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Against the backdrop of Ukraine's counteroffensive and the Kremlin's efforts to illegally annex additional territory, a delegation of members from the NATO Parliamentary Assembly arrived at Stanford to meet with experts and weigh considerations about the ongoing conflict. First on their circuit was a panel hosted by the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) chaired by FSI Director Michael McFaul, with Marshall Burke, Francis Fukuyama, Anna Grzymala-Busse, Scott Sagan, and Kathryn Stoner participating.

The delegates represented thirteen of NATO's thirty member nations, including Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. Top of mind were questions about the possibility of nuclear escalation from the Kremlin, and appropriate repsonses from the alliance, as well as questions about the longevity of Putin's regime, the nature of international authoritarian alliances, and the future of Ukraine as a European nation.

Drawing from their expertise on state-building, democracy, security issues, nuclear enterprise, and political transitions, the FSI scholars offered a broad analysis of the many factors currently playing out on the geopolitical stage. Abbreviated versions of their responses are given below.

Kathryn Stoner, Francis Fukuyama, Marshall Burke, Scott Sagan, Anna Grzymala-Busse, and Michael McFaul present at a panel given to memebers of the NATO Parlimentary Assembly.
Kathryn Stoner, Francis Fukuyama, Marshall Burke, Scott Sagan, Anna Grzymala-Busse, and Michael McFaul present at a panel given to memebers of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly on September 26, 2022. Melissa Morgan

The following commentary has been edited for clarity and length, and does not represent the full extent of the panel’s discussion.
 


Rethinking Assumptions about Russia and Putin

Kathryn Stoner

Right now, Putin is the most vulnerable he's ever been in 22 years in power. But I don’t believe he's under so much pressure at this point that he is about to leave office anytime soon. Autocracies do not usually die by popular mobilization, unfortunately. More often they end through an elite coup or turnover. And since the end of WWII, the research has shown that about 75% of the time autocracies are typically replaced by another autocracy, or the perpetuation of the same autocracy, just with a different leader. So, if Putin were replaced, you might get a milder form of autocracy in Russia, but I don't think you are suddenly going to create a liberal democracy.

This means that we in the West, and particularly in the U.S., need to think very hard about our strategies and how we are going to manage our relationships with Putin and his allies. This time last year, the U.S. broadcast that we basically wanted Russia to calm down so we could pivot to China. That’s an invitation to not calm down, and I think it was a mistake to transmit that as policy.

We need to pay attention to what Russia has been doing. They are the second biggest purveyor of weapons globally after the United States. They will sell to anyone. They’ve been forgiving loans throughout Sub Saharan Africa from the Soviet period and using that as a way of bargaining for access to natural resources. They’re marketing oil, selling infrastructure, and building railroads. Wherever there is a vacuum, someone will fill it, and that includes Russia every bit as much as China. We need to realize that we are in competition with both Russia and China, and develop our policies and outreach accordingly.

KStoner

Kathryn Stoner

Mosbacher Director of the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law
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Confronting Autocracy at Home and Abroad

Anna Grzymala-Busse

Why is Putin in Ukraine? Because the fact that there is a democratic country right next door to Russia is an affront to him. Putin doesn’t care that much about NATO. The fact that nothing happened when Sweden joined is some evidence of this. That’s something to keep in mind as people are debating NATO and Ukraine and Ukraine’s possible future as a member.

NATO membership and EU membership are both wonderful things. But more fundamental that that, this war has to be won first. That’s why I think it’s necessary in the next six months to speed up the support for Ukraine by ensuring there’s a steady stream of armaments, training personnel, and providing other military support.

There’s been incredible unity on Ukraine over the last seven months across the EU, NATO, and amongst our allies. But our recent history with President Trump reminds us how fragile these international commitments can be. In foreign policy, it used to be understood that America stands for liberal democracy. But we had a president of the United States who was more than happy to sidle up to some of the worst autocrats in the world. That’s why we can’t afford to leave rising populism around the world unaddressed and fail to engage with voters. When we do that, we allow far right parties to grab those votes and go unopposed. Whatever happens domestically impacts what happens internationally.

Anna Grzymała-Busse

Anna Grzymala-Busse

Director of The Europe Center
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The Consequences of Nuclear Sabre-Rattling

Scott Sagan

We have to very clear-eyed when we’re talking about the threat, however improbable, of the use of a nuclear weapon. When it comes to the deployment of a tactical nuclear weapon, its kinetic effects depend on both the size of the weapon, the yield, and the target. Tactical weapons range in yield from very low — 5-10% of what was in the Hiroshima bomb — to as large as what was used against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If that kind of weapon was used on an urban target, it would produce widescale effects. In a battlefield or rural area, it would have a relatively small impact.

