On March 9, 2014, Mikhail Khodorkovsky addressed a mass rally on the Maidan (Independence Square) in Kiev, Ukraine. Below is the video recording and the full English translation of his speech.

 

 

Glory to the people of a new and democratic Ukraine! Dear Friends!

(People chanting: “Russia, rise up!”)

Last night I was on the Maidan with my Ukrainian friends. We spoke to folks here quite a lot. Russian propaganda has been telling lies, as always. There aren’t any fascists or Nazis here. To be more accurate, there aren’t any more of them here than in the streets of Moscow or St. Petersburg. These are perfectly fine men here, Russians, Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars; there are Afghan war veterans here who are the same age as me. They are wonderful people who have successfully defended their freedom. I wish them luck and all the very best.

I was told and shown what the authorities did here. They did it with the consent of the Russian authorities. Over a hundred dead. Over 3,000 or 5,000 wounded. I have seen shields made of plywood that were used here against submachine gun rounds. I felt like crying. It was horrifying. It is not my government.

I want you to know that there is a very different Russia. There are people there who, during those days, took to the streets to participate in anti-war rallies in Moscow. They did so despite arrests and many years that they will have to spend in prison. There are people there who value the friendship between the people of Ukraine and the people of Russia over their personal freedom.

(People chanting: “Thank you!”)

I believe that Russia and Ukraine have a common, shared European path of development. And I wish you luck. (In Ukrainian) Fight and you shall overcome. May God help you! Thank you.

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IMR team

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