Khodorkovsky: A Decade Behind Bars

Talk Wednesday 23 October 2013, 7:00 PM

October will mark the tenth year that Mikhail Khodorkovsky has spent behind bars. Once Russia’s richest and most successful businessman, he was arrested and imprisoned a decade ago, on charges that many regard as politically motivated. Since then he has faced new charges extending his sentence and although he is due for release in August 2014, doubts remain about whether this will take place.

We will be examining the Khodorkovsky case and, following the charges against Alexei Navalny, we will be looking at the wider issue of imprisonment of opposition figures in Russia. Will the ramping up of protests and support for Alexei Navalny force a change in the conduct of Russian politics?

A selection of Khodorkovsky’s writing will be adapted for an exclusive performance on the night, directed by Noah Birksted-Breen, the artistic director of the Sputnik Theatre Company. Birksted-Breen has previously directed a production of Elena Gremina’s play One Hour and Eighteen Minutes, dealing with the death of renowned Russian whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky. More information on Birksted-Breen and the Sputnik Theatre Company can be found here: It will be performed by Jonathan McGuinness, who is currently appearing in The Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas at the Royal Court Theatre.

Chaired by Edward Lucas, the international editor of The Economist and author of Deception: Spies, Lies and how Russia Dupes the West. He has covered Russia and Central and Eastern Europe for more than 20 years.

The panel:

Sir Tony Brenton is a former British Diplomat, he served as Ambassador to Russia from 2004-2008. In 2009 He became a Fellow of Wolfson College Cambridge and is currently writing a book on Russian history.

Ben Judah reported for Reuters in Moscow before joining the European Council on Foreign Relations in London as a Russia analyst. He is currently a visiting fellow at the European Stability Initiative and is author of Fragile Empire: How Russia Fell in and Out of Love with Vladimir Putin.

Tonia Samsonova is a foreign correspondent working for Russian radio station Echo Moskvy, she is also a host on TVRain, an independent online TV channel. In 2013 she moved to London to investigate Russian corruption.