Events

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.

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PEN America Presents: A Reading in Solidarity with the Belarusian People

On October 16, at 6pm EST, PEN America is organizing a reading of contemporary Belarusian literature in support of the Belarusian people fighting for democracy.

On August 9, 2020, Belarus, a small European country often referred to as “the last dictatorship of Europe,” erupted in protest following the results of a fraudulent presidential election. Over the last two months, the people of Belarus have taken to the streets to call for free and fair elections, with their peaceful efforts met with unspeakable police brutality, violence, and a slew of illegal detainments. Among those facing intimidation from Belarusian authorities is Svetlana Alexievich, Nobel Prize-winning author and president of PEN Belarus, who is a part of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s Coordinating Council. In solidarity with PEN Belarus and all Belarusian people, PEN America is organizing a reading of contemporary Belarusian literature by our Members and friends, including Masha Gessen, Ayad Akhtar, Jennifer Egan, and Valzhyna Mort.

This event is presented in collaboration with the Open Society University Network and City of Asylum.

The reading will be webcast via Zoom. Please register here.

Belarus: The Battle For Free Expression 2020

On July 15, PEN AmericaPEN Belarus, and Free Russia Foundation will host a discussion on the ongoing political crackdowns in Belarus leading up to the country’s August 9, 2020 presidential election. In addition to exploring the recent wide-scale attacks on political opposition and the press, the conversation will examine broader trends of suppression of freedom of expression and the public’s right to information in Belarus, along with President Lukashenka’s relationship with the Kremlin.

The live Webex session, which will take place on Wednesday, July 15 at 10am EST / 16:00 CET, will include an extensive Q&A session. You may submit your questions in advance at registration or during the session.

In order to attend, please register before the event.

On June 19, Belarusian authorities arrested hundreds of opposition supporters who had lined the streets of Minsk to support petitions for opposition leader campaigns in the upcoming election. Many of those arrested were journalists and other members of the media. Among those who remain imprisoned since June 19 is prominent opposition leader Viktar Babaryka – the prime opposition candidate in the upcoming presidential election. President Lukashenka has so far ignored requests for Babaryka’s release.

Featured speakers will include Taciana Niadbaj, a poet, translator, and current executive director of PEN Belarus; Franak Viacorka, a Belarusian journalist and media expert; Natalia Arno, president of Free Russia Foundation; and Polina Sadovskaya, Eurasia program director at PEN America. The event will be moderated by Michael Weiss, senior editor for The Daily Beast and a frequent national security analyst and contributor for CNN.

REGISTER HERE

International Online Forum “The Kremlin’s Implementation of Hybrid Deportation in Crimea: National Purges and Political Repression”

On Thursday, May 21, 2020, at 16:00 (Kyiv time) / 9:00 AM (Washington, DC) an international online forum will be held with the participation of human rights activists and scholars from Kyiv, Simferopol, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, and Washington DC.

Forum participants will talk about the Kremlin’s implementation of hybrid deportation of Crimean Tatars and public activists on the peninsula, for which a whole system of political repression has been launched. The issue of defining the criteria for the status of a “political prisoner” will be raised and lists will be formed. The participants of the online forum will also announce the work on the introduction of new international sanctions against Russian officials who are directly involved in the organization of political persecution. Human rights activists will spread the awareness of the global petition to the UN, the Council of Europe, the European Union, and the OSCE to save the lives of thousands of illegally detained in Russia, the Russian-occupied Crimea, and part of the Donbas from the threat of COVID-19 infection in prisons. The petition can be signed by following the link.

Speakers:

Oleksandra Matviychuk, Chairwoman of the Center for Civil Liberties NGO (Kyiv);
Sergey Davidis, Head of the Political Prisoners Support Program, Member of the Council at the Memorial Human Rights Center (Moscow);
Natalia Arno, President and Founder of the Free Russia Foundation (Washington);
Ilya Nuzov, Head of the Eastern Europe-Central Asia Desk at the International Federation for Human Rights (Paris);
Lilia Hemedzhy, a lawyer of the Crimean Solidarity initiative (Simferopol);
Wilfried Jilge, a historian of Eastern-Central Europe and Ukraine (Berlin);
Simon Papuashvili, Programme Director of the International Partnership for Human Rights (Brussels).

Event languages: Ukrainian and Russian.

The international online forum will be held on the second anniversary of the arrest of Server Mustafayev, coordinators of the Crimean Solidarity, which has united the relatives of political prisoners and activists in the occupied Crimea. According to his colleagues, he was the engine that drove the association. Since May 2018, Server has been held behind bars.
The event is organized by the global campaign #PrisonersVoise (formerly #SaveOlegSentsov) as part of the Week of Solidarity with the Crimean Tatars “Common Pain. Common History.” Informational support was provided by the PR agency KRASNI.

Live broadcast is available at the link.

America: Putin’s Oligarchs’ Playground

WEDNESDAY APRIL 29, 2020

11:00 – 12:00 EST / 17:00 – 18:00 CET

LIVE WEBCAST – AMERICA: PUTIN’S OLIGARCHS’ PLAYGROUND

Register for free to receive the webcast url

America has become a safe harbor for incredibly wealthy men who made billions from their post-Soviet homelands. For some, the U.S. offered a fresh start to those seeking to leave behind bad reputations, political risks or legal problems in their home countries. For others, it was a society that allowed them to safely park their assets all while continuing to indulge the leaders they sought to escape.

Enter the twenty-first century and the posse of Putin’s oligarchs: Deripaska, Malofeev, Blavatnik, Vekselberg, Yakunin, and Prigozhin with their sacks of money, their blandishments, and, when necessary, their legal threats.

These are men used to making their own rules – including rule No. 1: Don’t call them oligarchs. They come from their own closed societies to bask in the freedom offered in the U.S. But, in their own ways, they insist on tweaks to our society to suit their needs and habits. If their dark pasts or motives are challenged by journalists, threats to investigators and reporters often follow. To launder their reputations, they have been buying up experts and think-tanks, and even bribing politicians. This is a story of powerful men using seemingly unlimited resources to purchase their own version of the American dream – with a distinctly Soviet-style twist.

Please join Free Russia Foundation at 11:00 EST / 17:00 CET on April 29, 2020 for the report launch “Kill the Messenger: How Russian and Post-Soviet Oligarchs Undermine the First Amendment” and a discussion of how Putin’s oligarchs are working to reshape American society by corrupting its values and institutions, and what can be done to curtail their brutish ways

With
The report’s author
Casey Michel
Investigative Reporter

Moderated by
Michael Weiss
Director for Special Investigations
Free Russia Foundation

Followed by
Q&A with the audience

Register for free to receive the webcast url

Conceptualizing Malign Influence of Putin’s Russia in Europe

WEDNESDAY APRIL 15

10:00 AM WASHINGTON, DC / 16:00 BRUSSELS

ONLINE PRESENTATION OF RESEARCH PAPER “CONCEPTUALIZING MALIGN INFLUENCE OF PUTIN’S RUSSIA IN EUROPE”

 

The link for the presentation will be available upon registration. Please REGISTER HERE

Today’s expert literature on the Kremlin’s subversive activities in Europe is often confusing in terms of the concepts and definitions used by authors in their reports and analyses. The paper aims to remedy this shortcoming by providing a comprehensive theoretical framework for analyzing the malign influence of Putin’s Russia in Europe in the most efficient way.

The paper highlights major areas in which actors of Putin’s Russia exercise malign influence, identify main categories of Russian operators and their European facilitators that conduct or help conduct the Kremlin’s political warfare against the West, and, finally, describes vulnerabilities of European states to malign influence of Putin’s Russia.

