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Ari Chasnoff
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In an announcement released on October 7, the Norwegian Nobel Committee named three parties as joint recipients of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize medal: human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski from Belarus, the Russian human rights organization Memorial, and the Ukrainian human rights organization Center for Civil Liberties.

The recognition of the Center for Civil Liberties and Memorial is particularly meaningful for the community of fellows at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL), who share a personal connection to the leadership of both organizations.

Oleksandra Matviichuk, a 2018 graduate of the Ukrainian Emerging Leaders program, is head of the Center for Civil Liberties in Ukraine. Anna Dobrovolskaya and Tonya Lokshina, who graduated from the Draper Hills Summer Fellow program in 2019 and 2005, led Russia-based Memorial before it was forced to close by the Russian government in December 2021.

The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, where CDDRL is based, has a long history of supporting democracy and civil society activists through its selective leadership development programs. Since 2005, CDDRL has trained and educated more than 225 Ukrainians through the Ukrainian Emerging Leaders Program, which has transitioned to become the Strengthening Ukrainian Democracy and Development (SU-DD) Program; the Draper Hills Summer Fellows Program; and the Leadership Academy for Development (LAD). The Draper Hills Summer Fellows program trains global leaders working on the front lines of democratic change, including 25 from Russia.

"We are all so excited by this morning’s news that organizations headed by three alumnae of CDDRL’s practitioner-based training programs have received the Nobel Peace Prize,” shared Kathryn Stoner, Mosbacher Director of CDDRL. “This recognition is very well-deserved. Both the Center for Civil Liberties in Ukraine and Memorial in Russia are on the front lines of the battle to protect human rights and liberties, and their work and bravery should be acknowledged and rewarded. We are proud to have supported some of their work here at CDDRL."

The Center for Civil Liberties in Ukraine and Memorial in Russia are on the front lines of the battle to protect human rights and liberties. We are proud to have supported some of their work here at CDDRL.
Kathryn Stoner
Mosbacher Director at CDDRL

According to the Nobel Committee announcement, the recipients “represent civil society in their home countries. They have for many years promoted the right to criticize power and protect the fundamental rights of citizens. They have made an outstanding effort to document war crimes, human right abuses and the abuse of power. Together they demonstrate the significance of civil society for peace and democracy.”

Oleksandra Matviichuk, the head of Ukraine’s Center for Civil Liberties board, was a visiting scholar in the Ukrainian Emerging Leaders Program from 2017-2018. The activities of the Center for Civil Liberties are aimed at protecting human rights and building democracy in Ukraine and the region encompassed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The work of the Center for Civil Liberties is currently focused on documenting alleged war crimes by the Russian military.

Anna Dobrovolskaya and Tonya Lokshina participated in the Draper Hills program in 2019 and 2005, respectively. Both had leadership roles at the Memorial Human Rights Center. The center was the largest human rights NGO in Russia before being disbanded, working to provide legal aid and consultation for refugees and asylum seekers, monitoring human rights violations in post-conflict zones, and advocating for a human-rights based approach in fighting terrorism.

The Draper Hills program is a three-week intensive academic training program that is hosted annually at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. The program brings together a group of 25 to 30 non-academic mid-career practitioners in law, politics, government, private enterprise, civil society, and international development from all regions of the world. Fellows participate in academic seminars led by Stanford faculty that expose them to the theory and practice of democracy, development, and the rule of law.

“I am thrilled for our former fellows!” said FSI Director Michael McFaul.  “We at FSI and CDDRL have admired their courageous work in the fight for truth and justice for a long time. It's nice to see that the rest of the world now knows about them too.”

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The Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize to two human rights organizations, Ukraine’s Center for Civil Liberties, led by Oleksandra Matviichuk, and Memorial in Russia, which was led by Anna Dobrovolskaya and Tonya Lokshina.

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Steven Pifer
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In a May 5 interview with the Associated Press, Belarus dictator Alyaksandr Lukashenka expressed concern that the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War could see the use of nuclear weapons. Lukashenka called such use “unacceptable because it’s right next to us.”  He has good reason for concern.

Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24. With the war now in its eleventh week, the Russian military has failed abysmally in what appear to have been its original objectives of taking Kyiv, deposing the government, and occupying the eastern half of Ukraine. The Russian army is now struggling against fierce Ukrainian resistance to attain a down-sized goal of securing the Donbas region in Ukraine’s east while holding on to gains in the south of the country.

Lukashenko was no innocent bystander in this war. On the contrary, he allowed Russian troops to enter Belarus, from which they launched their aborted assault on Kyiv. Belarus has also served as a platform for hundreds of Russian airstrikes against Ukrainian targets.

As for the Belarusian autocrat’s concern, the only threats of nuclear use since the war began have come from his ally, Vladimir Putin, and other senior figures in Moscow. On February 27, for no apparent reason, Putin announced that Russia’s nuclear forces had been placed on “special combat readiness.” On April 25, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the nuclear threat should not be underestimated.

Meanwhile, on one of Russia’s flagship television shows, leading propagandist Dmitry Kiselyov gleefully depicted a Russian nuclear weapon devastating the United Kingdom. This was one of several recent references by Kremlin TV pundits to Russia’s nuclear arms and the use of nuclear weapons. It is worth noting that none of these pundits has addressed what would happen to Russia when the inevitable retaliation arrived.

Despite the worrisome words from Moscow, the Pentagon has said that it currently sees no change in Russia’s nuclear posture.

So far, senior Russian military leaders have remained largely silent on the nuclear issue. Perhaps they understand better than Putin, Lavrov and Kiselyov that Russia’s introduction of nuclear weapons into the current war with Ukraine would open a Pandora’s Box full of unpredictable, nasty and potentially catastrophic consequences, including for Russia.

Lukashenka cannot comfortably distance himself from the nuclear issue. He is heavily dependent on Moscow’s support and recently oversaw a contrived referendum to approve a new Belarusian Constitution which permits nuclear weapons, presumably Russian, to be deployed in Belarus. Putin and Lavrov’s irresponsible attempts at nuclear intimidation should therefore worry Lukashenka, who also recently professed to be troubled that the war in Ukraine had “dragged on” longer than expected.

During much of the Cold War, NATO faced off against the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries. Both sides arrayed against one another large conventional forces backed by nuclear weapons. NATO periodically war-gamed how a conflict with Soviet and Warsaw Pact forces would play out. These war games were sometimes designed with a nuclear element in order to give players a feel for the kind of consultations that would have to occur in the event of a nuclear war.

In those war games, if NATO decided to go nuclear, several questions arose. Perhaps the most important question was the choice of target for a nuclear strike. NATO of course did not want to target its own territory, but targeting Soviet territory could prove too escalatory. One other option presented itself: a strike against Soviet forces and other targets in the non-Soviet Warsaw Pact countries.

Fast forward to 2022. If the Kremlin were now to make the extremely reckless decision to use a nuclear weapon and NATO deemed a response necessary, the alliance would have a variety of options. One would be an overwhelming conventional counter-attack.

However, if the alliance considered a nuclear response, similar thinking as during the Cold War would likely apply. NATO would not want to target a nuclear weapon on NATO territory and might regard immediately striking Russian territory as too escalatory. As the victim of Russia’s invasion and a recipient of strong political support and major military assistance from NATO members, Ukraine would also be ruled out. This would leave Belarus. And Lukashenka has allowed the Russians to deploy plenty of possible military targets on his country’s territory.

Russia will hopefully not be foolish enough to use a nuclear weapon. However, the Belarusian autocrat might want to think about the potential implications for his own country. If the war drags on and the Kremlin, which has already made a series of miscalculations, were to make another regarding nuclear use, Lukashenka could well find that he has dragged Belarus into far more than he bargained for.    

Originally for Atlantic Council's Belarus Alert

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In a May 5 interview with the Associated Press, Belarus dictator Alyaksandr Lukashenka expressed concern that the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War could see the use of nuclear weapons. Lukashenka called such use “unacceptable because it’s right next to us.” He has good reason for concern.

