Remember Vasily Aleksanyan

Aleksanyan speaking with his father.

Russian lawyer Vasily Aleksanyan was arrested five years ago today in connection with the Russian government’s prosecution of Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Yukos oil company. He allegedly embezzled money from the company, though many have had their doubts over whether this was true or not.

Shortly after being imprisoned, Aleksanyan found out that he was HIV-positive. He also contracted tuberculosis. He was denied medical treatment until Khodorkovsky’s hunger strike on his behalf prompted authorities to move him to a hospital. Eventually he was released in December 2008 (though he was repeatedly summoned to court hearings) and he died recently in Moscow, on 2 October 2011, due to complications from AIDS.

Aleksanyan attended Moscow State University to study law and then received an LL.M. (Master of Laws) degree from Harvard. This link has a decent article about him and his time at Yukos.


2 thoughts on “Remember Vasily Aleksanyan

  1. The way this man was treated should not be tolerated in any country. The conditions he was subjected to were atrocious; a dark damp cell with water running down the walls where the temperature would drop to 0 degrees at night … and all this for a man whose immune system was compromise and was denied medical treatment.

    I think it speaks volumes about his character that he refused to perjure himself to help the prosecutors manufacture a false case against Khodorkovsky. The people responsible for killing him should be held to account.


    1. Hi James, thanks for your comment. I completely agree with you, and what you said in that last paragraph especially, I could not have put it better myself!

      By the way: you wouldn’t happen to be the James who sometimes writes on Robert Amsterdam’s blog, would you?


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