Speakers:

– Anton Shekhovtsov, FRF Senior Fellow

– Melissa Hooper, Director of Europe and Eurasia Policy at Human Rights First

– Maria Snegovaya, Adjunct Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis

Moderator:

– Grigory Frolov, FRF Vice President, Programs and Development

Russia’s return to the Council of Europe: What balance between rights and obligations?

NIEUWSPOORT INTERNATIONAL PRESS CENTRE

10 LANGE POTEN 2511 CL THE HAGUE

WEDNESDAY 11 DECEMBER

 09:00 – 14:00

Free admission but please register here

Enquiries: natalia.arno@4freerussia.org

This summer, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe voted by 118 to 62 to restore the full rights of the Russian Federation in Europe’s oldest pan-continental body dedicated to upholding human rights. They key argument from proponents was that membership in the Council serves the interests of Russian citizens, keeping them under the protection of the Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and under the continued jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights. “Russia belongs in the Council of Europe – with all the rights and obligations that entails,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, the driving-force behind Russia’s return, told journalists as the decision was taken.

Now that the rights have been restored, it is time to talk about the obligations. Across the spectrum of freedoms guaranteed by the Convention, the Russian government is falling far short of the standards expected of a Council of Europe member state. Elections on both national and local level lack genuine competition, as witnessed most recently in this year’s legislative polls in Moscow that saw the removal of major opposition candidates. Peaceful demonstrations are violently dispersed by police, with protesters beaten and arrested. The judicial system is used by the government to punish political opponents and members of undesirable religious groups: the Memorial Human Rights Centre counts at least 304 people who correspond to the Council of Europe’s criteria of political prisoners. Increasingly, murder is used as a tool of silencing dissent. Nearly five years after the assassination of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, the organizers and masterminds remain unidentified and unindicted, with the Russian government refusing all cooperation with international oversight procedures – including in the Council of Europe itself.

On 11th December, political leaders and human rights advocates from the Netherlands and Russia will meet at the Nieuwspoort International Press Centre in The Hague to discuss the risks and benefits of Russia’s return to the Council of Europe, and mechanisms that are available to keep the Russian government to account over the violations of its international commitments.

Agenda:

09:00  Registration and coffee

10:00  Panel One: Human rights, rule of law, democracy: is Russia meeting Council of Europe standards?

Vladimir Kara-Murza, Russian Opposition Politician, Chairman of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom

Sergei Davidis, Head of the Political Prisoner Support Programme, Memorial Human Rights Centre, Russia

Vadim Prokhorov, Lawyer for the Family of Boris Nemtsov, Former Member of the Russian Central Electoral Commission

Natalia Arno, Russian Democracy Activist, President of the Free Russia Foundation

11:00  Panel Two: Russia’s return to the Council of Europe: what benefits and risks?

Lize Glas, Assistant Professor of International and European Law, Radboud University, The Netherlands

Scott Martin, International Human Rights Lawyer, Global Rights Compliance, The Hague

12:00  Lunch break

13:00  How can Western governments and civil society respond?

Jan Marinus Wiersma, Senior Visiting Fellow, Clingendael Institute, Member of the European Parliament, 1994–2009

Harry Hummel, Senior Policy Advisor, Netherlands Helsinki Committee

Jelger Groeneveld, Secretary of the Department of International Cooperation, D66 Party, The Netherlands

14:00  Event concludes

Putin’s Nord Stream 2 Pipeline and Its Real Costs to Europe

COALITION OF PRO-DEMOCRACY RUSSIANS

Activatica * Free Russia Foundation * Free Russia House Kyiv * Forum Russischsprachiger Europäer e.V. * Solidarus * Stowarzyszenie “Za Wolną Rosję”* Russie-Libertes * Herzen Foundation

invite you to a conference

PUTIN’S NORD STREAM 2 PIPELINE AND ITS REAL COSTS TO EUROPE

learn more at RethinkTheDeal.eu

OCTOBER 10, 2019

9:00 AM to 15:30 PM

THE WESTIN GRAND BERLIN

FRIEDRICHSTRASSE 158-164
10117 BERLIN

REGISTER HERE

The Nord Stream 2 project – that delivers no new gas to Europe, exploits political and strategic vulnerabilities, increases supply risks, destroys nature and drives members of the EU apart – is quickly advancing toward its completion.

Yet no public discussion of this important decision has been held where the German people can evaluate the basics of the Nord Stream 2 on its merits.

You’ve heard from the gas lobbyists, the gas companies and the Kremlin (the same Kremlin that has carried out yet another assassination on the EU soil). What you won’t hear from them are the environmental, security and financial risks of completing the pipeline. There is another side.

Please join us for this open forum where prominent European energy experts, environmental scientists, strategists and human rights defenders examine the true objectives and costs of the Nord Stream 2.

Free Admission. Registration is required.

With questions, email: natalyaa@4freerussia.org

AGENDA:

08:30 – 09:00 Registration and Breakfast

09:00 – 09:15 Opening Remarks

09:15 – 10:30 Panel I: Examining the Nord Stream 2 Deal on Its Merits

10:30 – 10:45 Coffee Break

10:45 – 12:00 Panel II: Environmental Impact of NS2

12:00 – 12:30 Buffet Lunch

12:30 – 13:45 Panel III: Economic Implications of NS2 for Germany and the EU

13:45 – 14:00 Coffee Break

14:00 – 15:15 Panel IV: NS2 as Politics by Other Means

15:15 – 15:30 Closing Remarks

15:30 Adjournment

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Natalia Arno, President, Free Russia Foundation
  • Ralf Fuecks, Managing Director, Zentrum Liberale Moderne
  • Rebecca Harms, former Member of the European Parliament
  • Gustav Gressel, Senior Policy Fellow, ECFR
  • Ilya Zaslavskiy, Head of Research, Free Russia Foundation
  • Evgeniya Chirikova, Environmental activist, Activatica
  • Mikhail Korchemkin, East European Gas Analysis
  • Margarita Assenova, Associate Scholar, Center for European Policy Analysis; Director of Programs for the Balkans, the Caucasus and Central Asia, the Jamestown Foundation
  • Alan Riley, Senior Fellow, the Institute for Statecraft in London
  • Julian Röpcke, BILD
  • Marko Mihkelson, Deputy Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee of Estonian Parliament
  • Svitlana Zalishchuk, former MP of Ukrainian Parliament
  • Olena Pavlenko, President of DiXi Group
  • Sijbren de Jong, SHAPE NATO
  • Boris Reitschuster, Journalist
  • Jens Høvsgaard, Danish author
Putin’s Nord Stream 2 Pipeline and Its Real Costs to Europe

COALITION OF PRO-DEMOCRACY RUSSIANS
Activatica * Free Russia Foundation * Free Russia House Kyiv * Forum Russischsprachiger Europäer e.V. * Solidarus * Stowarzyszenie Za Wolną Rosję* Herzen Foundation * Russie-Libertés

invite you to a conference

PUTIN’S NORD STREAM 2 PIPELINE AND ITS REAL COSTS TO EUROPE

learn more at RethinkTheDeal.eu

September 26, 2019

9:00 am to 3:30 pm

Hilton the Hague hotel

Zeestraat 35, 2518

The Hague, the Netherlands

REGISTER HERE

The Nord Stream 2 project – that delivers no new gas to Europe, exploits political and strategic vulnerabilities, increases supply risks, destroys nature and drives members of the EU apart – is quickly advancing toward its completion.

Yet no public discussion of this important decision has been held where the Dutch people can evaluate the basics of the Nord Stream 2 on its merits.

