DATE: October 17, 4:00 PM

The Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (CREES) and Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (WCED) at the University of Michigan are pleased to present a lecture by Pavel Khodorkovsky, president of the Institute of Modern Russia, titled “Trade-in Your Human Rights: A Path to Sovereign Democracy.” Khodorkovsky is the son of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former head of Russian oil company Yukos. The elder Khodorkovsky has been imprisoned in Russia since 2003 on fraud charges and has faced two trials—the resulting convictions are widely viewed as political payback for supporting liberal opposition to President Putin. In the lecture, Khodorkovsky will discuss the conflict of Russian sovereign democracy and rule of law, citing examples from the trials of his father, Platon Lebedev, and Sergei Magnitsky. He will also comment on human rights challenges in Russia including selective justice, restrictions on freedom of assembly, and lack of judicial independence.

Pavel Khodorkovsky founded the New York-based Institute for Modern Russia to continue the work his father Mikhail Khodorkovsky began through the Open Russia Foundation. The Institute of Modern Russia seeks to promote the development of civil society in Russia by reinforcing the rule of law and strengthening relationships between Russia and other countries. Since his father’s arrest in 2003, Khodorkovsky has been unable to return to Russia for fear of political persecution and actions against him aimed at pressuring his father to abandon his legal battle. Khodorkovsky holds a business administration degree from Babson College.

This lecture is part of the series Pluralism in Politics and Culture, a new initiative jointly sponsored by CREES and WCED that examines the foundations of free and open societies. The project builds on U-M’s rich legacy of study and support of the dissident culture in the former Soviet Union. The series focuses on multiple facets of political pluralism, including its legal, cultural, and economic dimensions, and explores them in a broader historical context.

PLACE: Room 100, Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library, 913 S. University Ave, Ann Arbor

SPONSORS: Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies; Center for International and Comparative Studies; University Library; Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies


The Ronald and Eileen Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia (WCEE) supports faculty and student research, teaching, collaboration, and public engagement in studying the institutions, cultures, and histories of these regions. WCEE is housed in the University of Michigan International Institute with the Center for European Studies (CES); the Center for Russian, East European, & Eurasian Studies (CREES); and the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (WCED). Named in honor of Ronald and Eileen Weiser and inspired by their time in Slovakia during Ambassador Weiser’s service as U.S. ambassador from 2001-04, WCEE began operations in September 2008. For more information, visit