But in the bigger picture, what any use of a weapon like this does is break a 70+ year tradition of non-use. Those seventy years have been dicey and fragile, but they have held so far. A tradition that is broken creates a precedent, and once there’s a precedent, it makes it much easier for someone to transgress the tradition again. So even if a decision was made to use a tactical weapon with little kinetic importance for strategic effect, I think we still need to be worried about it.

Personalistic dictators surround themselves with yes men. They make lonely decisions by themselves, often filled with vengeance and delusion because no one can tell them otherwise. They don't have the checks and balances. But I want to make one point about a potential coup or overthrow. Putin has done a lot to protect himself against that. But improbable events happen all the time, especially when leaders make really, really bad decisions. That’s not something we should be calling for as official U.S. policy, but it should be our hope.

Headshot of Scott Sagan

Scott Sagan

FSI Senior Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation
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Cycles of Conflict, Climate Change, and Food Insecurity

Marshall Burke

The estimates right now project that there are 350 million people around the world facing acute food insecurity. That means 350 million people who literally don’t have enough to eat. That’s roughly double what it was pre-COVID. The factors driving that are things like supply chain disruptions from the pandemic and climate shocks, but also because of ongoing conflict happening around the world, Ukraine included.

There was an early concern that the war in Ukraine would be a huge threat to global food security. That largely has not been the case so far, at least directly. Opening the grain corridors through the Black Sea has been crucial to this, and it’s critical that we keep those open and keep the wheat flowing out. Research shows that unrest increases when food prices spike, so it’s important for security everywhere to keep wheat prices down.

What I’m worried about now is natural gas prices. With high global natural gas prices, that means making fertilizer is also very expensive and prices have increased up to 300% relative to a few years ago. If they stay that high, this is going to be a long-term problem we will have to find a way of reckoning with on top of the other effects from climate change already impacting global crop production and the global economy.

Marshall Burke

Marshall Burke

Deputy Director of the Center on Food Security and the Environment
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Ukraine After the War

Francis Fukuyama

I've been more optimistic about the prospects for Ukraine taking back territory for more of this war, just because of the vast difference in motivation between the two sides and the supply of modern weapons that Ukraine has been getting. But I don’t know what the conditions on the ground will look like when the decision to negotiate comes. Will Russia still be sitting on occupied territory? Are they kicked out entirely? Or are the frontlines close to where they are now?

As I’ve observed, Ukraine's demands have shifted depending on how they perceive the war going on. There was a point earlier this summer where they hinted that a return to the February 23 borderlines would be acceptable. But now with their recent successes, they're saying they want everything back to the 2014 lines. What actually happens will depend on what the military situation looks like next spring, by my guess.

However the war does end, I think Ukraine actually has a big opportunity ahead of them. Putin has unwittingly become the father of a new Ukrainian nation. The stresses of the war have created a very strong sense of national identity in Ukraine that didn’t exist previously. It’s accurate that Ukraine had significant problems with corruption and defective institutions before, but I think there’s going to be a great push to rout that out. Even things like the Azov steel factory being bombed out of existence is probably a good thing in the long run, because Ukraine was far too dependent on 20th-century coal, steel, and heavy industry. Now they have an opportunity to make a break from all of that.

There are going to be challenges, obviously. We’ll have to watch very carefully what Zelenskyy chooses to do with the commanding position he has at the moment, and whether the government will be able to release power back to the people and restore its institutions. But Europe and the West and our allies are going to have a really big role in the reconstruction of Ukraine, and that should be regarded by everyone as a tremendous opportunity.

frank_fukuyama

Francis Fukuyama

Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at FSI
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Victory in Ukraine, Victory for Democracy

Michael McFaul

Nobody likes a loser, and right now, Putin is losing strategically, tactically, and morally. Now, he doesn’t really care about what Biden or NATO or the West think about him. But he does care about what the autocrats think about him, especially Xi Jinping. And with reports coming out of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization that Xi has “concerns” about what’s happening in Ukraine, Putin is feeling that pressure. I think that's why he has decided he needs to double down, not to negotiate, but to try and “win” in some way as defined by him.

In my view, that’s what’s behind the seizure of these four regions. If he feels like he can unequivocally claim them as part of Russia, then maybe he will sue for peace. And that’s exactly what President Zelenskyy fears. Why? Because that’s exactly what happened in 2014. Putin took Crimea, then turned around to the countries of the world and said, “Aren’t we all tired of war? Can’t we just have peace? I’m ready to end the war, as long as you recognize the new borders.” And, let’s be honest, we did.

We keep hearing politicians say we should put pressure for peace negotiations. I challenge any of them to explain their strategy for getting Putin to talk about peace. There is no doubt in my mind that President Zelenskyy would sit down tomorrow to negotiate if there was a real prospect for peace negotiations. But there's also no doubt in my mind right now that Putin has zero interest in peace talks.

Like Dr. Fukuyama, I don’t know how this war will end. But there's nobody inside or outside of Russia that thinks it’s going well. I personally know a lot of people that believe in democracy in Russia. They believe in democracy just as much as you or I. I’ve no doubt of their convictions. But they’re in jail, or in exile today.