You’ve heard from the gas lobbyists, the gas companies and the Kremlin (the same Kremlin that still won’t tell the truth about MH 17). What you won’t hear from them are the environmental, security and financial risks of completing the pipeline. There is another side.

Please join us for this open forum where prominent European energy experts, environmental scientists, strategists and human rights defenders examine the true objectives and costs of the Nord Stream 2.

Free Admission. Registration is required. REGISTER HERE

With questions, email: natalyaa@4freerussia.org

AGENDA:

09:00 – 09:15 Opening remarks:

  • Natalia Arno, President of Free Russia Foundation
  • Richard Hoogland, D66 Board Member Department International Cooperation

09:15 – 10:30 Examining the Nord Stream 2 Deal on Its Merits

Moderator: Ilya Zaslavskiy, Head of Research, FRF

Speakers:

  • Sjoerd Sjoerdsma, D66 MP
  • Bram van Ojik, politician and diplomat of the GreenLeft party
  • Mikhail Krutikhin, Partner, RusEnergy consulting agency
  • Jan Frederik Braun, Strategic Energy Analyst, the Hague Center for Strategic Studies
  • Can Ögütcü, Lead analyst for energy security, NATO SHAPE

10:30 – 10:45 Coffee Break

10:45 – 12:00 Environmental Impact of NS2

Moderator: Jan Frederik Braun, Strategic Energy Analyst, the Hague Center for Strategic Studies

Speakers:

  • Evgeniya Chirikova, Environmental activist, Activatica
  • Scott Martin, Global Rights Compliance
  • Dmitry Berezhkov, former Vice President, Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North
  • Stephan Singer, Senior Advisor Global Energy Policies, Climate Action Network International

12:00 – 12:30 Lunch

12:30 – 13:45 Economic implications of NS2 for the Netherlands and the EU

Moderator: Roman Nitsovych, Research Director, DiXi Group

Speakers:

  • Mikhail Korchemkin, East European Gas Analysis
  • Prof. Alan Riley, Senior Fellow, the Institute for Statecraft in London
  • Borbála Takácsné Tóth, Senior Research Associate, Regional Centre for Energy Policy Research

13:45 – 14:00 Coffee break

14:00 – 15:15 NS2 as Kremlin Politics by Other Means

Moderator: Tony van der Togt, Associate Senior Research Fellow Clingendael

Speakers:

  • Rem Korteweg, Senior Research Fellow, Clingendael Institute
  • Svitlana Zalishchuk, former MP of Ukrainian Parliament
  • Jan Šír, Assistant Professor, Department of Russian and East European Studies, Charles University in Prague
  • Ilya Zaslavskiy, Head of Research, FRF

15:15 – 15:30 Closing remarks:

  • Natalia Arno, President of Free Russia Foundation
Surveillance For Sale: How China and Russia Export Repression Technology

Tuesday, September 17
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. EDT
(Light refreshments served at 10:00 a.m.)

National Endowment for Democracy
1025 F Street NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20004

REGISTER HERE

Welcome and Opening Remarks:

Daniel O’Maley, Deputy Editor and Digital Policy Specialist, Center for International Media Assistance

Speakers:

Natalia Arno, President, Free Russia Foundation
Ron Deibert, Director, The Citizen Lab
David Kaye, U.N. Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression
Valentin Weber, University of Oxford and OTF Information Controls Fellow

Moderator:

Laura Cunningham, Principal Director, Open Technology Fund

The rapid proliferation of censorship and surveillance technology around the world is threatening human rights. These technologies are no longer limited to countries who have the resources and technical capabilities to build them from scratch. Authoritarian governments across the globe are acquiring state of the art repression technology at an alarming rate. These technologies are then used to target journalists and human rights defenders, stifle free speech, and undermine democracy.

Authored by OTF Information Controls Fellow Valentin Weber, a new research report to be released at the event tracks the export of Chinese and Russian censorship and surveillance technology around the world, providing fresh insight into the importance of telecommunications infrastructure to modern authoritarianism.

This report adds to a growing body of research that demonstrates how widespread this technology has become and that the sources range from Western companies to those closely affiliated with the Chinese and Russian governments. The panel will explore the alarming rate with which this sophisticated technology has been employed to silence dissent, the widespread harms this proliferation has caused, and what can be done to counter it.

Speaker Bios:

Natalia Arno is the president and founder of Free Russia Foundation, a nonprofit and nonpartisan US-based nongovernmental organization that informs US policy makers on events in Russia in real time and supports the formulation of an effective and sustainable US policy on Russia. In 2004, Natalia joined the International Republican Institute, a US nonprofit nonpartisan organization advancing democracy worldwide. She worked there for ten years, six of which were as Russia Country Director. In December 2009, Natalia represented Russia in the World Summit of World Leaders in Geneva, Switzerland. Forced to leave Russia as a result of her pro-democracy work, Natalia founded the Free Russia Foundation with a number of other pro-democracy exiled activists in 2014. The organization serves as a voice for those who cannot speak under the repression of the current Russian leadership.

Ron Deibert is professor of political science and director of the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy. He was a co-founder and a principal investigator of the OpenNet Initiative (2003-2014) and Information Warfare Monitor (2003-2012) projects. Mr. Deibert was one of the founders and (former) VP of global policy and outreach for Psiphon, one of the world’s leading digital censorship circumvention services. He has published numerous articles, chapters, and books on issues related technology, media, and world politics. He was one of the authors of the landmark Tracking Ghostnet (2009) and the Shadows in the Cloud (2010) reports, which documented two separate major global cyber espionage networks, and the Great Cannon report, which documented a new offensive “cyber weapon” co-located with China’s Great Firewall. He is the author of Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace (2013).

David Kaye is a clinical professor of law at the University of California, Irvine, and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. His 2019 book, Speech Police: The Global Struggle to Govern the Internet (Columbia Global Reports), explores the ways in which companies, governments and activists struggle to define the rules for online expression. Mr. Kaye’s most recent report to the UN Human Rights Council addressed the challenge of regulating the private surveillance industry.

Valentin Weber is a DPhil Candidate in Cyber Security at the Centre for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security, University of Oxford. Mr. Weber is interested in how the cyber domain is changing conflicts and state strategies. His current research focuses on the integration of cyber and grand strategy, as well as on the role of information controls in state strategies. He previously worked for the International Security Department at Chatham House.

The Kremlin Influence Campaigns

IS PROPAGANDA PROTECTED SPEECH?

FINDING PRACTICAL AND PRINCIPLED APPROACHES TO COUNTERING RUSSIAN INFLUENCE CAMPAIGNS WHILE UPHOLDING THE SANCTIFY OF FREE SPEECH

Hosted by Free Russia Foundation

FRIDAY, JUNE 28, 2019

THE HILTON HOTEL

Zeestraat 35, 2518

The Hague, Netherlands

9:00 to 14:30

 

Is state-sponsored disinformation a protected form of free speech? How do we define its limits and what is the available recourse when it harms people and institutions? On June 28, 2019, at The Hague, Free Russia Foundation hosts an important discussion on the dichotomy between speech rights and state-sponsored disinformation campaigns.

As part of this event, we will unveil the new report by the U.S. Library of Congress “Limits on Freedom of Expression”, examining the scope of protection extended to freedom of speech in thirteen selected countries: Argentina • Brazil • Canada • China • France• Germany • Israel • Japan • Netherlands• New Zealand • Sweden • Ukraine • United Kingdom. The report focuses on the limits of protection that may apply to the right to interrupt or affect in any other way public speech. The report also addresses the availability of mechanisms to control foreign broadcasters working on behalf of foreign governments.

The conference will feature an exhibit of two prominent Russian photographers – Denis Bochkarev and Konstantin Rubakhin – taking a close look at the Russian society and youth.