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Livestream event on March 1, 2022 at 6:30pm PST: "What's Next for Ukraine and Russia?"

This panel discussion will analyze the most recent developments in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, and what may lay ahead.

It will be moderated by Francis Fukuyama, director of Stanford’s Ford Dorsey Masters of International Policy Program and Olivier & Nomellini Senior Fellow in International Studies at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), with panelists Rose Gottemoeller, the Steven C. Házy Lecturer at FSI’s Center for International Security and Cooperation and deputy secretary general of NATO from 2016 to 2019, and Steve Pifer, the William J Perry Fellow at FSI and former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

 

PANELISTS:

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Rose Gottemoeller

Steven C. Házy Lecturer at the Center for International Security and Cooperation
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Steven Pifer

WIlliam J. Perry Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation
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MODERATOR:

Francis Fukuyama

Francis Fukuyama

Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Full Profile
Francis Fukuyama

Join via YouTube livesteam

Center for International Security and Cooperation
Encina Hall
616 Jane Stanford Way
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-6165

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Steven C. Házy Lecturer at the Center for International Security and Cooperation
Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution
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Rose Gottemoeller is the Steven C. Házy Lecturer at Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and its Center for International Security and Cooperation.

Before joining Stanford Gottemoeller was the Deputy Secretary General of NATO from 2016 to 2019, where she helped to drive forward NATO’s adaptation to new security challenges in Europe and in the fight against terrorism.  Prior to NATO, she served for nearly five years as the Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security at the U.S. Department of State, advising the Secretary of State on arms control, nonproliferation and political-military affairs. While Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance in 2009 and 2010, she was the chief U.S. negotiator of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with the Russian Federation.

Prior to her government service, she was a senior associate with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, with joint appointments to the Nonproliferation and Russia programs. She served as the Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center from 2006 to 2008, and is currently a nonresident fellow in Carnegie's Nuclear Policy Program. She is also a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. 

At Stanford, Gottemoeller teaches and mentors students in the Ford Dorsey Master’s in International Policy program and the CISAC Honors program; contributes to policy research and outreach activities; and convenes workshops, seminars and other events relating to her areas of expertise, including nuclear security, Russian relations, the NATO alliance, EU cooperation and non-proliferation. 

Rose Gottemoeller Steven C. Házy Lecturer at CISAC
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Steven Pifer is an affiliate of the Center for International Security and Cooperation as well as a non-resident senior fellow with the Brookings Institution.  He was a William J. Perry Fellow at the center from 2018-2022 and a fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin from January-May 2021.

Pifer’s research focuses on nuclear arms control, Ukraine, Russia and European security. He has offered commentary on these issues on National Public Radio, PBS NewsHour, CNN and BBC, and his articles have been published in a wide variety of outlets.  He is the author of The Eagle and the Trident: U.S.-Ukraine Relations in Turbulent Times (Brookings Institution Press, 2017), and co-author of The Opportunity: Next Steps in Reducing Nuclear Arms (Brookings Institution Press, 2012).

A retired Foreign Service officer, Pifer’s more than 25 years with the State Department focused on U.S. relations with the former Soviet Union and Europe, as well as arms control and security issues.  He served as deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs with responsibilities for Russia and Ukraine, ambassador to Ukraine, and special assistant to the president and senior director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia on the National Security Council.  In addition to Ukraine, he served at the U.S. embassies in Warsaw, Moscow and London as well as with the U.S. delegation to the negotiation on intermediate-range nuclear forces in Geneva.  From 2000 to 2001, he was a visiting scholar at Stanford’s Institute for International Studies, and he was a resident scholar at the Brookings Institution from 2008 to 2017.

Pifer is a 1976 graduate of Stanford University with a bachelor’s in economics.

 

Affiliate, CISAC
Affiliate, The Europe Center
Steven Pifer WIlliam J. Perry Fellow at CISAC
Panel Discussions
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On Friday, October 22, 2021 from 10:00-11:00 am PT, The World House Global Network is honored to have Andre Kamenshikov as our guest speaker. We will be discussing current challenges for civil society in Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine.

