'At the moment, we're guerrilla warriors' - Bill Browder

  1. "Everybody needs to be more sensitive and more conscious of the oppression that is going on all over the world"
  2. "Russia, at this point, has become a fully uninvestable country."

WikiTribune recently attended the Oslo Freedom Forum. Community members submitted questions to Bill Browder, champion of the Magnitsky Act and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management. 

Below are his answers to community questions which have been edited for clarity. You can read the full transcript here.

Question: What challenges do you see foreign investors and businesses face when operating in Russia?

Russia, at this point, has become a fully uninvestable country. It’s such a hostile business climate because of corruption, because of nationalism, and because of arbitrary arrest and detention, that it’s really irresponsible, at this point, for any foreigner to invest in Russia.

Question: As a former U.S. citizen, what was your reaction to seeing the sitting U.S. President next to Putin as he made allegations of crimes committed by you?

My main reaction is that it’s a validation of all of the work that I’ve done going after Putin. If he was ignoring me, then it would show that our policies aren’t working, but the fact that I’ve gotten so under his skin shows that they are. I was quite flattered.

Question: What are some of the human rights issues in the world of which the general public should be more aware?

I think that the general public is not aware of human rights abuses. Everybody is operating in their own little silo and their own little bubbles, and those people who are living comfortable lives can’t even imagine the horrors and terrors that many people around the world have experienced. I think everybody needs to be more sensitive and more conscious of the oppression that is going on all over the world. If they were, I think it would be much easier to create consequences for the oppressors.

Question: Since initially passing congress in 2012, the scope of the Magnitsky Act has been expanded by the Global Magnitsky Act, and has inspired the passing of similar laws elsewhere in the world. How do you see human rights laws changing in the coming years?

My main life objective is to get the Magnitsky Act passed in as many countries as possible, have it apply towards human rights abusers and kleptocrats, and have it be implemented uniformly. At the moment, we’re Guerrilla warriors. We’re taking our successes where they can be taken, but in the future, as this becomes more widespread, we’d like to harmonize it. Make it so that bad guys who are killers, who may be sanctioned in the United States and Canada, can’t just go to Europe as an alternative.

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