The conference will be moderated by Michael Weiss, U.S. journalist and author.

AGENDA:

8:30 – 9:00 Registration and Breakfast Buffet

9:00 – 9:05 Opening Remarks

Natalia Arno, President, Free Russia Foundation

9:05-9:25 Keynote Remarks

David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Speech

Richard Hoogland, D66 Board member International Cooperation

9:25-10:25 Panel 1. The Role of the Media in Combating Propaganda

The Kremlin has sought to use a variety of disinformation campaigns to inject its narrative into the public discourse via legitimate media outlets around the world. Journalists and publishers have found themselves as unwitting transmitters of state-sponsored campaigns against the West or have had to spent countless hours discerning the truth from barefaced lies. This panel of distinguished journalists and media experts will discuss these growing challenges and ways in which they have changed the news media.

Moderator:

Leon Willems, Free Press Unlimited

Panelists:

Roman Dobrokhotov, the Insider

Vasily Gatov, USC Annenberg Center

Luke Hardingthe Guardian

Evgeny Kisilev, Russian/ Ukrainian political commentator

Thomas O. Melia, PEN America

Peter Pomerantsev, Arena Initiative, LSE

Olga Romanova, Russian journalist and human rights defender

10:25 – 10:35 Coffee break

10:35-11:35 Panel 2.  Targets of the Kremlin’s Disinformation Campaigns.

Disinformation levies a real cost: it undermines the integrity of democratic institutions, destabilizes societies, and seeks to outright harm the Kremlin’s critics.

This panel will feature individuals who have been targeted by Russian-state sponsored disinformation campaigns. The panelists will share their experiences including ways in which their lives have been impacted, and ways they have defended themselves. They will discuss the role the Kremlin has played in labeling those who disagree with its policies as traitors and how that has dehumanized them and put a target on their back.

Moderator:

Michael Weiss, U.S. journalist and author

Panelists:

Alena Balaba, Odessa Media Center

Tatiana Gerasimova, Гідність (Dignity), Ukraine

Vladimir Kara-Murza, Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom

Martin Kragh, Swedish Institute of International Affairs

Marina Litvinenko, Justice for Litvinenko

Ilona Sokolova, International Public Tribunal

Liz Wahl, U.S. journalist

11:35 – 11:45 Coffee break

11:45 – 12:45 Panel 3. Digital and Civic Solutions.

How can the information space be protected from state sponsors of propaganda? What are some safety mechanisms guarding millions of social media exchanges each day?

Our panelists will consider the propaganda impact, such as populations of social media users unable to discern state-advanced narratives from bona-fide news produced by objective news organizations. This panel will take an in-depth look at the phenomena of state-sponsored disinformation campaigns, how they shape the contemporary information space, the use of social media platforms, the impact of false accounts and bots that have become prevalent and served as amplifiers for state-run media storylines. The panelists will share their experiences operating on this new digital-media battlefield and discuss the impact of inauthentic digital content.

Moderator:

Kristina Vaiciunaite, European Endowment for Democracy

Panelists:

Nighat Dad, Digital Rights Foundation

Jens-Henrik Jeppesen, Center for Democracy and Technology

Oleg Kozlovsky, Amnesty International

Jeremy Lamoreaux, Brigham Young University

Joanna Szymanska, Article 19

Nathalie Vogel, European Values Think Tank

Ilya Zaslavskiy, Free Russia Foundation

12:45-13:15 Lunch break

13:15 – 14:15 Panel 4.  Legal and Policy Mechanisms for Combating State Disinformation.

While the rights of protected speech are established, their limits are less so.  As part of the 2009 Treaty of Lisbon, all EU members have agreed to uphold the freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, of procession and, freedom of demonstration. However, there are great variations of speech protections within national constitutions, and for the most part, the limits of speech, or legal precedents that establish where the speech of one person infringes on the rights of another are not well-defined.

Our panel of legal and human rights experts will examine the clash of enumerated individual speech rights against the boundaries of collective rights of a state actors. The panel will then take stock of ways in which states and other governing bodies such as the U.N. and the E.U. have established limits on hate speech, defamation and libel, and articulated anti-obscenity laws and how they can be used to limit the harm rendered by state-sponsored propaganda.  Finally, the panelists will discuss legal recourse options available to those targeted by disinformation campaigns.

Moderator:

Dani Mitov, NDI

Panelists:

Ralf Fuecks, Zentrum Liberale Moderne

Jelger Groeneveld, D66

Padraig Hughes, Media Legal Defense Initiative

David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Speech

Miriam Lexmann, MEP Elect

Scott Martin, Global Rights Compliance

Marko Mihkelson, Estonian MP

14:15 – 14:30 Closing remarks

Ralf Fuecks, Zentrum Liberale Moderne

Thomas O. Melia, PEN America

Free Russia Foundation (www.4freerussia.org) is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the vision of a free, democratic, prosperous and peaceful Russia. We have centers in Kyiv, Ukraine; Tbilisi, Georgia; Washington, DC; and San Jose, California. We are a non-partisan organization and are not affiliated with any other organizations or governments.

Strategies to Defend Democratic Institutions and the Rule of Law in the West

Strategies to Defend Democratic Institutions and the Rule of Law in the West

Hosted by Free Russia Foundation, Human Rights First and Henry Jackson Foundation

June 13, 2019

The U.S. Capitol Visitors Center, Room SVC 215

9:30 am to 2:00 pm

Please join us for a public discussion of the Kremlin’s attacks on legal institutions and processes in the West, and consideration of effective counter strategies that can be adopted by government agencies, social media platforms and the civil society. Featuring Sen. Whitehouse, Rep. Keating, Rep. Kinzinger, Rep. Rooney, Daniel Kimmage, Principal Deputy Coordinator, Global Engagement Center, Department of State, current and former military and intelligence officials, and social media companies’ representatives.

At the conference, Free Russia Foundation will release its groundbreaking report detailing Russian attempts to influence Western judicial outcomes and the Kremlin’s active measures campaigns against Western policymaking institutions. Report’s authors Ilya Zaslavskiy, Head of Research, Free Russia Foundation (Russia, US), Jakub Janda, Director, European Values Think Tank (the Czech Republic), Martin Vladimirov, Analyst, Center for the Study of Democracy (Bulgaria), John Lough, Associate Fellow, Chatham House (UK) and Neil Barnett, Founder, Istok Associates (UK) will discuss the results of their investigations in a Q&A session with the audience.

Space limited. RSVP required. Government-issued IDs/drivers license/passports required to enter the venue. With questions email lucie.menna-guettaa@4freerussia.org.

Register here

AGENDA:

Moderated by Todd Rosenblum, National Security Outcomes

9:30 am – Welcome and Opening Remarks

9:40 – 10:15 am – Keynote Addresses

Senator Whitehouse

Rep. Keating

Rep. Kinzinger

Daniel Kimmage, Principal Deputy Coordinator, Global Engagement Center, Department of State

Rep. Rooney

10:15 – 11:15 am – Panel One: Attacks on Legal Institutions and Processes in the West

Melissa Hooper, HRF

Ilya Zaslavskiy, FRF

John Lough, Chatham House

Ed Lemon, Wilson Center and Daniel Morgan Graduate School

Neil Barnett, Istok Associates

11:15 – 11:25 am – Coffee Break

11:25 – 12:25 pm – Panel Two: Russian Active Measures and Manipulation of Western Policy

Jeremy Lamoreaux, Brigham Young University – Idaho

Martin Vladimirov, Center for the study of Democracy

Jakub Janda, European Values Think Tank

Clay Fuller, AEI

Anna Borshchevskaya, Senior Fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

12:25 – 12:35 pm – Coffee Break

12:35 – 1:35 pm – Panel Three: Effective Counter Strategies and Lessons Learned

Andrew Gully, Jigsaw, Head of R&D

Roman Pyatkov, Headquarters Air Force, Checkmate at the Pentagon

Krista Taubert, Head of World News and Current Affairs, Yle (Finland)

Bryan Bender, Defense Editor, Politico

Chris Marsh, Joint Special Operations University

1:35 pm – Closing Remarks

David Kramer, FRF Board Chair

Miriam Lanskoy, NED

About Free Russia Foundation

Free Russia Foundation is an independent nonprofit organization working to:

Advance the vision of a democratic, prosperous and peaceful Russia governed by the rule of law by educating the next generation of Russian leaders committed to these ideals;

Strengthen civil society in Russia and defend human rights activists persecuted by the Russian government; and

Support formulation of an effective and sustainable Russia policy in the United States and Europe by educating policy makers and informing public debate.