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Andre Kamenshikov
Andre Kamenshikov is a civil society activist in the field of peacebuilding, with both a US and Russian background. He graduated Moscow State University majoring in sociology in 1991 as well as studied various subjects in Carroll College, Waukesha, Wisconsin and undertook courses in human rights and other relevant topics. He is the representative of a US-based NGO Nonviolence International and the regional coordinator of an international civil society network - the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) in the Eastern Europe region. He has over 28 years of experience as a civil peacebuilding activist in conflict areas of the ex-USSR. He was the founder of Nonviolence International–CIS, a civil society organization that was based in Moscow and operated in the post-soviet states for 22 years until it had to be closed due to the current political climate in Russia. Since 2015 he has been based in Kyiv, Ukraine, working primarily with the local civil society sector on enhancing its capacities to contribute to peace and democratic development of the country. He is an author of a number of publications about the role of civil society in post-soviet conflicts, including “International experience of civilian peacebuilding in the post-soviet space” (2016), the “Strategic framework for the development of civil peacebuilding activities in Ukraine” (2017).

Online via Zoom. Register Now

Andre Kamenshikov
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Melissa Morgan
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On August 9, 2020 citizens in the Republic of Belarus went to the polls to vote for their next president. The incumbent was Alexander Lukashenko, a 67-year-old military officer who has kept an iron grip on the presidency for the entire 26 years Bealrus has held elections. But the challenger was an unexpected, new face. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is a 38-year-old English teacher, mother and pro-democracy activist who stepped into a campaign following her husband's arrest and imprisonment in May 2020 for political dissension. In four short months, she galvanized the nation with a message of democracy, freedom and fair elections that reached across opposition factions and gained enough momentum to become a serious contender for the presidency.

On election day, projections estimated an initial win for Tsikhanouskaya at 60%. But when the country's Central Elections Commission announced the election results, Lukashenko carried 80% of the vote, and Tsikhanouskaya a mere 10%. Given the long history of election engineering in Belarus, the results were expected. But what happened next was not. Outraged by the fraud, Tsikhanouskaya's supporters poured into city centers in Brest and Minsk by the tens of thousands, instigating the largest public protests in the history of post-Soviet Belarus. Caught off-guard, the regime hit back with a ruthless wave of violence and political imprisonments, prompting the European Union, NATO and other countries to impose sanctions and condemn Lukashenko as an illegitimate leader.

While Tsikhanouskaya's presidential campaign ended last August, her role as a democratic leader in Eastern Europe has not. In the year since the election, she has traveled the globe to meet with lawmakers, policy experts and heads of state to speak out against the ongoing repression of Lukashenko's regime and advocate for support of Belarus by the international community. The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) was honored to host Tsikhanouskaya and her delegation at Stanford for a roundtable discussion on the challenges that lay ahead in preparing Belarus for a democratic transition. Director Michael McFaul hosted the discussion, which brought together scholars from across FSI, the Hoover Institute and the Belarusian expatriate community. The full recording is below.

Rather than holding a typical press conference, Tsikhanouskaya's visit at FSI gave members of the Belarusian delegation an opportunity to engage in back-and-forth dialogue with an interdisciplinary panel of experts on governance, history and policy. Tsikhanouskaya and her senior advisors shared their perspectives on the challenges they are facing to build and maintain pro-democracy efforts, while Stanford scholars offered insights from their extensive research and scholarship.

Presidents, Protests and Precedent in Belarus


As leader of the delegation, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya gave an overview of the brutality of Lukashenko's regime and the lawlessness that has enveloped the country. But she also reaffirmed the commitment of everyday Belarusians to defending their independence and continuing the work of building new systems to push back against the dictatorship, and encouraged the support of the international democratic community.

"Belarusians are doing their homework. But we also understand that we need the assistance and help of other democratic countries," said Tsikhanouskaya. "That support is vital, because our struggle relates not just to Belarusians, but to all countries who share these common values."

