“There Will Be No Revenge, But There Will Be Retribution”

July 17, 2017

Mikhail Khodorkovsky comments on the third anniversary of the shooting down of the MH17 plane over Ukraine

“Today marks a sad day. It’s three years since a passenger plane was shot down, killing 298 people.

The whole world knows who brought it down and by what means; we know the names of the 100 people involved. In Russia, the sole person responsible is Putin. To the world, it’s a scandal (but not for our country).

And what about the rest?

Do you think Beslan is forgotten? The Nord-Ost siege? Submarine Kursk?

How nicely things are set up! When in power—steal, torture, kill. Appoint devoted idiots to positions which decide people’s fates.

At the highest rungs are their cronies, who’ll cover everything up (and are doing so currently). And when the person leaves power, well, we had nothing to do with it, it was all Putin, we just followed orders and toed the line. And then we have veneer of law—under which we have amnesties, the statute of limitations.

So it won’t work!

The statute of limitations does not apply and amnesties do not work if the legislation is being put to a purpose which runs counter to the rule of law.

It is enough to prove—and we have sufficient evidence—that a relatively small group (around 100 people, most of whom were unelected), with the help of the president’s authority, make outrageous messes and cover them up by co-opting legislative and judicial powers.

I am against sweeping investigation, but I am not in favour of total forgiveness, either. Quite the contrary.

However, each individual’s guilt must be proven. Even if the documents have been burned (and we know by whom and where)—it doesn’t matter. Those who remember what was in them will be found, or else we can find someone who was told what was in them.

Then let the jury decide who to believe and who is to blame, who to punish without reservation and who to have mercy on…

Our common task, the task of civil society, is to find responsible individuals and prove they are guilty.

It is not Putin who beats people at demonstrations, it’s not “all of the police”, it’s a specific person with a specific name and surname, who lives at a specific address and has a specific bank account and travels to specific countries.

This person takes orders not from a faceless boss, and not directly from Putin, but from another person made of flesh and bones—bones just like those broken on this person’s watch.

If the Russian judiciary wants to sort out this business honestly—great. No? Well, then, there will be no revenge, but there will be retribution. And retribution, too, is a dish best served cold.”


Following the annexation of Crimea, the Putin regime waged a war in eastern Ukraine, providing funding, equipment, and troops to the pro-Russian rebels, at the same time denying its very presence in the region. According to the UN, the war has claimed over 9,900 lives, including all 298 on board flight MH17 which was shot down over the Donbas in 2014. The war has turned to “frozen conflict” with no clear prospect of being resolved anytime soon.

Have you had #ENOUGH of Putin’s regime and what it has come to symbolise for you?

Join Open Russia’s #ENOUGH campaign (https://enoughputin.org) and have your voice heard.

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