A Message of Solidarity to Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Today is the 50th birthday of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and tragically, once again, he will spend this day in a Russian prison. It has been nearly 10 years since Mr. Khodorkovsky was unjustly imprisoned for the “crime” of daring to challenge the corruption and authoritarianism of Vladimir Putin. During the past decade, the dangerous and criminal nature of Putin’s regime has been unmasked for the entire world to see. From the murder of the crusading lawyer Sergei Magnitsky while in official custody, to the stolen Duma elections of 2011, to the harassment and persecution of civil society organizations dedicated to human rights and democracy, to the wholesale corruption of the legal system, it is clear that democracy and basic human rights are scarce commodities in Putin’s Russia. 

Millions of people now recognize Mikhail Khodorkovsky as a man who had the foresight to see what was happening to his country and the courage to try and stop it. It is vital that people of goodwill stand in solidarity with Mikhail on this important day. He has spent 10 long years languishing in prison but is due to be released in October of 2014. We call upon governments and citizens around the world to demand that the Russian government honor his release date and set this brave man free. Through letters, calls, social media, and public demonstrations we must make it clear to Putin that the world is watching. 

Lantos Foundation president Katrina Lantos Swett said, "Mikhail Khodorkovsky was willing to stand up for Russian democracy and freedom and has paid a very heavy price for his courage. Now it is time for those who support these values to stand up for him."