Speaking to the work that Belarusians have already undertaken, Franak Viačorka, a senior advisor to Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, described how citizens are creating new means of protesting and organizing. Though they learned some tactics from recent protests in Hong Kong and classic theories by political scientists like Gene Sharp, organizers in Belarus quickly realized that they needed to innovate in order to keep ahead of Lukashenko's crack-downs. Today the opposition is a tech-driven movement that spreads awareness and support quickly through digital spaces and underground channels while avoiding large in-person gatherings that attract government brutality.

By Tanya Bayeva's assessment, these methods of organizing have been effective in capturing widespread support amongst people. A member of the Belarusian diaspora, Bayeva described the sense of empowerment she felt in coming together in a common cause with like-minded people.

"By coming out like this, people have started realizing that it is up to us, the people, and our individual willpower to make a difference," said Bayeva. "We are realizing that the king has no clothes, and that working together we can forward the process of democratization."

But there is still plenty of work ahead. In order to facilitate a more peaceful future transition to a democratic system, there will need to be frameworks in place to bridge the divide between old systems and new. Valery Kavaleuski, the representative on foreign affairs in Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya's delegation, is focusing extensively on these issues, such as reconciliation processes and plans for future investments between Belarus and the European Union.

"These are political moves that reinforce hope among Belarusians and tells that that they are not alone and that when the change comes, they will have friends by their side to overcome the challenges of the transition period," said Kavaleuski.

Advice from Stanford Scholars: Focus on Processes and People


Responding to the Belarusian delegation's questions and comments, the faculty from FSI and the broader Stanford community offered insights and considerations from a variety of perspectives and disciplines on 'next steps' for the pro-democracy movement.

Francis Fukuyama, the Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at FSI and Mosbacher Director at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL), cautioned against the impulse to immediately take down the state and bureaucratic systems of the existing regime. While dismantling the mechanisms from the old state may feel emotionally satisfying, examples from history such as post-Nazi Germany and post-invasion Iraq illustrate the crippling effect on efficiency, functionality and the ability of the new order to govern in a vacuum of bureaucratic expertise.

FSI's Deputy Director, Kathryn Stoner, gave similar advice in regard to drafting and implementing a new constitution and conventions.

"People care to a great degree [about a new constitution], but not to months and months of debate and politicians yelling at one another. People can't eat constitutions," said Stoner. "You have to demonstrate that your system is going to be better than what was. When things have not gone well in transitioning countries, it's been because people don't see concrete change. So have a constitutional convention, but make it fast."

Amr Hamzawy, a senior research scholar for the Middle East Initiative at the Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, also pointed to the importance of engaging the public and building alliances within both the old and new political systems. Based on his observations of the failed Egyptian and Tunisian efforts at democratic transition, he cautioned against discussions of impunity, arguing that while politically and morally symbolic, this practice often backfires and alienates important factions of the state apparatus which are vital for the function and success of a new government.

Hamzawy similarly encouraged carefully blending nationalism and populism to keep divisions within the public sector in check. Imbuing such narratives with pro-democracy rhetoric, he believes, can create a powerful tool for unifying the population around the new government and emerging national identity.  

The advice from the Europe Center's director, Anna Grzymala-Busse, succinctly brought together many of the points made by the faculty panel: "No post-transitional government can achieve all the promises they've made right away," said Grzymala-Busse. "So make the transition about processes rather than specific outcomes, about ensuring the losers are heard along with the winners, and about making sure all people can participate."

Additional participants in the roundtable discussion not noted above include Hanna Liubakova, a journalist and non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council, Dmytro Kushneruk, the Consul General of Ukraine in San Francisco, and Stanford scholars Larry Diamond, David Holloway, Norman Naimark, Erik Jensen, Kiyoteru Tsutsui and John Dunlop.

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Tatiana Kouzina
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CDDRL Statement Regarding the Arrest of Tatiana Kouzina by Belarusian Authorities

The faculty and staff of Stanford's Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, as well as the undersigned alumni of the Draper Hills Summer Fellows Program, wish to protest the completely unjustified arrest and pending trial of the researcher Tatiana Kouzina on June 28 by Belarusian authorities.
CDDRL Statement Regarding the Arrest of Tatiana Kouzina by Belarusian Authorities
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Democratic leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and her delegation joined an interdisciplinary panel of Stanford scholars and members of the Belarusian community to discuss the future of democracy in Belarus.