If we want to help Russia in the post-Putin world, we have to think about democracy. There’s not a lot we can do to directly help democracy in Russia right now. But we should be doing everything to help democracy in Ukraine.  It didn’t happen in 1991. It didn’t happen in 2004. It didn’t happen in 2014. They had those breakthroughs and those revolutionary moments, but we as the democratic world collectively didn’t get it right. This is our moment to get it right, both as a way of helping Ukraine secure its future, and to give inspiration to “small-d” democrats fighting for rights across the world.

Michael McFaul, FSI Director

Michael McFaul

Director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
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Protests demonstrate against Vladimir Putin outside a Russian-owned international investment bank in Budapest, Hungary.
Q&As

Pushing Back on Putin: The Fight for Democracy Within Russia

Lyubov Sobol, an activist and current visiting scholar at CDDRL, explains the roots of Russia's pro-democracy movement and the importance of its success to Russia, Ukraine, and the future stability of the global democratic community.
Pushing Back on Putin: The Fight for Democracy Within Russia
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FSI Director Michael McFaul, Kathryn Stoner, Francis Fukuyama, Scott Sagan, Anna Grzymala-Busse, and Marshall Burke answered questions from the parliamentarians on the conflict and its implications for the future of Ukraine, Russia, and the global community.

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Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Affiliated Faculty at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law
Affiliated Faculty at The Europe Center
Kleinheinz Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution
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Stephen Kotkin is a senior fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) and the Kleinheinz Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. Within FSI, Kotkin is based at the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC) and is affiliated with the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) and The Europe Center. He is also the Birkelund Professor in History and International Affairs emeritus at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs (formerly the Woodrow Wilson School), where he taught for 33 years. He earned his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley and has been conducting research in the Hoover Library & Archives for more than three decades.

Kotkin’s research encompasses geopolitics and authoritarian regimes in history and in the present. His publications include Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929–1941 (Penguin, 2017) and Stalin: Paradoxes of Power, 1878–1928 (Penguin, 2014), two parts of a planned three-volume history of Russian power in the world and of Stalin’s power in Russia. He has also written a history of the Stalin system’s rise from a street-level perspective, Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization (University of California 1995); and a trilogy analyzing Communism’s demise, of which two volumes have appeared thus far: Armageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse 1970–2000 (Oxford, 2001; rev. ed. 2008) and Uncivil Society: 1989 and the Implosion of the Communist Establishment, with a contribution by Jan T. Gross (Modern Library, 2009). The third volume will be on the Soviet Union in the third world and Afghanistan. Kotkin’s publications and public lectures also often focus on Communist China.

Kotkin has participated in numerous events of the National Intelligence Council, among other government bodies, and is a consultant in geopolitical risk to Conexus Financial and Mizuho Americas. He served as the lead book reviewer for the New York Times Sunday Business Section for a number of years and continues to write reviews and essays for Foreign Affairsthe Times Literary Supplement, and the Wall Street Journal, among other venues. He has been an American Council of Learned Societies Fellow, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, and a Guggenheim Fellow.

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Classless Politics book cover

Since the 1970s, the Egyptian state has embarked on a far-reaching and destabilizing project of economic liberalization, reneging on its commitments to social welfare. Despite widespread socioeconomic grievances stemming from these policies, class politics and battles over wealth redistribution have largely been sidelined from elite-led national politics. Instead, conflicts over identity have raged, as Islamist movements became increasingly prominent political players.

Classless Politics offers a counterintuitive account of the relationship between neoliberal economics and Islamist politics in Egypt that sheds new light on the worldwide trend of “more identity, less class.” Hesham Sallam examines why Islamist movements have gained support at the expense of the left, even amid conflicts over the costs of economic reforms. Rather than highlighting the stagnancy of the left or the agility of Islamists, he pinpoints the historical legacies of authoritarian survival strategies. As the regime resorted to economic liberalization in the 1970s, it tacitly opened political space for Islamist movements to marginalize its leftist opponents. In the long run, this policy led to the fragmentation of opponents of economic reform, the increased salience of cultural conflicts within the left, and the restructuring of political life around questions of national and religious identity.

Historically rich and theoretically insightful, this book demonstrates how the participation of Islamist groups shapes the politics of neoliberal reform and addresses why economic liberalization since the 1970s has contributed to the surge in culture wars around the world today.

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Islamist Movements, the Left, and Authoritarian Legacies in Egypt

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After the end of World War II, more than 45,000 young Japanese women married American GIs and came to the United States to embark upon new lives among strangers. The mother of Kathryn Tolbert, a former long-time journalist with The Washington Post, was one of them.

Kathryn noted, “I knew there was a story in my mother’s journey from war-time Japan to an upstate New York poultry farm. In order to tell it, I teamed up with journalists Lucy Craft and Karen Kasmauski, whose mothers were also Japanese war brides, to make a short documentary film through a mother-daughter lens. Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight: The Japanese War Brides was released in August 2015 and premiered on BBC World Television. To show the experiences of many more women like our mothers, I spent a year traveling the country to record interviews, funded by a Time Out grant from Vassar College, my alma mater.”

I knew there was a story in my mother’s journey from war-time Japan to an upstate New York poultry farm.
—Kathryn Tolbert, Co-Director, Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight

The Japanese War Brides Oral History Archive is the result of her interviews. The Oral History Archive documents an important chapter of U.S. immigration history that is largely unknown and usually left out of the broader Japanese American experience. In these oral histories, Japanese immigrant women reflect on their lives in postwar Japan, their journeys across the Pacific, and their experiences living in the United States.

SPICE developed five lessons for the Japanese War Brides Oral History Archive that suggest ways for teachers to engage their students with the broad themes that emerge from the individual experiences of Japanese war brides. The lessons are: (1) Setting the Context; (2) Japanese Immigration to the United States; (3) The Transmission of Culture; (4) Notions of Identity; and (5) Conflict and Its Analysis. SPICE also developed a teacher’s guide for the film, Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight: The Japanese War Brides, that helps teachers set the context for the film and provides guided viewing activities and debriefing activities. The lessons and teacher’s guide can be found at the webpage below.

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SPICE has developed free lesson plans on an important chapter of U.S. immigration history that is largely unknown.

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The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies are pleased to co-sponsor a screening of Vera Krichevskaya's film, "Tango with Putin: Fighting for Free Media in Russia," a documentary that traces the growth and eventual shuttering of Dozhd TV (TV Rain), the last independent TV station in Russia. Using founder Natalia Sindeeva's experiences, the film explores the realities faced by journalists trying to push back against the Kremlin's highly controlled media landscape.

Following the screening, FSI Director and former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul will lead a discussion and audience Q&A with the filmmakers.

Please register for the event in advance. The screening is open to all, and seating is on a first-come basis.

About the Film
 

In 2008, 35-year-old Natasha was a newly rich, successful woman looking for fame, reputation, and for dreams to come true. She decided to launch an independent TV station in Putin’s Russia. Unlike the state-sponsored outlets, Natasha hired opposition reporters and minorities, activists and LGBTQ community members. Soon, her project became the lone island of political and sexual freedom. For 12 years, Dozhd TV (also known as TV Rain) remained the only independent news TV station in Russia. 

What Natasha couldn't have known was that she and her station would end up on the frontlines of the war between truth and propaganda, face financial ruin, and eventually lose the motherland she had worked so hard to reform. On March 3, 2022 TV Rain was shut down by the Russian state on the sixth day of the war in Ukraine. But it is not the end of the story.
 

About the People

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Natalia Sindeeva
Natalya Sindeeva is a co-founder, main owner, and chief executive officer of the Dozhd TV (TV Rain) Media Holding, which includes Dozhd TV and Republic.ru. Co-founder and former general producer of the Silver Rain radio station, founder of the Silver Galosh anti-award. Three times laureate of the "Media Manager of Russia" prize, honorary academician of the Russian Academy of Radio, and a laureate of the Moscow Helsinki Group Prize for the Protection of Human Rights.


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Vera Krichevskaya
Vera Krichevskaya is a co-founder of Dozhd TV (TV Rain) and an award-winning television director and producer who has held numerous roles at NTV Channel, ICTV Channel and 24DOC TV. Her feature documentaries include “Tango with Putin: Fighting for Free Media in Russia”, "The Citizen Poet," "The Man Who Was Too Free," and "The Case" ("Delo Sobchaka"). In 2013, Vera was a World Press Institute Fellow.

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In 1999, Lyubov Sobol was a serious eleven-year-old with aspirations to be a Sherlock Holmes-style private detective. That same year, Vladimir Putin, a small-time FSB agent and mid-level cabinet member for former Leningrad mayor Anatoly Sobchak, was abruptly placed into the national spotlight by then-president Boris Yeltsin. Never in her wildest dreams could young Lyubov have imagined that 20 years later, she would be facing off against now-President Putin and working on the front lines to investigate and expose the corruption of the most powerful people in Russia.

For the last twelve years, Sobol has been a lawyer and political activist with the Anti-Corruption Foundation of Russia (FKB), the country’s most prominent pro-democracy movement. She works closely with the group’s founder, Alexei Navalny, to push for the democratization of Russia and advocate against Putin's policies through on-the-ground and digital outreach. She is currently at Stanford as a visiting scholar with the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL).

As the war in Ukraine continues and free speech and other rights within Russia are further curtailed, many activists, Sobol included, have had to adapt or leave the country. To help contextualize the work she and other activists are currently doing, she explains where the roots of the democracy movement in modern Russia began, and the place she hopes it will take on the global stage in the future.
 


