The Trials of Mikhail Khodorkovsky

A Symposium on Russia and the Rule of Law

Fri, 11/30/2012
1:30 PM, Robertson Hall, Bowl 16
Event Category: 
Panel Discussion

"The Trials of Mikhail Khodorkovsky: A Symposium on Russia and the Rule of Law," will be held from 1:30 to 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, in Robertson Hall, Bowl 16, on the Princeton University campus. The event, which is free and open to the public, is presented by the University's Program in Russian and Eurasian Studies (RES) and the Program in Law and Public Affairs (LAPA). 

The symposium includes a panel discussion followed by a screening of the documentary, "Khodorkovsky" (2011). Prior to his arrest on Oct. 25, 2003, Mikhail Khodorkovsky had been known as one of Russia's most successful entrepreneurs and as a pioneering philanthropist. He led the fight against corruption in Russia, encouraged inward investment, and promoted civil society—actions he hoped would make Russia a global leader in the 21st century. His actions, however, came up against a process of consolidation by the Kremlin of the country's power and wealth. He is now Russia's best-known political prisoner and is serving a 13-year sentence. Since his arrest he has endured two show trials. In May 2011, Amnesty International declared him to be a prisoner of conscience.

The discussion begins at 1:30 p.m. Panelists include Kathryn Hendley, William Voss-Bascom Professor of Law and Political Science, University of Wisconsin–Madison, and LAPA fellow; Jeffrey  Kahn, associate professor of law, Southern Methodist University, and expert adviser to the Presidential Council of the Russian Federation for Civil Society and Human Rights in the Matter of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev; Pavel Khodorkovsky, president, Institute of Modern Russia; and Kim Lane Scheppele, Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Sociology and International Affairs and the University Center for Human Values, and director, LAPA, Princeton University.

A screening of the documentary, "Khodorkovsky," begins at 4 p.m. The film chronicles Khodorkovsky's transformation from a self-proclaimed socialist to a fully realized capitalist and recounts the stunning turn of events that made him one of the world's most famous political prisoners. The screening is followed by a discussion with writer/director Cyril Tuschi.

Serguei Oushakine, Behrman Associate Professor in the Humanities, Departments of Anthropology and Slavic Languages and Literatures, and director of RES, is the symposium chair.  

The Khodorkovsky documentary website can be accessed at

The Mikhail Khodorkovsy website can be accessed at www.