Free Russia Foundation announces new Board of Directors

Dec 12 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                 

Contact: Natalia Arno, President
Phone: +1 202.549.2417


WASHINGTON, DC, December 12, 2018.  The Free Russia Foundation, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, striving to defend freedom and human rights in Russia and restore Russia’s path to democracy, announced it has formed a Board of Directors comprised of distinguished foreign policy leaders.

At its first meeting, Hon. David J. Kramer, former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and current Senior Fellow at the Vaclav Havel Program for Human Rights and Diplomacy at Florida International University’s Green School of International and Public Affairs, was elected Board Chairman, and Hon. Paige Alexander, Executive Director for European Cooperative for Rural Development, former USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia and former USAID Assistant Administrator for the Middle East, was voted Vice Chair of the foundation.

Dr. Sergey Aleksashenko, Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and former Russian Deputy Minister of Finance and First Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Russia was named Board Treasurer and Ms. Melissa Hooper, the Director of the Human Rights and Civil Society program at Human Rights First will act as the Board Secretary.

Other Board Members include Dr. Alina Polyakova, David M. Rubenstein Fellow for foreign policy at the Brookings Institution; Dr. Daniel Treisman, professor of political science at the University of California, Los Angeles and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research; Ms. Ellen Bork, a Visiting Fellow at the Project 2049 Institute; Ambassador Ian C. Kelly, Ambassador (ret.) in Residence at Northwestern University and former U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and former U.S. Ambassador to Georgia; Dr. Lilia Shevtsova, Associate Fellow at the Russia and Eurasia Program at Chatham House and founding chair of the Davos World Economic Forum Council on Russia’s Future; Hon. Thomas O. Melia, Washington Director at PEN America, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and former USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia; and Mr. Vladimir Kara-Murza, Vice Chairman of the Open Russia movement and Chairman of Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom.

Ms. Natalia Arno, the founder of the Free Russia Foundation, will serve as President and Board Member (ex officio) and direct day-to-day operations from its headquarters in Washington, DC.

The Board will be responsible for guiding the Free Russia Foundation, founded in 2014, through its next stage of growth as it expands its programs in the U.S., Europe, and Russia and seeks to shape effective and sustainable Western policy toward Russia.

“We are thrilled to join Natalia to help her with the amazing work she does running Free Russia Foundation and advancing the cause of democracy in Russia,” Kramer said.

For more information on the Board go here.


For more information, please visit the Free Russia Foundation’s website,, or contact Natalia Arno at +1 202.549.2417 and


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