A day at the Khodorkovsky trial

Verzamelde pers

It took only two hours to get into the court, with several agencies reportedly already at scene at 7 am in the morning. Waiting, even in the snow, isn’t really cold as the group of reporters is pressed against each-other like sardines in a can.

Politie, pers en advocaten

There was a nervous buzz in the courtroom, which was in fact hideously small. I managed to sneak in as a photojournalist, with one of the camera-guys talking down my little Lumix GF1 as ‘amateurish’. Hey!

Protesten op straat

While judge Viktor Danilkin read the verdict the way you read the licensing-agreement for Apple’s iTunes – very fast – the crowd outside was roaring. ‘Freedom! Russia without Putin’. Even the judge could hear. Many of them were beaten, about 20 detained and taken away, including elderly.

Chodorkovski glimlacht

In this case, the judge was very nervous and the two suspects seemed relaxed, exchanged notes, cracked jokes and waved at friends and family. It’s the world upside down. Verdict: guilty.


Why to hold a trial on the 27th of December? Exactly, because the whole foreign press corps in singing christmas-carols with their families in far-away and democratic countries. Yet even now the press didn’t fit into the tiny courtroom. Journalists waiting outside caught up with lawyers during a ten-minute break

Eenzame demonstrant

And when all this is history, there’s only one pensioneer still demonstrating. A pity. Russia.