Sergey Magnitsky was one of Russia’s leading corporate lawyers until his death in 2009 at 37 years old. He was murdered during a hospital visit as a result of his commitment to law and order while filing a lawsuit against officials who had stolen businesses belonging to the foreign investment company Hermitage.
A single senior official has yet to be punished. On the contrary, the Russian state has recently instituted the unusual measure of prosecuting Magnitsky posthumously. This Russian cover-up shall not take place in silence. The case is currently being processed in the American Senate, on an initiative of Democratic Senator Ben Cardin. In the European Council, EU Parliament and a number of national parliaments proposals have been brought forward to press charges against the unknown culprit.
A driving force is the businessman William Browder, grandson to the founder of the American Communist Party and who currently live in London. As the director for Hermitage he possesses insight into many Russian companies and has drawn attention to many cases of serious corruption in the new millenium, for example within the state-run energy giant Gazprom. In 2006 the Russian government blacklisted Browder, classifying him as a threat to national security and expelled him from the country.
The documents here constitute the foundation for the hearing that was held on December 14, 2011 in the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe under the title “The State of Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Russia”. The contents paint a picture of a state that lacks basic protections for its individuals. Power is not exercised according to the law, but according to politicians’ arbitrary desires. Self-interest is the steering principle.