Maxim Eristavi

  • Mass Detention of Journalists Exposes Emerging Shifts in Belarus

    Around two dozen high-profile journalists were recently detained in Belarus in one of the biggest intimidation campaigns in years. The details of this sudden and surprising sweep highlight growing tensions in the country, where the authoritarian regime of President Alexander Lukashenka is seeking a balance between necessary pro-market reforms and its preservation.
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  • Eristavi in Washington Post: The Polish government expels a critic — and sets an ominous precedent for the European Union


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  • Russia Isn’t Just Interfering in Elections Around the World. It’s Doing Something Far Worse

    Russian President Vladimir Putin will stop at nothing in his hunt for dissidents abroad. In his determination, he has found some powerful allies within Western democracies—a practice that should alarm those who prize justice and the rule of law.

    In recent weeks, I’ve been collecting stories of Russian dissidents who say they fell victim to exchanges of confidential information between European officials and Russian authorities. The leak of one Cyprus prosecutor’s emails in November has exposed a growing trend: in its hunt to track critics, the Kremlin is recruiting allies within Western states’ law enforcement agencies.

    The communication leak on the part of Cyprus’ deputy attorney general exposes a much wider exchange of confidential EU information, some of it classified, with Russian...

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  • Eristavi in Foreign Affairs: Can Ukraine Win Its War on Corruption?


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  • Is This the End of Mikheil Saakashvili in Ukraine?

    Today opposition leader Mikheil Saakashvili was deported to Poland. For months he has been leading protests outside of Ukraine's parliament, urging President Petro Poroshenko to resign. The Saakashvili drama has been ongoing; last year he was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship and then reentered the country illegally. In December, he was arrested and then broke free.

    We asked Atlantic Council experts and UkraineAlert friends the following questions: Have we seen the end of Saakashvili’s days as a Ukrainian politician? What does the process of deporting an opposition politician after stripping him of citizenship say about the health of Ukraine’s democracy? Is Saakashvili a special case, or does his deportation send a signal to opposition leaders and civil society groups that they are next? 

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  • Slain Lawyer Becomes an Icon of Unfinished Reforms in Ukraine

    The holiday season ended abruptly on January 1 as Ukrainians learned about the murder of lawyer and human rights activist Iryna Nozdrovska. This is a gruesome start for 2018, even for a country at war. We stopped having regular New Year’s holidays years ago. Not many felt like celebrating while soldiers were dying in the fight against Russian aggression in the east.

    The body of the thirty-eight-year old was found in a river on the outskirts of Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, on the first day of 2018. She went missing on December 29 after a court hearing in the case of her sister’s 2015 murder. In 2017, Dmytro Rososhanskiy, the nephew of a local judge, was sentenced to seven years in prison for running over Nozdrovska’s sister with a car. But, pulling together resources and drawing on the influence of his family, Rososhanskiy...

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  • Q&A: What Does Saakashvili's Detention Mean for Ukraine?

    Former Georgian President and Odesa oblast governor Mikheil Saakashvili was taken into custody in Kyiv on December 5. His supporters eventually freed him and he addressed a large crowd outside of the parliament. Later in the day, Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko told parliament that Saakashvili accepted money from a fugitive oligarch to fund antigovernment protests that have waxed and waned since mid-October. The situation remains tense and ongoing. What does the detention of Saakashvili mean for Ukraine, its democratic prospects, and its relationship with the West? We asked our experts and a number of commentators and politicians to explain the significance of today’s events.

    Michael Carpenter, former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and Senior Director at the Biden Center:
    The conflict between Saakashvili and the Ukrainian authorities only benefits Russia. Saakashvili entered Ukraine under dubious circumstances but his case needs to be...

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  • Ukrainians Are Protesting Again. Will It Amount to Anything?

    On October 19, several thousand protesters in Kyiv cheered as parliament passed a bill that will lift parliamentary immunity. It was not the only victory of the day; parliament approved major health care reform as well.

    This was the third day that thousands of Ukrainians have taken to the streets to demand that President Petro Poroshenko establish an independent anticorruption court, change the electoral law, and lift parliamentary immunity or resign. The protests, which began on October 17, are the largest since the 2014 Revolution of Dignity, which prompted former President Viktor Yanukovych to flee to Moscow and brought a pro-Western government to power. Since then, Ukraine has made serious but halting progress, thanks in large measure to Ukraine’s outspoken activists.

    Protesters have been mainly holding signs and waving flags in front of the parliament building. Thousands of national guardsmen and riot police, probably ten times the number of actual...

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  • Why the US Keeps Losing the Fight against Disinformation

    Journalists and activists in Eastern Europe have been fighting modern propaganda for years. It is time to deploy the lessons of those battles to newsrooms in Washington and beyond.

    I’ve been exposing organized lies professionally for years now. It started when propaganda took over the Russian-state newsroom in Moscow I was managing in 2013. When I left for Ukraine the same year, I wrongly thought disinformation would be contained in Russia. A year later, propaganda was fueling a brutal war in eastern Ukraine. That’s when disinformation went global.

    That was 2014. These days I don’t have to convince anyone that disinformation is a global phenomenon.

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  • Ukraine Is in the Middle of a Counterrevolution Again. Is Anyone Paying Attention?

    While the world is distracted by multiple crises, Ukraine’s ruling elites are trying to undo the modest progress the country has achieved since the Maidan Revolution.

    Despite the mainstream narrative, when it comes to reforms in post-revolutionary Ukraine, the record has been anything but black and white. But if you need a consensus on the most outstanding achievements, most Ukraine watchers would probably agree on four: the establishment of market prices on gas, a globally hailed e-procurement system, the creation of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, and the launch of an electronic declaration system that discloses the assets of public officials. The last two are now at the epicenter of the biggest attempt to rollback reforms since the Maidan Revolution.

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