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Thu, Feb 27, 2020

Tensions mount in Syria after strike on Turkish troops

Atlantic Council experts respond to the airstrikes against Turkish soldiers in Idlib, as Russia and the Assad regime continue their collision course with Turkey in Syria.

New Atlanticist by David A. Wemer

Conflict Syria

Fri, Feb 14, 2020

Flawed peace plan for Ukraine doesn’t pass muster

A distinguished international group of American, European, and Russian former government officials and think tank experts has taken advantage of the Munich Security Conference to issue a statement recommending twelve steps to bring greater security to Ukraine and the Euro-Atlantic region. For years, the Kremlin has tried to change the conversation on Ukraine, and they may have found their opening in Munich. In response, twenty-nine former US diplomats, government officials, and experts point out their errors.

UkraineAlert by Eurasia Center

Conflict Politics & Diplomacy

Wed, Jan 15, 2020

Putin makes changes as Russia stagnates

With Putin’s presidential term set to end in 2024 and parliamentary elections to take place in late 2021, Medvedev’s resignation and Putin’s proposed changes come at a time when the Russian president is looking to secure a possibly uncertain political future.

UkraineAlert by Michael Newton

Politics & Diplomacy Russia

Mark David Simakovsky is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center and serves as vice president at Beacon Global Strategies, LLC. Throughout his career, Mr. Simakovsky has worked on a wide variety of national security issues, including defense policy, strategy, budget formulation, and congressional affairs. He has significant regional experience in Europe and Eurasia.

Prior to joining Beacon in February 2015, Mr. Simakovsky was the Europe/NATO chief of staff in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy. In this position, he helped oversee the Department’s European force posture, regional engagement, deterrence and reassurance initiatives in the wake of the Ukraine crisis. Previous to this position, Mr. Simakovsky was the Russia country director in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy, where he helped lead the Department’s response to the Russia-Ukraine crisis. In this position, Mr. Simakovsky advised senior Department of Defense leadership on crisis response options for the Russia-Ukraine conflict. In the wake of the immediate crisis, he was the lead writer on the Department’s new strategy for Russia and played a critical role in developing Department of Defense posture and planning updates for Russian contingencies.

In 2013, Mr. Simakovsky was a Brookings congressional national security fellow in the office of Senator Mark Warner where he supported the Senator on defense, foreign affairs, energy and homeland security issues. From 2012 to 2013, Mr. Simakovsky served as the inaugural Ronald D. Asmus nonresident policy entrepreneur fellow at the German Marshall Fund, publishing a strategy on NATO enlargement.

From 2008-2012, Mr. Simakovsky was the Eurasia strategy advisor/NATO coordinator and country director for Georgia/Moldova in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy. He managed all regional issues and strategy development, including playing a key role in NATO-Russia missile defense engagement, NATO-Georgia relations and developing NATO partnerships across Europe’s east. As Georgia country director, Mr. Simakovsky led Pentagon planning efforts and response to the August 2008 Russia-Georgia War. He crafted and helped implement policies that defined US defense relations with Georgia and played a critical role in supporting Georgia’s deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr. Simakovsky began his government service in 2006 as a presidential management fellow (PMF) in the Office of Russian Affairs, U.S. Department of State.

He is currently a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is a member of the NATO and Atlantic Council’s Young Emerging Leaders Program. Mr. Simakovsky earned his masters in science in foreign service from Georgetown University in 2005. While at Georgetown, he was a foreign language and area studies fellow (FLAS) in Russian, and received an Institute for the Study of Diplomacy Grant to Georgia. He returned to live in Georgia after graduation as a US Fulbright Scholar. In 2004, he completed language training at St. Petersburg State University. In 2002, Mr. Simakovsky completed a bachelor of arts in diplomacy and foreign affairs from Miami University (Oxford) where he received honors distinction for a senior thesis on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy.