Mikhail Khodorkovsky

ESMT Open Lecture with Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Russia in Europe: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Since Peter the Great, Russia has been in Europe but not always part of Europe. It has contributed richly to European culture and has been heavily influenced in turn by European political thinking, literature and art. For centuries, Europe has been Russia’s vital source of western technology.  In today’s rapidly changing western world, it is easy to overlook the challenges facing Russia and to underestimate Europe’s influence on Russia. Today’s Russia has turned away from Europe but only temporarily. Its current model of governance is exhausted and will inevitably change. What must Russians do to put their country back on a path of reforms and re-connect with Europe?  What can European countries do to help the process?


View recorded livestream on livestream.com (in English)

View recorded livestream on Facebook (Deutsche Welle, in Russian)

Download speech (in English)


Monday, March 20, 2017
"Russia in Europe: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow"
ESMT Berlin, Schlossplatz 1, 10178 Berlin

Speaker: Mikhail Khodorkovsky, founder of the Open Russia movement, successful businessman, and former head of YUKOS
Moderator: Amb. John Kornblum, Senior Counselor, Noerr LLP, and Chairman, John F. Kennedy Atlantic Forum


About Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Mikhail Khodorkovsky is the founder of the Open Russia movement. A successful businessman, Khodorkovsky was head of YUKOS, one of the world’s largest oil producers, where he established international management codes of practice, and substantially increased production. A pioneering philanthropist, he established the Open Russia Foundation in 2001 with the aim of building and strengthening civil society in Russia. An early supporter of democratic change, at a televised meeting with President Putin in early 2003, he criticised endemic corruption. Later that same year he was arrested, and jailed on charges of tax evasion and fraud, charges, which he denied and vigorously defended. Khodorkovsky was sentenced to fourteen years in prison. He was declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International; and finally released in December 2013. In 2014, the Hague Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that the Russian Government had violated international law by taking YUKOS from its shareholders, for political purposes, described as a “full assault on Yukos and its beneficial owners in order to bankrupt Yukos and appropriate its assets while, at the same time, removing Mr. Khodorkovsky from the political arena.” Today, Khodorkovsky advocates an alternative vision for his country: a strong and just state, committed to observing human rights, free and fair elections, and the rule of law.