Bill Browder to Speak on Putin's Russia and the Imperfect Market

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Bill Browder, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Hermitage Capital Management, will give a public lecture, “Lawless Economy? Putin’s Russia and the Imperfect Market,” on Friday, December 2, which will take place at 5:30 p.m. in Wolfensohn Hall on the Institute campus. This lecture is made possible by a grant from the Cabot Corporation at the behest of former Cabot Board of Director and IAS Trustee Emeritus Ronaldo Schmitz.

In this lecture, Browder will give a firsthand critical analysis of the Russian economy—particularly its absence of the rule of law—laden with insights derived from his personal experience. This lecture is part of the World Disorder Lecture Series, organized by Jonathan Haslam, George F. Kennan Professor in the School of Historical Studies. “The World Disorder Lecture Series aims to explore the international relations challenges and dilemmas policy makers continue to face since the ending of the Cold War,” stated Haslam, who is a leading scholar on the history of thought in international relations and the Soviet Union. “The speakers for this series have been chosen not only for their deep knowledge of the current global environment, but also for their unconventional approaches to the subject.”

Browder’s firm, Hermitage Capital Management, was the investment adviser to the largest foreign investment fund in Russia until 2005, when Browder was denied entry to the country and declared a “threat to national security” as a result of his battle against corporate corruption. Following his expulsion, the Russian authorities raided his offices, seized Hermitage Fund’s investment companies, and used them to steal $230 million of taxes that the companies had previously paid. When Browder’s lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, investigated the crime, he was arrested by the same officers he implicated, tortured for 358 days, and killed in custody at the age of 37 in November 2009.

Since then, Browder has been fighting for justice for Magnitsky. When Russian government exonerated and even promoted some of the officials involved, Browder took the case to America, where his campaigning led to the U.S. Congress adopting the “Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act” in 2012, which imposed visa sanctions and asset freezes on those involved in the detention, ill-treatment, and death of Sergei Magnitsky (as well as in other human rights abuses). This law was the first time the United States sanctioned Russia in 35 years and became the model for all subsequent U.S. sanctions against Russia. Browder is currently working to have similar legislation passed in Magnitsky’s name across the European Union.

The World Disorder Lecture Series is free and open to the public, but registration is requested: The Institute will partner with local bookstore Labyrinth Books to make copies of Browder’s book Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice (Simon & Schuster, 2015) available at the event. Browder will sign books following the lecture. For more information about this and other public talks at the Institute, visit

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