Budapest Forum 2023 - Keynote speech - William Browder, Ukraine After the War – the Reconstruction of Ukraine




  • William Browder, CEO, Hermitage Capital; Head, Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign (online)


Main takeaways:

  • William Browder, a renowned international advocate – sentenced to 18 years in prison by the Russian authorities – told us about his first reaction to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, and how he decided to utilize his skills to help Ukraine best of his abilities.
  • He spent 15 years creating and advocating for the Magnitsky Act in 35 countries to freeze the financial assets of Russian human rights violators and kleptocrats and started working on how Russia could be forced to pay for reparations for the war and rebuilding Ukraine.
  • Morality dictates that the Russian elite’s money should be spent as reparations, including the $1 trillion net worth of Putin and his cronies.
  • The West has frozen, among others, $300-350 billions of Russian central bank reserves, which could be spent on the defense and reconstruction of Ukraine. This would be legally and morally justified, and there are multiple precedences for such an action, i.e. Germany after WWII, and Iraq after the invasion of Kuwait.
  • According to legal scholars, the sovereign immunity protecting Russian assets could be overruled by the law of countermeasures, allowing the Western allies to channel official Russian state funds to pay for the illegal and unjustified damages the Russian state has inflicted on Ukraine.
  • Seizing Russian assets could relieve Western governments under increasing pressure to spend taxpayer money on Ukraine.


  • The $350 billions of Russian state assets should be repurposed to help Ukraine.
  • Other countries should also implement the Magnitsky Act, freezing money of Russian human rights violators and kleptocrats.
  • Those who have the opportunity can put pressure on their respective politicians and lawmakers so that this becomes a reality.