Read more at www.4freerussia.org

About Human Rights First

Human Rights First is an independent advocacy and action organization that challenges the United States to live up to its ideals.

Read more at www.humanrightsfirst.org

About The Henry M. Jackson Foundation

The Henry M. Jackson Foundation fosters effective leadership on key issues of national and global importance, particularly: Climate change, energy, and natural resources Human rights International affairs education Public service.

Read more at www.hmjackson.org

A Timeline: The Making of Boris Nemtsov Plaza

On May 5, 2018, following the Congressional Review Period, the Boris Nemtsov Plaza Designation Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-276), passed by the Washington D.C. City Council and signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser, became official law, permanently establishing Boris Nemtsov Plaza to honor the Russian opposition leader assassinated in 2015. Nemtsov Plaza is directly in front of the Russian Embassy.

The establishment of Nemtsov Plaza is an exceptional achievement that brought together a diverse cross-section of leaders joined by a common set of values, a common vision for a free Russia, and a common outrage over the murder of the country’s most prominent and effective advocate for freedom. World Affairs publishes the timeline of the making of Boris Nemtsov Plaza to establish a permanent record for the effort, as well as to pay tribute to World Affairs blogger and friend, Vladimir Kara-Murza, who played an indispensible role in designating Nemtsov Plaza as part of his continuing efforts to commemorate his friend and colleague.

-The Editors

February 27, 2015
Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov is assassinated on Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge in Moscow, steps away from the Kremlin.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Vladimir Kara-Murza, June 6, 2016

June 6, 2016
Vladimir Kara-Murza, longtime friend and colleague of Nemtsov and chairman of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom, meets with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) to discuss the idea of naming the street in front of the Russian Embassy in Washington D.C. to honor Boris Nemtsov.

December 21, 2016
Vladimir Kara-Murza meets with Jamie Fly, Counselor for Foreign and National Security Affairs for Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), to discuss the idea of naming the street in front of the Russian Embassy in Washington D.C. to honor Boris Nemtsov.

February 26, 2017
Bethany Poulos, Legislative Assistant to Senator Rubio, delivers the Senator’s message at a rally in front of the Russian Embassy in Washington D.C. to mark the second anniversary of Boris Nemtsov’s assassination promising to “continue working to ensure Boris’ legacy is never forgotten.”

February 27, 2017
On the second anniversary of Nemtsov’s assassination, Senator Rubio introduces bill S.459 “to designate the area between the intersections of Wisconsin Avenue, Northwest and Davis Street, Northwest and Wisconsin Avenue, Northwest and Edmunds Street, Northwest in Washington, District of Columbia, as ‘Boris Nemtsov Plaza’.”

February 28, 2017
Senator McCain cosponsors S.459.

Vladimir Kara Murza, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), March 13, 2017

March 13, 2017
Vladimir Kara-Murza meets with Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, to discuss the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation. Senator Johnson cosponsors S.459.

March 15, 2017
Op-ed
by Vladimir Kara-Murza in the Washington Post on the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation. “There will come a day when Russia takes pride in having Boris Nemtsov’s name on its embassy letterhead,” Kara-Murza wrote. “It will also be grateful to those who, in difficult times, did not allow it to forget.”

Senator Christopher Coons (D-DE) cosponsors S.459, becoming the first Democrat to support the legislation.

March 16, 2017
Vladimir Kara-Murza meets with Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) to discuss the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation.

March 20, 2017
Vladimir Kara-Murza meets with Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) to discuss the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation.

Evgenia Kara-Murza, Vladimir Kara-Murza, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), March 30, 2017

March 30, 2017
Vladimir Kara-Murza and his wife Evgenia meet with Senator Rubio to thank him for his leadership on the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation.

April 3, 2017
Representative Ros-Lehtinen and her Democratic colleague, Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY), introduce H.R.1863, the House counterpart bill to S.459 on the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation.

Vladimir Kara-Murza, Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), April 4, 2017

April 4, 2017
Representative Peter Roskam (R-IL) cosponsors H. R. 1863.

Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) cosponsors H. R. 1863.

Vladimir Kara-Murza meets with Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) to discuss the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation.

April 5, 2017
Senator Durbin cosponsors S.459.

April 13, 2017
Vladimir Kara-Murza is interviewed on Sky News about the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation.

April 24, 2017
Senator Wicker cosponsors S.459.

Vladimir Kara-Murza meets with the staff of Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) to discuss the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation.

May 4, 2017
Representative Gerald Connolly (D-VA) cosponsors H.R.1863.

Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC) cosponsors H.R.1863.

May 10, 2017
Senator Shaheen cosponsors S.459.

May 17, 2017
U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs marks up S.459. The legislation passes unanimously.

June 5, 2017
Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) cosponsors S.459.

June 7, 2017
Representative Peter King (R-NY) cosponsors H.R.1863.

June 26, 2017
S.459 is favorably reported by the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs without amendment; S. Rept. 115-119.

S. 459 is placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 156.

July 11, 2017
Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, places a hold on S.459.

July 25, 2017
Vladimir Kara-Murza meets with the staff of Senator Corker to discuss the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation.

July 27, 2017
Senator Rubio meets with Senator Corker to discuss the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation.

August 2, 2017
Vladimir Kara-Murza meets with Senator Corker to discuss the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Vladimir Kara-Murza, August 2, 2017

August 2, 2017
Vladimir Kara-Murza meets with Senator Rubio to discuss further steps with regard to the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation.

August 9, 2017
Conference call between Bethany Poulos, Vladimir Kara-Murza, and Zhanna Nemtsova (Boris Nemtsov’s daughter) with Nicole Rentz, Legislative Director for D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), to discuss the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation.

September 14, 2017
Vladimir Kara-Murza, Nemtsov family attorney Vadim Prokhorov, and Free Russia Foundation President Natalia Arno meet with Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) to discuss the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation.

September 15, 2017
Zhanna Nemtsova sends a letter to Senator Corker asking him to lift the hold on S.459 and allow the bill to proceed on the Senate floor. “All public initiatives for an official commemoration of my father… have been blocked by the Russian authorities,” the letter read. “I hope Mr. Putin does not have a similar veto in other countries. S.459, a bipartisan measure, is not directed against anyone. Its aim… is to commemorate a Russian statesman who gave his life for the freedom of his country.” The letter receives no response.

September 19, 2017
Senator Gardner cosponsors S.459.

October 23, 2017
Meeting between Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Vladimir Kara-Murza, and National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman to discuss the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation. Delegate Holmes Norton offers her support for the initiative and asks the D.C. Council to take the lead.

