The Magnitsky Global Campaign and the War in Ukraine: the Future of Sanctions as a Peace Tool

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The Magnitsky Global Campaign and the War in Ukraine: the Future of Sanctions as a Peace Tool

16th November 2022 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

The murder of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who exposed wide scale corruption in the Russian government while working with Hermitage Capital, led the company’s CEO, Bill Browder to campaign for justice for Mr Magnitsky. This anti-kleptocratic human rights campaign has been one of the most successful in history: it has led to the introduction of Magnitsky Acts in parliaments around the world, sanctioning human rights abusers and preventing them from enjoying the financial fruits of their criminality in peace.

Yet even with their tremendous impact, the Magnitsky Acts could not stop Russia’s President Vladmir Putin from launching his terrible invasion in Ukraine – a conflict that has seen Russian war crimes and the same economic exploitation seen in the Magnitsky case played out on a far larger and more horrific scale. With international sanctions having been levied on Russia since February, it is therefore an appropriate time to examine how the Magnitsky Acts can be expanded to make them a tool for preserving the peace, as well as punishing the guilty.

As 2017 award recipient and currently Putin’s prisoner, Vladimir Kara-Murza said: “I don’t think there’s a better legacy to somebody who fought for justice and the rule of law than to create a global, lasting, and universal mechanism to keep human rights’ abusers accountable and that is exactly what the Magnitsky Justice campaign has done”.

The Henry Jackson Society invites you to join a panel of award nominees and presenters for the annual Magnitsky Awards to discuss the legacy of the Magnitsky campaign, its impact on today’s world and the future for human rights and anti-corruption campaigns the world over in a time of renewed conflict.

The Magnitsky Awards began in 2015 as a way to recognise brave journalists, politicians and activists in the field of human rights. As 2017 award recipient and current Putin political prisoner, Vladimir Kara-Murza said: “I don’t think there’s a better legacy to somebody who fought for justice and the rule of law than to create a global, lasting, and universal mechanism to keep human rights’ abusers accountable and that is exactly what the Magnitsky Justice campaign has done”.



Bill Browder was the largest foreign investor in Russia until 2005, when he was denied entry to the country and declared “a threat to national security” for exposing corruption in Russian state-owned companies. In 2008, Mr. Browder’s lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, uncovered a massive fraud committed by Russian government officials that involved the theft of US $230 million of state taxes. Sergei testified against state officials involved in this fraud and was subsequently arrested, imprisoned without trial and systematically tortured. He spent a year in prison under horrific detention conditions, was repeatedly denied medical treatment, and died in prison on November 16, 2009, leaving behind a wife and two children. Since then, Mr. Browder has sought justice outside of Russia and started a global campaign for governments around the world to impose targeted visa bans and asset freezes on human rights abusers and highly corrupt officials.



Kira Rudik is a Member of Parliament of Ukraine and a First Deputy Chairwoman of the Parliament Committee on Digital Transformation. Kira is also a Leader of Golos Liberal Political Party and a Vice-President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE).

Before politics, Kira Rudik was an IT entrepreneur who headed Ring Ukraine company and ensured its acquisition by Amazon for $1 billion.

She is featured in the TOP-100 most influential women in Ukraine according to the Focus and Novoe Vremya magazines.


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Kyle Parker was jointly appointed on January 3, 2018 by U.S. Senators Roger Wicker and Ben Cardin, then-Chairman and Ranking Member, respectively.

Prior to his appointment to the Commission, Kyle served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee as Ranking Member Eliot Engel’s senior advisor overseeing U.S. foreign policy toward the 50 countries and three international organizations covered by the Department of State’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. From 2006 to 2014, Kyle served as Policy Advisor for Eurasia at the U.S. Helsinki Commission under the Chairmanships of Sam Brownback, Alcee Hastings, Ben Cardin, and Chris Smith. Before entering government, Kyle spent eight years at the American Foreign Policy Council managing high-level political exchanges with Russia, Ukraine, and China.

Kyle’s work on the Magnitsky Act, a landmark law redefining human rights advocacy around the world, is featured in two New York Times bestsellers, and his expertise on Russia has been quoted by the Wall Street JournalWashington Post, CNN, Fox News, NPR, and foreign media outlets. Kyle is a graduate of the University of Maine and the U.S. Naval War College. He speaks fluent Russian.



Yuliia Paievska, known to many as “Taira”, is a founder of the volunteer ambulance corps “Taira’s Angels”, after the start of the 2014 war in Ukraine. After the February 2022 attack, Taira was captured and imprisoned by Russian soldiers in Mariupol on March 16, 2022 and released on June 17, 2022.

Paievska served as a volunteer street medic during the Euromaidan protests in 2013, then as a tactical medicine trainer on the front lines in Donbas from 2014 until 2018, where she founded “Taira’s Angels”, who are credited with saving hundreds of lives, including Ukrainian civilians, Ukrainian soldiers, separatist militants, and Russian soldiers. Taira served in the Ukrainian Army as the head of a military hospital in Mariupol from 2018 until 2020, when she was demobilized but continued to work as a volunteer medic.

Paievska documented her work in early 2022 during the Siege of Mariupol with a bodycamera, and smuggled the video out of the city with the aid of a local police officer and international reporters on March 15, 2022. The next day, Paievska and her ambulance driver were captured by Russia while assisting a wounded civilian fleeing the Mariupol theatre airstrike.

Prior to the war, Paievska worked as a designer, aikido coach, and volunteer medic.



Dr Bob Seely is the Member of Parliament for the Isle of Wight. He sits on the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee. Dr Seely writes academically and journalistically on foreign affairs as well as more generally on non-conventional and new forms of conflict. Prior to his election in June 2017, Dr Seely served on the Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and ISIS campaigns as a member of the Armed Forces. From 1990 to 1994, Dr Seely lived in the Soviet Union and post-Soviet states. His academic and foreign affairs writing is available online at: Dr Seely has written one of the few peer-reviewed definitions of Contemporary Russian Conflict Strategy available in the West and holds a PhD in Russian military strategy.






The Henry Jackson Society was pleased to welcome Bill Browser, Kira Rudik MP, Yuliia Paievska and Kyle Parker for a discussion on the legacy of the Magnitsky Act, namely in the context of the ongoing war in Ukraine. Dr Bob Seely MP began by introducing the speakers. Bill Browder then outlined how his lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was murdered after exposing a wide-scale Russian corruption scheme and explained how he tried to gain justice by passing the Magnitsky Act into federal law. He continued by emphasizing the widespread usage of Magnitsky acts worldwide, how it has been expanded beyond Russia to other human rights violators worldwide, and the importance of sanctioning violators as a deterrent. Following this, Kyle Parker continued the discussion by explaining his work in the US pushing for Russian accountability and helping Ukraine win the war. Kira Rudik MP emphasised that the funds required for reconstruction in Ukraine should be gained via Russian money, stating that her work alongside the work of other nations can make this happen, whilst also noting the importance of showing tyrants worldwide that there will be significant repercussions if they were to act similarly. Yuliia Paievska then explained her experience of torture whilst held captive by Russian forces, whilst emphasizing the suffering of Ukrainians and the importance of stopping Russian aggression to prevent its continuation. Finally, the speakers answered questions on using Russian money, what it will take to change Russia from repeating the same actions in the long-term, and on Canadian and US legislation.




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Bill Browder, Kira Rudik MP, Kyle Parker, Yuliia Paevska


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