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Mon, Apr 27, 2020

Is Saakashvili the right choice for Ukraine?

Former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili is on the verge of a highly unlikely return to Ukrainian politics as the country's new Deputy Prime Minister for Reforms. What might this mean for Ukraine?

UkraineAlert by Peter Dickinson

Democratic Transitions Political Reform

Sat, Apr 4, 2020

Ukraine adds political drama to coronavirus crisis

Ukraine experienced a month of political turbulence in March 2020 as the country grappled with cabinet reshuffles amid an escalating coronavirus crisis. Who emerged as the political winners and losers?

UkraineAlert by Brian Mefford

Coronavirus Democratic Transitions

Tue, Jul 16, 2019

Ukraine’s most important election is Sunday. Here’s what to expect

As Ukraine enters a new political epoch that features comedians, singers, former presidents, and controversial pro-Russian politicians, the second longest serving prime minister in Ukraine’s history may find a niche with the electorate.

UkraineAlert by Brian Mefford

Elections Ukraine

Brian Mefford is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. He is a business and political consultant who is based in Kyiv, Ukraine. Named by the Kyiv Post as one of the twenty “Most Influential Expats in Ukraine,” Mefford has lived and worked in Eastern Europe continuously for more than fifteen years.

In the spring of 1999, Mefford joined the International Republican Institute (IRI) as a resident program officer in Kyiv, Ukraine. Mefford trained, advised, and consulted thousands of political activists and governmental officials in Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Romania, Croatia, Serbia, and Macedonia on topics including political party development, grassroots organizing, membership recruitment, fundraising, communications, public relations, and public opinion research. He also conducted in-depth political assessments in numerous countries, including Iraq, Macedonia, and Bangladesh. Mefford served as the Ukraine country director and opened IRI’s Odessa, Ukraine, regional office in 2008.

In 2009, Mefford managed an international consulting team working for Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko. After Yushchenko’s term as president was completed, Mefford established the Committee for Open Democracy, a nonprofit organization that monitors international elections for their adherence to democratic norms. As a veteran international election monitor, Mefford has officially observed more than twenty-five foreign elections in seven countries, including Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Macedonia, Slovenia, Albania, and Mongolia. Mefford currently serves as the Executive Director of the organization.

Mefford also runs a successful business consulting firm that helps Western business gain entry into Eastern European markets as well as provides governmental relations services.

Born in Barstow, California, he is a graduate of Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, Arkansas, with a BA in business administration. After university, Mefford worked in the banking and financial sector while building a political career. Mefford began his political work at the age of sixteen and won his first elective office as a city alderman at the age of eighteen. He won his second office the following year to serve as a school board member. In 1997, he was appointed by then-Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee as a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council for Gifted and Talented Education.