October 31, 2017
D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) and Councilmember Cheh introduce B22-0539, the Boris Nemtsov Plaza Designation Act of 2017, “to symbolically designate the unit block of Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., between Davis Street, N.W., and Edmunds Street, N.W., in Ward 3, as Boris Nemtsov Plaza.”

The meeting in Senator Marco Rubio’s office to discuss the next steps on the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation. Participants include (L to R) Vladimir Kara-Murza, Senator Christopher Coons, Senator Rubio, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, and D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh. November 1, 2017.

November 1, 2017
Meeting
in Senator Rubio’s office convenes Senator Rubio, Senator Coons, Chairman Mendelson, Councilmember Cheh, Vladimir Kara-Murza, Bethany Poulos, Senator Rubio’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor Robert Zarate, and others to discuss the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation and further actions by the D.C. Council to enact the legislation.

November 7, 2017
B22-0539 referred to the D.C. Council’s Committee of the Whole. Sydney Hawthorne, Legislative Counsel to the Committee, is the lead staff member on the legislation.

November 30, 2017
In its editorial the Washington Post backs the Boris Nemtsov Plaza Designation Act and calls upon D.C. Councilmembers to demonstrate “that they are less intimidated by Mr. Putin than are their counterparts on Capitol Hill.”

D.C. Council, Committee of the Whole, hearing on the Boris Nemtsov Plaza Designation Act, December 6, 2017

December 6, 2017
Public hearing
on B22-0539 in the D.C. Council’s Committee of the Whole. Vladimir Kara-Murza and Nemtsova testify in support of the bill. “The Russian authorities are fighting Boris Nemtsov even after his death,” Vladimir Kara-Murza said at the hearing. “The Moscow city government has rejected all public initiatives for a commemoration… Several times a month, always in the middle of the night, the Moscow municipal services pillage the [makeshift] memorial on the bridge; grown men in uniforms stealing flowers under the cover of darkness.” Nemtsova expressed “profound gratitude to Members of the D.C. Council” for the initiative to commemorate her father. Councilmember Cheh called on her colleagues “to show solidarity with those around the world who make the extraordinary effort—under adverse circumstances, including risking and losing their lives—to try to bring democracy to their people.”

Senator Rubio (R-FL) applauds the D.C. Council for taking up the Boris Nemtsov Plaza legislation and thanks Chairman Mendelson and Councilmember Cheh “for leading this effort at the city level and bringing it closer to a reality.”

December 19, 2017
D.C. Council’s Committee of the Whole marks up B22-0539; the vote is unanimous in favor of the initiative.

January 3, 2018
D.C. Council’s Committee of the Whole files the report on B22-0539.

D.C. Council meeting, January 9, 2018

January 9, 2018
D.C. Council unanimously approves B22-0539 on the first reading. The Council also approves the Boris Nemtsov Plaza Designation Emergency Declaration Resolution of 2018 and passes the Boris Nemtsov Designation Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-0235) to ensure that the designation becomes effective before February 27, the third anniversary of Nemtsov’s assassination.

January 10, 2018
Senator Rubio applauds the D.C. Council for passing the Boris Nemtsov Plaza Designation Act. “I thank Chairman Mendelson and Councilmember Mary Cheh for their leadership,” his statement reads. “Starting on the third anniversary of Mr. Nemtsov’s assassination, there will be a sign in front of the Russian Embassy to remind Vladimir Putin and his cronies that they cannot use murder, violence, and intimidation to silence dissent.”

January 25, 2018
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) signs D.C. Act 22-235, the Boris Nemtsov Plaza Designation Emergency Act of 2018.

February 1, 2018
Free Russia Foundation President Natalia Arno obtains a permit from the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department to hold the public unveiling ceremony for Boris Nemtsov Plaza on February 27.

February 6, 2018
The D.C. Council unanimously passes B22-0539 on the final reading.

L to R, back row: Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), Vladimir Kara-Murza, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Zhanna Nemtsova, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI)
L to R, front row: Daniil Kara-Murza, Sofia Kara-Murza, Ekaterina Kara-Murza, Senator Christopher Coons (D-DE), D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), Free Russia Foundation President Natalia Arno

February 27, 2018
On the third anniversary of Boris Nemtsov’s assassination U.S. government officials, Members of Congress, D.C. Council leaders, foreign diplomats, as well as friends and family of Nemtsov gathered to witness the unveiling of Boris Nemtsov Plaza in front of the Russian Embassy, the world’s first official memorial to the late Russian opposition leader. The ceremony is attended by Senators Rubio, Coons, Wicker, Johnson, as well as Representative Ros-Lehtinen, Delegate Holmes Norton, Chairman Mendelson, Councilmember Cheh, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Wess Mitchell, Zhanna Nemtsova, Boris Nemtsov’s first wife Raisa Nemtsova, Vladimir Kara-Murza, Natalia Arno, Vadim Prokhorov, and others. Senator McCain and Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD) issue statements on the unveiling. “This commemoration will not be removed. This commemoration will stay here. It will always be here as a symbol and an honor to Boris Nemtsov,” Cheh said at the unveiling. “Let them steal the candles, let them steal the flowers, they can never steal his memory.” Senator Rubio thanked the D.C. Council for its “extraordinary efforts” in making Boris Nemtsov Plaza a reality. “For me as a Russian citizen there can be nothing more patriotic than to name a street in front of the Russian Embassy after a Russian statesman,” Kara-Murza said at the ceremony. “I know that one day the Russian state will be proud that our embassy in Washington is standing on a street named after Boris Nemtsov.” Nemtsov’s goddaughter and Kara-Murza’s younger daughter, Sofia, pulled the cord to unveil the sign reading “Boris Nemtsov Plaza.”

March 8, 2018
Mayor Bowser signs B22-0539 as D.C. Act 22-276, the Boris Nemtsov Plaza Designation Act of 2018.

March 16, 2018
D.C. Act A22-0276 is published in the D.C. Register (Vol. 65/11).

March 26, 2018
D.C. Act A22-0276 is transmitted to the U.S. Congress for the mandatory 30-day Congressional Review Period.

April 9, 2018
The D.C. Council passes the Boris Nemtsov Plaza Designation Congressional Review Emergency Declaration Resolution of 2018 and the Boris Nemtsov Plaza Designation Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2018 to ensure the emergency designation remains effective until the permanent legislation is in place.

May 3, 2018
Mayor Bowser signs the Boris Nemtsov Plaza Designation Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2018.

May 5, 2018
Following the mandatory 30-day Congressional Review Period the Boris Nemtsov Plaza Designation Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-276) comes into effect, making the street designation permanent. The Act, under Law Number L22-0092, is transmitted back to the Council.

Politics and Economics in Putin’s Fourth Term

Please join the Atlantic Council and the Free Russia Foundation for an event entitled Politics and Economics in Putin’s Fourth Term on Friday, May 18, 2018, from 9:45 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Atlantic Council headquarters (1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor, West Tower Elevators).

As Vladimir Putin begins an unprecedented fourth term as president of Russia, his country stands at a critical crossroads. With a volatile economy and an increasingly authoritarian government, the country is facing high levels of political and economic uncertainty. At this event, Vladimir Milov, Russian opposition politician, and economist will join a panel of US-based experts to discuss the political and economic future of Putin’s Russia.

We hope you can join us for this timely discussion.


Mr. Vladimir Milov
Opposition Politician, Publicist, Economist, and Energy Expert
Russian Federation

Dr. Anders Åslund
Senior Fellow, Eurasia Center
Atlantic Council

Dr. Alina Polyakova
David M. Rubenstein Fellow – Foreign Policy, Brookings Institution
Adjunct Professor of European Studies, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

Moderated by:

Ambassador John Herbst
Director, Eurasia Center
Atlantic Council

Additional Speakers To Be Announced

Prospects for Russia’s Democratic Movement

DC – September 13, 8:30-10:00 am, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Free Russia Foundation, and the Institute for Modern Russia invite you to a discussion on Prospects for Russia’s Democratic Movement.