Corruption is a foundational element of the system Vladimir Putin and his cronies built. Without removing him and his supporters from power, it will not be possible for serious reforms or the democratization of state mechanisms to take place.
Lyubov Sobol
CDDRL Visiting Scholar


Let’s start with a broad look at opposition movements and their place in modern Russia. What role have opposition movements played in Russian society since the end of the Soviet Era in the late 1980s and early 1990s?

After the attempt by the Communist Party of Russia to forcibly seize political control in the 1991 August Coup, the course towards democratic reforms was supported by the majority of the Russian population. However, the democratic politicians were divided, and they had little to no experience with public political activity or organizing participation in elections. They failed to offer a clear, intelligible  plan for reforming the country and get it across to voters.                     

With the exception of certain leaders like Foreign Minister A. Kozyrev, human rights ombudsman S. Kovalev, and Deputy Prime Minister B. Nemtsov, truly democratic politicians were not widely represented in power at this time, and did not have a significant influence on state policy. Many of the politicians in power used pro-democracy ideals and the language of human rights as a mask to further their own, more selfish interests. Then with the economic crash in 1998, radical rhetoric and a revitalized communist party began to regain support.

Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin.
Boris Yeltsin hands over the “presidential” copy of the Russian constitution to Vladimir Putin. (December 31, 1999) Wikimedia Commons

Ultimately, a strong democratic party never emerged in Russia and deeply rooted democratic institutions were not built. The corruption and false promises corroded trust in democracy and undermined many Russian’s belief in liberalism. When Putin came to power in the late 90s, he took advantage of the chaos and further crushed many of the structures of the state. By the 2000s, he had tightened control over the legislature and elections and removed almost all competition from within the power system.

Today, few opposition forces survive. The leading figure is Alexei Navalny, and the goal of his movement has been to promote the idea of democratic change and the change of Putin's regime as essential prerequisite for other structural reforms in Russia. His followers were refused the right to register as an official political party under false, far-fetched pretexts, and the organization was declared by the state as an extremist organization and subjected to countless, baseless criminal charges. Like most opposition politicians, Navalny is now in prison. But these attacks only show how in the last 10 years, he has truly become a viable competitor that Vladimir Putin’s regime fears.

Alexey Navalny marches with protestors in Moscow.
Alexei Navalny, Anna Veduta, and Ilya Yashin march at a pro-democracy rally in Moscow on June 12, 2013. WIkimedia Commons

You work with the Anti-Corruption Foundation (Фонд борьбы с коррупцией), which was founded by Alexei Navalny in 2011. What has your network’s approach been to combatting corruption and systemic issues in Russia?

Our team investigates corruption crimes and collects legal evidence that we send to various law enforcement agencies as part of our efforts to bring those responsible to justice. At the same time, we focus public attention on these problems, demonstrating the negative impact that corruption and criminal activity has on all spheres of life. It’s important for people to understand that corruption is a foundational element of the system Vladimir Putin and his cronies built. Without removing him and his supporters from power, it will not be possible for serious reforms or deep democratization of state mechanisms to take place.

We’ve actively worked to propose anti-corruption bills and support those who are trying to ratify international standards like article 20 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), which criminalizes illicit enrichment. Representatives of our team have participated in elections and conducted dozens of election campaigns throughout the country at all levels of government, from municipal and regional to the presidential elections in the Russian Federation. Our team also worked with authoritative Russian economists and experts such as Sergei Guriev and Sergei Aleksashenko to develop projects for economic and political reforms.

We’ve won several elections in both city and regional parliaments, and have also developed and successfully applied the Smart Voting project to help coordinate voting in support of promising opponents of Putin's United Russia party. But all this being said, we’ve faced strong opposition from the authorities, the police, and the FSB with each victory.
 


Opposition pro-democratic forces are partners with the West. Putin can only offer the world blackmails on energy, the threats of nuclear war, and a global food crisis. We offer stable business relationships and peaceful, constructive foreign policy.
Lyubov Sobol
CDDRL Visiting Scholar

How have you and other activists had to adapt since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the further crackdowns in Russia against opposition voices and protests?

Repressions against our team began even before the attack on Ukraine. In the fall of 2020, the FSB tried to kill Alexei Navalny by poisoning him with the military-grade nerve agent Novichok. After an investigation into this poisoning and his return to Russia, he was imprisoned. Our group, the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FKB) was declared an extremist group and a foreign agent by the Kremlin and liquidated. In practice, this means we are banned from participating in political work like elections and protests. This has essentially created a ban on any political opposition activity in Russia.

Under such conditions, most of our team has evacuated to neighboring countries and continues to work from exile. We still influence the minds and moods in Russia through our internet media resources, which have an audience of millions. Conducting one-time protests is currently impossible in the country due to the introduction of repressive laws, but we continue to encourage our supporters to participate in elections under the Smart Voting strategy. We stand up for increasing the number of our supporters and for the trust of the people, while increasing the political costs for Putin, reducing his personal rating, and diminishing the standing of the United Russia party.

