October 10, 2017
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Founder of Open Russia
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Russian businessman and founder of Open Russia, visited the school to deliver an address of the Lantos Rule of Law Lecture series hosted by the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice. Presenting in Russian with simultaneous translation, Khodorkovsky spoke about the challenges for rule of law in Russia and the spread of corruption in the public system.
Khodorkovsky began with an overview of economic changes in Russia since 1998 and made the case that the Putin government has been harmful to the nation's economy. Commenting on Putin's desire to remain irremovable in power, Khodorkovsky spoke of a monopolization of economy and governance by the Russian president. The country needs a viable alternative model, he said, suggesting one option could be genuine federalism achieved through the empowerment of provincial capitals in Russia. Finishing his remarks, Khodorkovsky presented an optimistic outlook on the future of his country.
Taking questions from the audience, Khodorkovsky was joined by Professor P. Terrence Hopmann and foundation president Katrina Lantos Swett as they addressed specific cases of corruption, the prioritization of security in Russia, the lack of control Putin has over the state security agency, and the Magnitsky Act which sanctions Russian officials over the 2009 death of a political prisoner.
The Lantos Foundation continues the work of Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor to serve in the US Congress. Lantos fought for the human rights and dignity of people across the globe and co-founded the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. The new Rule of Law lecture series will annually provide a prominent political dissident a global platform to offer perspective on rule of law issues in his or her home country and a forum of ideas for productive change.