Dear Readers

Some of you may have noticed a diminished presence from me on these pages over the past week, as I am taking some summer holiday time with my family. However there was one item, neither flattering nor overtly hostile (just snarky as one would expect), in the Wall Street Journal Law Blog this week which I think deserves a short defense and clarification. Upon considering how I have been portrayed in recent articles, I wanted to take the opportunity to reiterate the purpose of this blog, qualify the opinions of its authors, and correct some mistaken assumptions (this will be added as an addendum to the main info page). Firstly, the idea to launch this blog arose in part as a result of my expulsion from Russia, and my continuing interest in remaining a dedicated observer of the country’s public affairs. My ongoing efforts in publishing here were not just dedicated to assisting an individual who I am proud to represent, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, but also to the exposition of my personal beliefs, perspectives, arguments, thoughts, and interests in not just in Russia but far beyond. I’ve been an eager student of Russian history, society, and political science since the 1970s, and first traveled to Moscow during the Leonid Brezhnev years to satisfy my deep curiosities with this immensely interesting place. I confess that since that time I have never let go of these curiosities, and they continue drive my enthusiasm for discussion on these topics. However, any attempt to portray this blog as representing the voice of my past, current, or prospective clients, especially Mr. Khodorkovsky, is not only inaccurate but also misleading. I should also add that I represent many other parties, inside and outside of Russia, whose views I sometimes share and sometimes do not. I have said it before, and will say it again: I alone am responsible for the opinions I express in this space. The same goes individually for other contributers such as Grigory Pasko, Derek Brower, my editors, and the many others we have featured here. In fact, if you are a frequent reader, you will already know that only a modest percentage of our coverage is specifically dedicated to individual cases – instead we blog about a very wide range of topics ranging from culture to business to energy politics, often straying quite far from Russia. Secondly, it needs to be underscored that I am only one member of a highly respected legal team of prestigious reputation, including Yuri Schmidt (one of the great heroes of human rights in Russia), Karinna Moskalenko, Anton Drel, Vadim Kluvgant, and, in North America, John Pappalardo and Sanford Saunders. It is a great honor to be associated with such an impressive group of lawyers, whose dedication to this case is nothing short of inspirational. Lastly, I suppose that I would object to this below-the-belt shot of being titled a “propagandist” for the advocating that I do, but in truth, I am OK with it. I don’t believe that Russian political prisoners have propagandists in abundance compared with the state’s excellence in this area, so if this is a title earned for passionately believing in the freedom of an innocent man, so be it.