Muscovites protest against the war in Ukraine.
Muscovites protest against the war in Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Wikimedia Commons

What can supporters of democracy across the world do to help the work you and other activists from Russia are doing?

After the attack on Ukraine, the best thing the rest of the world can do is to help Ukraine to get everything it needs to win this war. Ukraine's victory is Putin's loss.

The war unleashed by Putin is criminal not only in relation to Ukraine and Ukrainians, but also to Russia. It contradicts Russia’s national interests and literally destroys its future. Putin and his regime are a common enemy for Russians, Ukrainians, and the entire democratic world.

But the war is not only on the battlefields and in the Ukrainian cities. This war has an economic front, and Western countries need to intensify their efforts to deprive the Kremlin of its resources to continue the war. There also needs to be much tougher personal sanctions against Putin’s officials and propagandists.
 


The outcome [of this war] will determine the vector of development for the entire world: either towards democracy or to totalitarianism. That’s why . . . this war is important not only for the people of Ukraine and Russia, but for everyone, everywhere.
Lyubov Sobol
CDDRL Visiting Fellow

Despite what the propaganda tries to portray, Russia is not homogenous and support for Putin is far from being ironclad. Putin has not won the entire information war for Russian’s attitudes. That’s why we at FKB consider it our duty to continue countering false information and tell Russians the truth about the war and Putin’s crimes.

We want the democratic community to understand how important this work is for victory in the war and the post-war reconstruction of Russia. While the physical fighting might be localized to Eastern Europe, the war will have far-reaching consequences across the globe. Its outcome will determine the vector of development for the entire world: either towards democracy or to totalitarianism. That’s why victory on the side of justice and rights in this war is important not only for the people of Ukraine and Russia, but for everyone, everywhere.
 

Liubov Sobol

Lyubov Sobol

Activist and CDDRL Visiting Scholar
Full Profile

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Will Democracies Remain United As Putin Intensifies His Destruction of Ukraine?

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Lyubov Sobol, an activist and current visiting scholar at CDDRL, explains the roots of Russia's pro-democracy movement and the importance of its success to Russia, Ukraine, and the future stability of the global democratic community.

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Jonas Edman
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SPICE continues to expand its regional programs for high school students in Japan. This year marked the launch of the Stanford e-Kobe program, which joins the previously established programs, Stanford e-Hiroshima, Stanford e-Kawasaki, Stanford e-Oita, and Stanford e-Tottori.

These online courses are a collaboration between SPICE and local government and school officials in Japan and challenge students to think critically about global themes related to U.S. society and culture and U.S.–Japan relations.

All five courses have now finished their 2021–2022 term. This summer, two top students from each program will present their final research projects and be honored at a virtual event hosted by SPICE, Stanford University. Congratulations to the ten honorees below on their excellent academic achievement!

Stanford e-Hiroshima (Instructor Rylan Sekiguchi)

Student Honoree: Minori Imai
School: Hiroshima Prefectural Kuremitsuta High School
Project Title: All Lives Are Important

Student Honoree: Yui Miyake
School: Hiroshima Prefectural Hiroshima High School
Project Title: U.S. Prison System: How the Country’s History of Racial Inequality Drives the High Rate of Incarceration in America

Stanford e-Kawasaki (Instructor Maiko Tamagawa Bacha)

Student Honoree: Sayaka Kiyotomo
School: Kawasaki High School
Project Title: How Can We Improve Junior and Senior High School English Education in Japan?

Student Honoree: Anne Fukushima
School: Tachibana High School
Project Title: How Are Invisible Disorders Accepted in the United States and Japan?

Stanford e-Kobe (Instructor Alison Harsch)

Student Honoree: Nonoha Toji
School: Kobe University Secondary School
Project Title: How to Foster Entrepreneurship in School Days: Between U.S. and Japan

Student Honoree: Cullen Hiroki Morita
School: Kobe Municipal Fukiai High School
Project Title: The Different Work-Life Balance in Japan and America

Stanford e-Oita (Instructor Kasumi Yamashita)

Student Honoree: Rina Imai
School: Usa High School
Project Title: Learn About War and Peace Through the Naval Air Base Bunkers in Oita

Student Honoree: Yuki Nojiri
School: Hofu High School
Project Title: I Want to Live in the Second House of the Three Little Pigs

Stanford e-Tottori (Instructor Jonas Edman)

Student Honoree: Sakurako Kano
School: Tottori Keiai High School
Project Title: Being Proactive

Student Honoree: Yuki Yamane
School: Tottori Nishi High School
Project Title: The Effect of Collectivism and Individualism on Education

The SPICE staff is looking forward to honoring these ten students in a virtual ceremony on August 9, 2022 (August 10 in Japan). Each student will be given the opportunity to make a formal presentation to members of the Stanford community, the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco, and the Japanese community in the San Francisco Bay Area.


