Few people have had the opportunity to confront Vladimir Putin in person about corruption inside the Kremlin. Mikhail Khodorkovsky did just that – and he paid the price. Khodorkovsky went from being the richest man in Russia with an estimated fortune of $15 billion to a prisoner, charged with tax evasion and fraud. An early supporter of democratic change in Russia, Khodorkovsky was given a ten-year prison sentence mere months after he criticised Putin during a televised meeting. Amnesty International declared Khodorkovsky a prisoner of conscience and the Hague Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that the seizure of his oil company by the Russian government was a violation of international law. After his release from prison in 2013, Khodorkovsky emigrated to Switzerland and now lives in London.
In October 2020 Khodorkovsky came to Intelligence Squared to discuss his new book, Gardariki, which presents his ideas on how to create the ‘Russia of [his] dreams’. As Russians come to terms with the prospect of Putin being a possible president-for-life, Khodorkovsky set out his alternative vision for the country: a strong and just state, based on the model of a parliamentary republic and committed to upholding human rights, free and fair elections, and the rule of law.
Does Russia need another revolution? Can Putin’s regime survive Covid, economic hardship and a decline in geopolitical influence? When ultimately Putin leaves office, what will follow? Khodorkovsky unpacks these issues and more with award-winning journalist Luke Harding.
Click here to read the English translation of Gardariki.
Speakers subject to change.