Former Yukos case investigator to work for Khodorkovsky
The ex-employee of the Prosecutor's Office will help the Open Russia to conduct investigations.
Former Head of the International Legal Cooperation Department of the Investigative Committee at the Prosecutor’s Office Igor Stepanov, who was working, in particular, with the Yukos case, started cooperation with Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Open Russia as an expert. This was reported to Vedomosti by Stepanov himself and was confirmed in the Open Russia. According to Stepanov, he offered the Open Russia assistance in the development of new laws, of which the organization previously stated.
According to Stepanov, in the Legal Cooperation Department of the Investigative Committee at the Prosecutor’s Office, he was preparing requests for legal assistance in criminal cases, including the first case of Yukos. He says that back then he did not think, whether the case was political, but there are "things that can be used to appeal" in the second Yukos case. In 2011, Stepanov suspended the service and was elected to the local authorities in the Kaluga Region. In 2016, his mandate expired, and he did not go back to the ICR. Stepanov also challenged in the court the presidential decree of 2010 on the separation of the ICR from the Prosecutor General's Office, but the Supreme Court rejected the complaint. Stepanov not going to join the Open Russia movement: "I do not care how Russian authorities behave to Khodorkovsky and how he behaves to them. There are problems the country is facing. I think that in a few years it will fall apart if the situation is not fixed."
Stepanov is going to work on investigations, which are planned to be published on the website of the Open Russia, says the organization’s executive director Timur Valeev: "He will also provide expert advice on the legal matters, including in terms of non-conformity of different laws and regulations to each other." In addition, Stepanov has groundwork for amendments to the Constitution and current legislation and he can join the experts who deal with this issue in the Open Russia, Valeev adds.
The opposition has long criticized Khodorkovsky’s projects for indiscriminate staff policy, recalls the political scientist Alexander Pozhalov: "The members of the Open Russia have never concealed the fact that their projects involve people who have recently been in the government system. And Khodorkovsky deliberately draws attention to such cases, to show their difference from other opposition structures, which often turn into private groups and lose the ability for constructive criticism." Khodorkovsky also shows that he is ready to cooperate with people of different views, not the past achievements it in the opposition movement are important, but rather the use of the person at a particular point, the expert said: "In addition, it sends signals to potential sympathizers in the government, that they are also ready to cooperate, if at some point the latter will go into opposition, it is a pragmatic business approach."