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The faculty and staff of Stanford's Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, as well as the undersigned alumni of the Draper Hills Summer Fellows Program, wish to protest the completely unjustified arrest and pending trial of the researcher Tatiana Kouzina on June 28, 2021 by Belarusian authorities. Ms. Kouzina now faces unspecified criminal charges that could lead to her extended detention.

Following a fraudulent presidential election in August 2020, there have been ongoing peaceful protests and demonstrations in opposition of the Belarusian government and President Alexander Lukashenko. During this time, the government has unjustly arrested thousands of activists and protesters. Waves of repression reached politicians, civil society organizations, media, the research community, and ordinary citizens. The arrest of Ms. Kouzina is another in a series of troubling steps that the Belarusian government has taken against its people. We call for the release of Ms. Kouzina and other political prisoners currently being held in Belarus.

Ms. Kouzina is a highly respected Belarusian expert who was the co-founder, teacher, and researcher at the School of Young Managers in Public Administration (SYMPA) and the Belarusian Institute for Public Administration Reform and Transformation (BIPART). In this capacity, she conducted substantial research in the field and contributed to numerous policy and research documents, including as part of SYMPA's participation in EU-STRAT, an international research project implemented by a consortium of the leading European universities (including the Free University of Berlin and Leiden University, Netherlands) and think tanks in 2016-2019. As a long-time recognized member of the Belarusian research community, Ms. Kouzina has contributed immensely to its development and sustainability. From 2010-2015, she was the Executive Director of the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISS) and has cooperated with the Belarus Research Council (BRC), other Belarusian think tanks, and civil society organizations throughout her career.

Ms. Kouzina's arrest is a shocking example of the current Belarusian regime's repressive policies that have attacked other members of the Belarusian research and expert community. As researchers ourselves and members of the broader global democratic community, we strongly protest this arbitrary arrest and demand that Ms. Kouzina be released immediately.

Signed,

Francis Fukuyama, Mosbacher Director of the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, Stanford University, USA

Michael McFaul, Director, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University, USA

Olga Stuzhinskaya, international affairs and development expert, founder and former director of the Office for a Democratic Belarus in Brussels, CDDRL alumni 2006

Victor Liakh, East Europe Foundation, Ukraine

Hoi Trịnh, Board Member, VOICE, USA

Anna Dobrovolskaya, Memorial Human Rights Center, Россия

Mahdi Al Hajat, free journalist, Iraq

Haykuhi Harutyunyan, Corruption prevention commission, Armenia

Ruby Tetteh, Deputy Director, MOTI, Ghana

Denis Volkov, CDDRL alumni, Russia

Dmytro Potekhin, CEO, Factology.Systems, Ukraine

Abbas Milani, Hamid and Christina Moghadam Director of Iranian Studies, Stanford University, USA

Sasha Jason, Program Manager, Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, Stanford University, USA

Professor Donald Emmerson, Senior Fellow Emeritus, Stanford University, USA

Jamie O'Connell, Lecturer in Residence, Stanford Law School, and CDDRL affiliated faculty, USA

Belinda Byrne, Program Administrator, Stanford University, USA

Katherine Welsh, Administrative Associate at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, Stanford University, USA

Amr Hamzawy, Senior research scholar, Stanford University, USA

Erik Jensen, Professor of the Practice of Law, Director, Rule of Law Program, Stanford Law School, USA

Anna Grzymala-Busse, Michelle and Kevin Douglas Professor of International Studies, Stanford University, USA

