t know of any other such example of heroic change in our times. Giving him the title of man of the year I understand as a sign of solidarity with all who demand deep democratisation of Russian state.”

While in Poland, Khodorkovksy also met with former President Lech Walesa, who presented him with an award from the Lech Walesa Institute.

On May 9th, as Russia celebrated Victory Day to mark the country’s sacrifices the second World War, Khodorkovsky made a symbolic visit to the Cemetery of Soviet Soldiers in Warsaw to lay flowers, honouring those who gave their lives in the war.

See photo galleries of the Gazeta Wyborcza anniversary, the meeting with Lech Walesa, and the laying of flowers here.

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