(more…)

DC – Kleptocrats of the Kremlin: ties between business and power in Russia

The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, have announced the briefing on “Kleptocrats of the Kremlin: ties between business and power in Russia”.

Live Webcast will be available here.

Eighteen years after he first took power, Vladimir Putin rules a Russia increasingly characterized by censorship, political repression, and human rights violations.  A central feature of Putin’s authoritarian regime is sprawling corruption. This corruption undermines the legitimacy of public institutions domestically and internationally via an opaque network of interlocutors who enable assets to be stolen from the Russian people and hidden abroad.

While the president is the primary beneficiary, the Kremlin’s brand of kleptocracy depends on a loyal group of cronies, who acquire untold wealth by ensuring that state institutions follow Kremlin directives and that private businesses play along or stay out of the way.

The briefing will examine the dynamics of Putin’s closest circle in order to establish who most strengthens and benefits from his rule. Additionally, briefers will analyze how these cronies advance Putin’s geopolitical goals and interests.

The following panelists are scheduled to speak:

Brian Whitmore, Senior Russia Analyst,
Radio Free Europe

Ilya Zaslavskiy, Research Expert,
Free Russia Foundation

Dr. Anders Aslund, Senior Fellow,
Atlantic Council

Marius Laurinavicius, Senior Analyst,
Vilnius Institute for Policy Analysis

Ambassador Daniel Fried, Distinguished Fellow,
Atlantic Council

The Kremlin’s Gas Games in Europe: Implications for Policy Makers

Please join the Atlantic Council and the Free Russia Foundation for the launch of a new policy paper, The Kremlin’s Gas Games in Europe: Implications for Policy Makers.

Register

 

In The Kremlin’s Gas Games in Europe, Mr. Zaslavskiy presents policy recommendations for US and European policy makers as the European Union negotiates Gazprom’s latest pipeline project, Nord Stream 2. Examining previous Gazprom pipeline projects, the author argues that while Gazprom presents itself as an independent competitive firm, it has a consistent track record of acting as an arm of the Kremlin’s foreign and economic policy. Nord Stream 2, Mr. Zaslavskiy concludes, will present a major challenge to European law and EU principles and jeopardize the security interests of the United States and its European allies.

The event will feature a keynote address by US Senator Jeanne Shaheen and a panel of experts that will discuss Nord Stream 2, Russia’s energy policies, as well as share policy recommendations for the US and Europe.

Keynote Address:

The Hon. Jeanne Shaheen
US Senator for New Hampshire
US Senate

A conversation with:

Mr. Edward Chow
Senior Fellow, Energy and National Security Program
Center for Strategic and International Studies

Mr. Bud Coote
Senior Fellow, Global Energy Center
Atlantic Council

Mr. Ilya Zaslavskiy
Author
“The Kremlin’s Gas Games in Europe: Implications for Policy Makers”

Moderated by:
Ms. Emily Meredith
Deputy Bureau Chief
Energy Intelligence

We hope you can join us for this timely discussion.

DC – The Putin Exodus: The New Russian Brain Drain

Please join the Atlantic Council and Free Russia Foundation for an expert panel to discuss the key causes driving the new wave of Russian emigration and its implications.

(more…)

DC – Remember Boris Nemtsov

Please join us to commemorate Boris Nemtsov, a Russian opposition politician and an outspoken critic of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

2 years ago, on February 27, 2015, Boris Nemtsov was assassinated as he walked across a bridge just yards from the Kremlin. Five men, all ethnic Chechens with apparent connections to Chehen governor Ramzan Kadyrov, were arrested and charged with Boris Nemtsov contract killing. However, Kadyrov and his closest peers related to the killers were not questioned by investigators. All CCTV cameras around Kremlin that could have caught the murder were dysfunctional, according to the government officials. Kadyrov called the triggerman Zaur Dadaev a “true patriot of Russia” and said “everybody knows” that Ruslan Geremeyev was not involved in the murder. Ruslan Geremeyev, who has deep connections to Kadyrov’s inner circle, spent time at the Moscow apartment where the assassins stayed during the weeks before the killing and drove together with Dadaev to a Moscow airport and boarded a flight to Chechnya the day after the murder.

Putin’s regime is responsible for covering up and hiding the connections between Ramzan Kadyrov and the killers of Boris Nemtsov. It cannot be tolerated, as well as the Russian government’s growing intolerance of all forms of dissent and independent expression.

February 26

1 PM – 3 PM

In front of Embassy of Russia in Washington, D.C.

2650 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20007

You can also find out more about this event and other commemorative events around North America on Facebook:

New York: https://www.facebook.com/events/410118826046302/

Washington: https://www.facebook.com/events/429520100722146/

Boston: https://www.facebook.com/events/371020439938781/

San Francisco: https://www.facebook.com/events/267585533670670/

Vancouver: https://www.facebook.com/events/776565092521876/

DC – The Criminal Russia Party: Ilya Yashin’s New Report

Please join the Atlantic Council and the Free Russia Foundation, for a discussion with Ilya Yashin.

Ilya Yashin is a Russian opposition leader and author of The Criminal Russia Party, a new report that examines corruption in Russia’s leading political party, United Russia.

In his latest in-depth report, The Criminal Russia Party , Russian activist and liberal politician Ilya Yashin examines the nexus between Russian President Vladimir Putin’s political party, United Russia, and organized crime. Yashin’s report demonstrates that the way to fortune and unbridled power in Russia is to curry favor with Putin’s United Russia party. High-level political appointments inevitably lead to access to wealth through criminal and kleptocratic networks. Laying out numerous examples, Yashin shows how United Russia has become a political club of thieves, mafia bosses, and even thugs accused of murder. When their crimes can no longer be tolerated by the regime, many political criminals end up in jail – only to be replaced by a new group of crime bosses friendly to United Russia. Yet, even as United Russia’s political elite has been accused of committing crimes in Europe and the United States and taking advantage of the Western political and financial systems, they are still afforded diplomatic cover and protection. Western policymakers must act to close the loopholes that allow Russian political criminals access and protection.

“The Criminal Russia Party”

A New Report by Ilya Yashin

A conversation with:

Mr. Ilya Yashin

Deputy Chairman

 People’s Freedom Party (PARNAS)

Introduced and Moderated by:

Dr. Alina Polyakova

Deputy Director, Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center

Atlantic Council

We hope you will join us for this timely and important discussion. RSVP here.

This event is open to press and on the record.

NYC – Anna Politkovskaya remembrance rally

Journalist and human rights defender Anna Politkovskaya was assassinated on 10.7.2006.

Full justice will not be served until those who ordered the crime are identified and face the courts.

Journalists and human rights defenders continue to face persecution in Russia. The situation is especially alarming in Chechen Republic where they work amidst threats and violence. In the climate of impunity, attacks and smear campaigns continue.

Russian authorities must take responsibility for ending the violence. I urge you to ensure that all attacks and threats against human rights defenders and journalists are thoroughly investigated and those responsible are identified and brought to justice in fair proceedings.

October 7 marks the 10th anniversary of the murder of  Anna Politkovskaya. This day, members of Russian diaspora will come together to honor the memory of Anna and demand Russian authorities to investigate the killing.

Come and bring your friends.

DC – Kleptocracy Archive Launch

Hudson Institute will launch the Kleptocracy Archive, an online database of thousands of primary source documents showing the malfeasances of corrupt authoritarian regimes.

