Support The Moscow Times!

Separatists in Donetsk Give Khodorkovsky the Boot

Insurgents in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk occupying the local city hall on Sunday denied entry to former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, calling him a national traitor and urging him to watch Russia's state-run media for information on the crisis.  

After his surprise release late last year, Khodorkovsky has on numerous occasions expressed support for Ukraine's Euromaidan demonstrators and rebuked President Vladimir Putin for Russia's annexation of Crimea and actions in Ukraine.

On Sunday, Khodorkovsky was in Donetsk to meet with the local leadership, but insurgents stopped him on the way in the administration building and told him "there is nothing to talk about." They said he was banned from entering the building in order to prevent unfavorable "incidents," according to a video published on YouTube by Ukrainian television channel Gromadske TV.

The video showed insurgents standing near the barricade in front of City Hall surrounding Khodorkovsky and saying, "How can we talk to you? You have already sold your motherland!"

Khodorkovsky came to Ukraine last week to organize a Russian-Ukraine forum with top Russian and Ukrainian media experts, human rights activists and public figures gathering to work out a solution for the Ukraine crisis.

Khodorkovsky, who spent 10 years in prison after being charged with a number of economic crimes, has been involved in social activism since his release and currently resides in Switzerland.

Contact the author at

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

Please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world's largest country.