Russia’s Strategic Interest with the West 

A conversation with  
Mikhail Khodorkovsky 
Open Russia

Welcome remarks by
Frederick Kempe
President and CEO
Atlantic Council

Moderated by  
Damon Wilson
Executive Vice President
Atlantic Council

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As Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine’s east continues to escalate, President Putin is cracking down on opposition leaders and human rights activists at home. The murder of Boris Nemtsov, the alleged poisoning of Vladimir Kara Murza are recent and tragic examples of mounting human rights violence.  Mikhail Khodorkovsky, one of Kremlin’s most prominent critics, has a broad set of experiences in Putin’s Russia and an extraordinary perspective on developments there, which he will share with us. 

Prior to his arrest in 2003, Khodorkovsky was the head of Yukos, one of Russia’s largest oil producers, and an increasingly outspoken critic of corruption in Russia. Khodorkovsky was arrested, charged with fraud and tax evasion, and sentenced to nine years in prison, prolonged to eleven after the second trial. Khodorkovsky, who was declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, was released in December 2013 prior to the Sochi Olympics. In 2014, Khodorkovsky relaunched Open Russia, a nongovernmental organization aiming to unite pro-European Russians to promote a strong civil society.