Tuesday, February 24, 2015


December 20, 2013 marked the release of one of Russia’s most notable political prisoners. Mikhail Khodorkovsky was given a presidential pardon and quickly moved to serve as an advocate for civil society in Russia through his foundation, Open Russia.  Since his release he has raised awareness of Russia’s perilous economic state as well as speaking out against President Putin. Khodorkovsky has put pen to paper and written the newly released My Fellow Prisoners, a memoir that addresses corruption in the penal system of Russia. After being wrongfully incarcerated for 10 years for charges of tax evasion, Khodorkovsky has become resolute in bringing to light the prisoner’s plight.

In his memoir, he addresses the issue of the skewed scale of justice; his anecdotes not only touch upon the lives of fellow prisoners but also the guards of the system and the prison society they create and help foster. Many hold the belief that his arrest was more politically motivated than anything else. Seen as a figure with growing strength in opposition of Putin’s personal agenda, plenty currently look to him to bridge the growing gap between the governing body of Russia and his fellow countrymen.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky has held various interviews with media outlets where one can discern what his intentions for his future as a free man will be. His most recent meeting with The Guardian offers advice even the non-persecuted should bear in mind, “Prison taught me that time does not have as much significance as we think. Just because something didn’t happen today doesn’t mean it won’t happen tomorrow.” There is no doubt that Khodorkovsky is a man with a plan filled with enough vigor for life that he will actualize them to the best of his ability. An article published by the Financial Times discloses that he holds a personal responsibility to Russia and is willing to take the mantle of “crisis manager” as an interim president of sorts in order to see a gradual change in the political environment.  Moreover, in an interview with Bloomberg, Khodorkovsky presents an option for the ruling power of Russia to cede power in order to ensure both sides safely continue to exist-- thus preventing either one from wreaking havoc on the other.

My Fellow Prisoners is available now.

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