About Free Russia

The Free Russia Foundation is a nonprofit,
nonpartisan, nongovernmental U.S.-based
organization, led by Russians abroad that seeks to
be a voice for those who can’t speak under the
repression of the current Russian leadership.


Free Russia Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nongovernment U.S.-based organization with 501 (c) 3 status that:

Informs U.S. policy makers on events in Russia in real time and supports formulation of an effective and sustainable Russia policy in the U.S.; Advances democratic development in Russia; Serves as a bridge between the U.S and Russia’s pro-democracy forces by facilitating the flow of information between Russia’s democratic leaders, civil society and independent media and U.S. decision makers, officials, opinion leaders, experts, journalists and NGOs.


Represent and coordinate the new generation of the Russian diaspora in the U.S. and Europe

Provide intellectual and fundraising support to Russia civil society

Provide analytical support to U.S. and European decision-makers and foreign policy institutions

Ensure the flow of information and communication between Russia’s democratic opposition and U.S. and European lawmakers, opinion leaders and NGOs

Offer educational and cultural programs for American, European and Russian audiences


We are a community of concerned Russians located both outside and inside Russia. Furthermore, we are passionate about the destiny of our country and seek positive changes in its political, economic and social development.

We are known within activists networks, by political analysts and to the general public as a new generation of civil society, political leaders and entrepreneurs.

We are successful professionals who have a progressive vision for the future of our motherland.

We are global citizens, with a global perspective. We are also equally familiar with life in the U.S., Europe and Russia.


We are working to improve Russia, as a modern democratic country with transparent public institutions and a strong civil society.

The Russia we want should:

Be based upon the rule of law and respect human rights

Be based upon the principle of separation of powers and the transition to parliamentary democracy

Introduce freedom of entrepreneurship and demonopolization of the economy

Develop the middle class as a political force

Be governed by smaller, stronger and more stable political institutions. These institutions will continue to function regardless of electoral cycles and changes in leadership

Be federalized, with most power devolved to local government

Seek global cooperation and integration with the EU and the U.S.

Carry out a policy of in-depth lustration of the current regime


Natalia Arno

President of Free Russia Foundation

Prior to founding Free Russia Foundation, Natalia worked for International Republican Institute for ten years including six years of being IRI Russia Country Director. In December 2009 Natalia represented Russia in the World Summit of Women Leaders in Geneva, Switzerland.


Anna Veduta

Global Outreach Director for Meduza, a leading independent online newspaper and news aggregator in the Russian language. Anna is a former spokesperson for Alexey Navalny, a Russian opposition leader.

She graduated from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (MA of International Affairs).

Andrey Piontkovsky

Senior Adviser of Free Russia Foundation

Russian scientist, political writer, and analyst, a member of International PEN Club.

He has been for many years a regular political commentator for the BBC World Service and Radio Liberty. Piontkovsky is the author of several books on the Putin presidency, including “Another Look Into Putin’s Soul” and “Russian Identity” published by Hudson Institute.

Denis Sokolov

Denis  is an expert on North Caucasus focusing on the informal economy of the region, land disputes, and institutional foundations of military conflicts.

He is a senior research fellow at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) and research director at the Center for Social and Economic Research of Regions (RAMCOM).

Melissa Hooper

Melissa is Director of Europe and Eurasia Policy at Human Rights First, where she advocates for U.S. foreign policy that is accountable under human rights principles.  

Melissa is the former Moscow-based Regional Director of the ABA Rule of Law Initiative where she directed rule of law and  human rights-focused programming in Russia and several other countries. She has worked in Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan on issues related to rule of law and human rights.