SPICE also offers online courses to U.S. high school students on Japan (Reischauer Scholars Program), China (China Scholars Program), and Korea (Sejong Korea Scholars Program), and online courses to Chinese high school students on the United States (Stanford e-China) and to Japanese high school students on the United States and U.S.–Japan relations (Stanford e-Japan).

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Principal Officer John C. Taylor and Governor Seitaro Hattori with students
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Opening Ceremony for Stanford e-Fukuoka

Governor Seitaro Hattori, Ambassador Rahm Emanuel, and Principal Officer John C. Taylor congratulate students in inaugural class.
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SPICE Honors Top Students from 2020–2021 Regional Programs in Japan

Congratulations to the eight student honorees from Hiroshima Prefecture, Kawasaki City, Oita Prefecture, and Tottori Prefecture.
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Honorees of SPICE’s regional programs in Japan
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Ceremony Honors Top Students from SPICE’s Regional Programs in Japan

Congratulations to the eight honorees of SPICE’s 2019–2020 regional programs in Japan.
Ceremony Honors Top Students from SPICE’s Regional Programs in Japan
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Congratulations to the ten student honorees from Hiroshima Prefecture, Kawasaki City, Kobe City, Oita Prefecture, and Tottori Prefecture.

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This article examines the consequences of the opium concession system in the Dutch East Indies—a nineteenth-century institution through which the Dutch would auction the monopolistic right to sell opium in a given locality. The winners of these auctions were invariably ethnic Chinese. The poverty of Java's indigenous population combined with opium's addictive properties meant that many individuals fell into destitution. The author argues that this institution put in motion a self-reinforcing arrangement that enriched one group and embittered the other with consequences that persist to the present day. Consistent with this theory, the author finds that individuals living today in villages where the opium concession system once operated report higher levels of out-group intolerance compared to individuals in nearby unexposed counterfactual villages. These findings improve the understanding of the historical conditions that structure antagonisms between competing groups.

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This article examines the consequences of the opium concession system in the Dutch East Indies—a nineteenth-century institution through which the Dutch would auction the monopolistic right to sell opium in a given locality.

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World Politics
Authors
Nicholas Kuipers
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pp. 1–38
Authors
Gary Mukai
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Mayor Norihiko Fukuda of Kawasaki City—the sixth most populous city in Japan—spoke during the closing ceremony of Stanford e-Kawasaki on March 29, 2022. The ceremony marked the end of the third-year offering of Stanford e-Kawasaki, which is taught by Instructor Maiko Tamagawa Bacha. Nineteen students representing Kawasaki High School and Tachibana High School successfully completed the course and each received a certificate from Mayor Fukuda as Bacha announced each student’s name.

Stanford e-Kawasaki focuses on two themes, entrepreneurship and diversity. In Mayor Fukuda’s comments to students, he noted that with people coming from across and outside of Japan to Kawasaki, the city has developed to become a city of 1.54 million people and one of the most diverse cities in Japan. Given this, Fukuda underscored the importance of having students value diversity, and stated, “I want young people in Kawasaki to appreciate this core value.” He continued,

I also want students to foster entrepreneurial mindsets as they pursue their future careers… With the English and critical-thinking skills that they have gained in this program, they have taken off from a starting line to make their way into the world.

This year’s course featured a diverse group of speakers, including a panel of Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program alumni who spoke about diversity in the United States. The panelists included Jeffrey Fleischman, Cerell Rivera, and Kai Wiesner-Hanks, who spoke on topics such as ethnic diversity, gender equality and identity, religious diversity, and cultural diversity. Bacha is a former Advisor for Educational Affairs at the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco and one of her major responsibilities was overseeing the JET Program. She commented, “It was particularly gratifying for me to provide a platform for JET alumni to continue to offer their support to students in Japan.” Other sessions were led by Dr. Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu who addressed the central question, “What is diversity?,” and also discussed diversity issues in Japan, and Stanford graduate student Alinea Tucker, who spoke on “Black Lives Matter.”

In the area of entrepreneurship, Miwa Seki, General Partner, M Power Partners, provided perspectives as an investor, and Sukemasa Kabayama, Founder and CEO of Uplift Labs, shared his journey as an entrepreneur in Japan and in the United States.

A highlight of the closing ceremony was the announcement of the two honorees of Stanford e-Kawasaki. They are Sayaka Kiyotomo from Kawasaki High School and Anne Fukushima from Tachibana High School.

Reflecting on the three years of teaching the course, Bacha noted, “Since the inception of Stanford e-Kawasaki, Mayor Fukuda’s unwavering commitment has without a doubt contributed greatly to the success of the course. The students and I have always felt his support.” After the ceremony, Mayor Fukuda brought the students to one of his meeting rooms and engaged them in informal discussions. His formal and informal comments were very inspirational to the students.