RSVP

More than a year in the making, the Kleptocracy Archive will debut documents pertaining to individuals and corporate entities primarily from Russia and Ukraine. Each profile features a short biography and document folders including press reports, business records, banking details, and legal cases. This information has never before been collated into a comprehensive and easily accessible resource.

Public concern about kleptocracy has never been stronger. The Kleptocracy Archive is a powerful new resource for journalists, law enforcement, legislators, policy executives, scholars, and anyone interested in the threats posed by kleptocratic regimes. 

Featuring experts:

Charles Davidson,
Executive Director, Kleptocracy Initiative, Hudson Institute

David Satter,
Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute

Karen Dawisha,
Walter E. Havighurst Professor of Political Science, Miami University

Glenn Simpson,
Senior Fellow, International Assessment and Strategy Center

This event will be live streamed on Hudson’s homepage.

 

DC – “Who Is Mr. Putin?” U.S. and English-Language Film Premiere

Join Hudson Institute’s Kleptocracy Initiative for the first U.S. screening and English-language premiere of the film Who Is Mr. Putin? 

RSVP

Based on investigations by independent journalists Anastasia Kirilenko and Vladimir Ivanidze, the film documents the origins of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s private wealth and subsequent rise to power.

The film has been lauded by experts for demonstrating how Putin’s ascension to the Russian presidency is explained by an alliance built in the early 1990s between himself, certain friends from Leningrad’s KGB, and mafia groups. Who Is Mr. Putin? was released in December 2015 and has already been viewed by more than 2 million Russian-speakers worldwide.

The screening will be followed by a short panel discussion, moderated by Hudson Senior Fellow David Satter, featuring Anastasia Kirilenko, Karen Dawisha, and Ilya Zaslavskiy.

David Satter is a former Moscow correspondent and author of Darkness Before Dawn: The Rise of the Russian Criminal State. He is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a fellow of the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

Karen Dawisha is the Walter E. Havighurst Professor of Political Science in the Department of Political Science at Miami University, and Director of the Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies. She is author of Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?

Anastasia Kirilenko is an independent Russian reporter and former Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalist. Through her investigative work and as co-producer of Who Is Mr. Putin?, she is widely recognized for exposing the illicit activities of Vladimir Putin during his tenure in St. Petersburg City Hall in the early 1990s, and chronicling his ongoing personal enrichment. She now lives and works in Paris.

Ilya Zaslavskiy is an expert with Free Russia Foundation, where he specializes in the spread of corruption from former Soviet states into the West. He is also an energy consultant and Visiting Senior Fellow at the Legatum Institute, and an Academy Associate with Chatham House.

Have questions about “Who Is Mr. Putin?” U.S. and English-Language Film Premiere? Contact Hudson Institute

DC – A Threat to National Security: Ramzan Kadyrov and Putin’s Russia

The harassment and sanctioned murder of opposition voices are no longer the exception in Russia; rather, they are part and parcel of President Vladimir Putin’s strategic intent to suppress those who challenge his government.

A conversation with: Ilya Yashin
Deputy Chairman of People’s Freedom Party 

RSVP

Ramzan Kadyrov, Mr. Putin’s close ally and leader of Chechnya, is widely believed to be responsible for orchestrating the murder of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in February 2015. In recent months, Kadyrov and his supporters have systematically harassed and threatened Russian opposition politicians who bravely speak out against Putin’s regime. In his revealing report, A Threat to National Security, Ilya Yashin details the extent of Kadyrov’s criminal activities and unrestrained corruption. Kadyrov now exercises complete control over Chechnya with a private army of thirty thousand loyal only to him. Kadyrov’s increasingly brazen actions signal that the Kremlin may not have complete control over the Chechen leader.

We hope you can join us for this important and timely discussion.

You can read the report here.

The live webcast of this event will be available.

Ilya Yashin is a Russian activist and liberal politician in Russia. He is the Deputy Chairman of the People’s Freedom Party (PARNAS), which was led by Boris Nemtsov until his death last year. In 2005, Mr. Yashin co-founded the civic youth movement Oborona, and until 2008, he was the leader of the Yabloko Party’s youth wing, where he organized mass protests and spoke to the media about the party’s causes. In 2012, he was elected to the Russian Opposition Coordination Council. An active participant in Strategy-31, a campaign for freedom of assembly, Mr. Yashin was arrested on December 31, 2010 for demonstrating in Moscow at one of the campaign’s rallies. He was taken to a police station and detained for fifteen days, leading Amnesty International to declare him a prisoner of conscience. Mr. Yashin was arrested again on October 27, 2012 with Alexey Navalny while attempting to join a Moscow protest. After Mr. Nemtsov’s death, Mr. Yashin continued to work on Mr. Nemtsov’s report, “Putin. War,” about Russian involvement in the Ukraine war. In February 2016, Ilya Yashin presented the report “Threat to National Security” on Ramzan Kadyrov in Russia amid protests and a bomb threat.

DC – Silencing Voices of Russian Opposition

Please join the Free Russia Foundation, Atlantic Council and The McCain Institute for International Leadership, for a discussion on the threats faced by Russian opposition members in Russia and abroad.

To RSVP, please click here.

Nearly a decade ago, Alexander Litvinenko, former officer in the Russian Federal Security Bureau, was murdered in London. The cause of death, as uncovered by investigators, was poisoning by polonium, a rare radioactive substance. The investigative report on the case published in January 2016 concluded that Litvinenko’s murder was “probably” approved by Russian President Vladimir Putin. In May 2015, political opposition leader and journalist, Vladimir Kara-Murza, mysteriously fell ill in Moscow. Once again, poisoning was suspected. Kara-Murza survived the attack on his life, but his case, as well as Litvinenko’s and many others, has become emblematic of the increasingly repressive and dangerous situation facing Russian opposition activists.

Marina Litvinenko, Alexander Litvinenko’s widow who has fought for justice in her husband’s case, and Vladimir Kara-Murza will discuss the current situation for the opposition in Russia and how the West should respond.

We hope you can join us for this important and timely discussion.

Putin. War. The first presentation in the States

Free Russia Foundation has presented the English version of the Putin. War report based on materials from Boris Nemtsov.

The English version has been released to the public at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC. The event was attended by representatives of Russian and Ukrainian communities, international organizations, think tanks and journalists.

The report was presented by Ilya Yashin, one of the leaders of Russian opposition, companion of Boris Nemtsov and editor of the report; and two co-authors of the report: Sergey Aleksashenko, leading Russian economist, nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings and Leonid Martynyuk, Russian opposition activist, co-author of last Nemtsov’s reports.

“This is the first public presentation in the U.S of open source material proving the Russian military’s direct involvement in Ukraine. It puts to rest the charade Putin has been playing with the West and indeed his own citizens who overwhelming don’t want Russia at war with Ukrainians. It’s important for this news to be made public as European nations and the U.S. consider continuing sanctions and financial and military assistance to the Kiev government. The authors of this report, dedicating it to the memory of Boris Nemtsov, have exposed themselves to grave risks to present their findings to the world. We owe it to these brave people to examine their report closely,” said Natalia Arno, president of Free Russia Foundation regarding the significance of the report.

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Boris Nemtsov, the Russian opposition leader murdered in Moscow three months ago, was the primary author of “Putin. War.” The report covers the facts of the story that state-run propaganda denies and scoffs at. The Kremlin’s war in Ukraine costs Russia hundreds of soldiers’ lives. And those in power are painstakingly trying to hide it from the Russian people. The report was finished by Nemtsov’s team after his death, published posthumously in Russian and presented in Moscow on May 12.

Please read and share the report.

Free Russia Foundation will organize two more public presentations of the report in Washington, DC and New York City.