Eurasia Center

  • Poroshenko’s Game to Avoid Anti-Corruption Court Continues

    Anyone who claims Ukraine’s reforms have failed ignores the type of cases the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) has been able to pursue. NABU represents Ukraine's first government agency truly devoted to ending the impunity of corrupt, high-level officials. NABU continues to investigate and arrest senior officials previously considered untouchable.

    NABU faces one huge obstacle however: Ukraine's hopelessly corrupt judicial system. A study from the Anticorruption Action Center (AntAC) and the Reanimation Package of Reforms found that judges use a wide variety of techniques—from denying search warrants to preserving official positions for people who are NABU suspects—to hinder investigations. The results are clear: Despite sending hundreds of investigations to court since 2015, NABU has been unable to obtain any major convictions.

    Creating a truly independent anti-corruption court that would adjudicate NABU's cases and finally allow Ukrainians a...

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  • Carpenter Quoted in Salon on the US Case Against Russia as a Sponsor of Terrorism


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  • Five Steps Ukraine Should Take Now to Free Their Hostages in Russia

    Perhaps no one in Kyiv faces a more difficult task than First Vice-Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Iryna Herashchenko. Herashchenko is Ukraine's lead negotiator tasked with freeing Ukrainians held captive in the Donbas. The Ukrainian government and Russia's separatist proxies in eastern Ukraine exchanged nearly 400 prisoners in late 2017—a notable achievement for which Herashchenko deserves her nation's gratitude. 

    Herashchenko now faces an even thornier issue; she must track the fate of the approximately seventy Ukrainian citizens held as de facto hostages on Russian territory. While Herashchenko is not officially responsible for securing their release, she understands its emotional resonance in Ukraine. In an interview with the Atlantic Council, Herashchenko laid out the obstacles to freeing these hostages.

    Russia remains determined to use the...

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  • The Atlantic Council Must be Open to Dialogue—Even if Critics Disagree

    I am sorry to see the letter from a group that opposes a private dinner that we are holding with Peter Aven and Mikhail Fridman of Alfa Group.

    I have the greatest of respect for this distinguished group of people, and we have more often been on the same side when it comes to campaigning on Russia, its aggressive foreign policy, abuse of human rights, and corruption.  Still, I am a bit bemused by the views they express in this statement.

    They are clearly critics of Fridman and Aven and they provide the reasons for their criticism. We are happy to provide them with the means to express their views.

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  • Oligarchs from Alfa Group Should be Asked Critical Questions at the Atlantic Council Dinner

    Last week we—Russian and US experts and activists—learned that an off-the-record roundtable dinner with Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven, principals of the Alfa Group, will be held on May 21 at the Atlantic Council. These Kremlin regime insiders are both listed on the January update of the US government list “Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (CAATSA) but are nevertheless invited to discuss “the outlook for the Russian economy in an era of escalating sanctions” in Washington DC.

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  • Former Defense Minister Hrytsenko Is Finally Having His Moment in the Sun

    Anatoliy Hrytsenko, Ukraine’s defense minister from 2005 to 2007, is finally having his moment in the sun.

    The latest poll shows that 12.7 percent of Ukrainians who have made up their minds would vote for Hrytsenko in the first round of the 2019 presidential election. This is progress compared to his previous results. The 2019 race will be the third attempt in Hrytsenko’s political career to become president; he scored 1.2 percent of the vote in 2010 and 5.5 percent in 2014. However, at least 29 percent of Ukrainians are still undecided, so take these numbers with a large grain of salt.

    Hrtysenko’s political party, Civic Position, is also enjoying the same success. It polls second with 11.5 percent support, which is a massive improvement from its performance in the 2014 parliamentary...

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  • Ukraine’s New Populists: Who They Are and Why They’re Dangerous

    Populists are flourishing almost everywhere. The demand for simple solutions in a complicated world makes their messages resonate.

    Ukraine is no exception. The country’s situation with numerous security and economic hardships provides fertile ground for populists.

    Over the last four years, Ukraine has embraced a number of painful structural reforms that have been partially successful. But so far they have not improved the wellbeing of ordinary citizens, although they may bring positive effects in the future. In the short-term, the poor often face worsening economic conditions.

    According to a recent poll by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, 74 percent of Ukrainians say the country is moving in the wrong direction, and 50 percent identify higher prices with stagnant wages as the biggest problem.

    Populists are seducing...

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  • How to Make Sense of Japan’s Delicate Balance Between Russia and Ukraine

    Showing solidarity with other G7 countries following Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine, Japan imposed sanctions on Russia—albeit reluctantly. The Ukraine crisis occurred amid Japan's efforts to reinvigorate Japan-Russia relations in the hope of solving the long-standing territorial dispute over the Northern territories (the Kuril Islands in Russian). Subsequently, maintaining Japan’s balance between other G7 countries and Russia became one of the main challenges for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. 

    While Japan felt obliged to support the international community and to impose sanctions, the geopolitical dynamics in the Asia-Pacific region forced it to take a conciliatory approach to Russia. This delicate balance resulted in Japan’s symbolic sanctions and in different narratives promoted at home and in Ukraine.

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  • Bryza Joins Azerbaijan’s CNC TV to Discuss Armenia's New Political Leadership and Mediation of the Nagorno Karabakh Conflict


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  • Russia is Anxious About War. Here’s How the United States Should Respond

    US President Donald J. Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal may increase the prospects of instability in the Middle East. However, Russia is likely to interpret this instability through the prism of what many politicians and analysts in Moscow like to call the “approaching global confrontation with the United States.”

    In April—just before the United States, France, and the United Kingdom launched airstrikes on Syria in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime—members of the Duma, retired generals, and analysts in Moscow were convinced that the United States and Russia would come to blows over Syria.

    Even before the airstrikes, Chief of General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Gen. Valery Gerasimov announced in March that Russia would shoot...

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