I am most grateful to Mayor Norihiko Fukuda for his vision and for making this course possible. I would also like to express my appreciation to Mr. Nihei and Mr. Katsurayama from the Kawasaki Board of Education; and Mr. Abe, Mr. Tanaka, Mr. Kawato, and especially Mr. Inoue from Kawasaki City for their unwavering support. Importantly, I would like to express my appreciation to Principal Iwaki and his staff of Kawasaki High School and Principal Takai and his staff from Tachibana High School for their engagement with Stanford e-Kawasaki. An article in Japanese about the closing ceremony that was published by Kawasaki City can be found here.

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Maiko Tamagawa Bacha

Instructor, Stanford e-Kawasaki
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SPICE Director Dr. Gary Mukai with Mayor Norihiko Fukuda
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Stanford e-Kawasaki: The Vision of Mayor Norihiko Fukuda

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Kawasaki Mayor Norihiko Fukuda makes welcoming comments.
Opening Ceremony Held for Stanford e-Kawasaki
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SPICE Honors Top Students from 2020–2021 Regional Programs in Japan

Congratulations to the eight student honorees from Hiroshima Prefecture, Kawasaki City, Oita Prefecture, and Tottori Prefecture.
SPICE Honors Top Students from 2020–2021 Regional Programs in Japan
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Stanford e-Kawasaki closing ceremony held.

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Yo-Yo Ma conceived Silkroad in 1998 “as a reminder that even as rapid globalization resulted in division, it brought extraordinary possibilities for working together. Seeking to understand this dynamic, he recognized the historical Silk Road as a model for cultural collaboration—for the exchange of ideas, tradition, and innovation across borders. In a groundbreaking experiment, he brought together musicians from the lands of the Silk Road to co-create a new artistic idiom: a musical language founded in difference, a metaphor for the benefits of a more connected world.”[1] The Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education has been collaborating with Silkroad since 2002.

On April 6, 2022, Silkroad will be performing at Stanford University. Silkroad Ensemble: Home Within will feature Syrian-born clarinetist and composer Kinan Azmeh and Syrian Armenian visual artist Kevork Mourad. Azmeh’s and Mourad’s bios on the Silkroad website read in part:

Hailed as a “virtuoso, intensely soulful” by The New York Times and “spellbinding” by The New Yorker. Syrian-born, Brooklyn-based genre-bending composer and clarinetist Kinan Azmeh has been touring the globe with great acclaim as a soloist, composer and improviser… He is a graduate of The Juilliard School, the Damascus High Institute of Music, and Damascus University’s School of Electrical Engineering. Kinan holds a doctorate in music from the City University of New York.

Kevork Mourad was born in Kamechli, Syria. Of Armenian origin, he received an MFA from the Yerevan Institute of Fine Arts and now lives and works in New York. His past and current projects include the Cirène project with members of Brooklyn Rider at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the multimedia play Lost Spring (2015) with Anaïs Alexandra Tekerian, at the MuCEM, Gilgamesh (2003) and Home Within (2013) with Kinan Azmeh in Damascus and at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, among others…

In 2016, SPICE developed a study guide to accompany Art in a Time of Crisis, a conversation between Kinan Azmeh and Yo-Yo Ma about what it means to create art in the face of crisis and violence at home. The interview and study guide are recommended for music, social studies, and language arts courses at the high school level and above. Please note that neither the interview nor study guide delves into the specifics of the Syrian uprising in March 2011 and the Syrian Civil War.

The focusing questions in the study guide are:

  • What is the meaning of “crisis”?
  • What are some examples of times of crisis?
  • What are some ways to deal with crisis?
  • What role can art play during times of crisis?
  • What can an individual do to help facilitate change?
     

Silkroad Ensemble Musicians Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Haruka Fujii (percussion), and Kinan Azmeh (clarinet)
Silkroad Ensemble Musicians Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Haruka Fujii (percussion), and Kinan Azmeh (clarinet); photo courtesy Silkroad

I believe that comments from Kinan Azmeh and Yo-Yo Ma can inspire youth to consider the importance of these questions in their lives and the relevance of these questions to the events unfolding in the world today and to consider art as a form of soft power. I admire how they seek to empower and offer youth hope. During a segment of the interview, Yo-Yo Ma asks,

… I think [Leonard] Bernstein was once asked, ‘What do you do in the face of violence?’ I think his response was that you just continue to create even more passionately. Would you agree with that?

Kinan Azmeh replied, “Absolutely. But... the first thing on your mind is not ‘Let me create beauty.’ I think creating beauty or whatever moves people [is] the side effect of you being passionately involved in doing what you’re doing.” After students view the interview, I wonder how they might reply to Yo-Yo Ma’s question.

 

[1] Silkroad; https://www.silkroad.org/about [access date: March 22, 2022]

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On April 6, 2022, Silkroad will be performing at Stanford University.

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