Marcel Fafchamps, Senior Fellow, CDDRL, Stanford University, USA

Yusmadi Yusoff, People's Justice Party (KEADILAN), Malaysia

Olga Aivazovska, Head of Board, Civil Network OPORA, Ukraine

Befekadu Hailu, Center for Advancement of Rights and Democracy (CARD), Ethiopia

Varvara Pakhomenko, Consultant, Russia

Olena Sotnyk, Human rights defender, Ukraine

Elsa Marie DSilva, Red Dot Foundation, India

Laila Kiki, The Syria Campaign, Syria

Alla Kos, Austria

Nino Evgenidze, EPRC, Georgia

James D. Fearon, Professor, Stanford University, USA

Nino Chichua, Georgia Healthcare Group, Georgia

Janaína Homerin, Draper Hills Summer Fellow, Brazil

David Smolansky, Mayor in Exile, Venezuela

Hadeel AlQaq, Jordan

Eka Kemularia, Director, Green Line, Georgia

Yuriy Bugay, Independent consultant, NGO activist, Ukraine

Lauren Weitzman, Program Manager CDDRL, Stanford University, USA

Steve Luby, Professor of Medicine, Stanford University, USA

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The faculty and staff of Stanford's Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, as well as the undersigned alumni of the Draper Hills Summer Fellows Program, wish to protest the completely unjustified arrest and pending trial of the researcher Tatiana Kouzina on June 28 by Belarusian authorities.

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Steven Pifer
Adrianna Pita
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As protests continue in Belarus over the disputed re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko, Steve Pifer explains how the government’s response to COVID-19 and a blatantly stolen election prompted the wide-spread demonstrations. He also warns how Russia’s current support for Lukashenko could backfire by pushing Belarusian public opinion away from Russia and toward the West.

Listen at Brookings

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As protests continue in Belarus over the disputed re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko, Steve Pifer explains how the government’s response to COVID-19 and a blatantly stolen election prompted the wide-spread demonstrations.

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Steven Pifer
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From 2001 to 2004, I was the senior American official to visit Belarus. The United States and European Union were thoroughly dissatisfied with President Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s authoritarianism, and US policy mandated that no official higher than a deputy assistant secretary travel to Minsk. EU officials and EU member states observed comparable restrictions.

Washington had no particular geopolitical interest in Belarus, and trade was minimal. During my first visit in February 2002, the primary objective was to persuade the Belarusian government to ease up on repression, respect human rights, and allow a bit more political space. We presented Belarusian officials two lists. List A enumerated actions the US government wanted Belarus to take; List B laid out steps that Washington could take to improve bilateral relations. We told our counterparts that if they indicated what things from List A they would do to improve human rights and the political atmosphere, we would tell them what actions from List B the United States would take in response.

The Belarusians gave us nothing.

My second visit to Minsk came in March 2004 on a joint US-EU mission to encourage the Belarusian government to improve its human rights record. My EU colleagues and I presented a coordinated position. We noted our readiness to improve relations, including taking steps sought by Belarusian officials, provided that the government ease domestic repression. Once again, the Belarusians gave us nothing to work with.

I then traveled on from Minsk to Moscow for consultations and raised Belarus with a Russian deputy foreign minister. I noted that the United States and Russia had competing geopolitical interests regarding Ukraine, but that this was not the case with regard to Belarus. There was no push in Minsk to join the European Union, and zero Belarusian interest in NATO. Neither Washington nor the European Union clamored to pull Belarus closer. The primary Western aim was to get Lukashenka to ease up on the repression. Was this an issue on which the United States, Europe, and Russia could work together?

My Russian interlocutor listened politely, but his body language answered all too clearly. The domestic political situation in Belarus did not trouble him. And, in any case, if something needed to be done there, Russia would handle it on its own.

That Moscow meeting has come to mind once again in recent weeks as Belarusians have protested against a sham election. They are protesting in a way they have not protested in the nearly three decades since Belarus became an independent state. While Lukashenka, who has held power for 26 years, rails against Western interference, Western criticism focuses on democratic norms and a stolen election. There is no burning desire to pull Belarus into the West. Both the European Union and NATO have more than enough on their plates.

Likewise, the protests in Belarus are about democracy, not about a Westward geopolitical course. Presidential candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who according to credible exit polls won the August 9 presidential ballot, has said: “[The protest movement] is neither a pro-Russian nor an anti-Russian revolution. It is neither an anti-European Union nor a pro-European Union revolution. It is a democratic revolution.”

The absence of a geopolitical component to the current protests is perhaps not surprising. Indeed, it is worth underlining that of all the states to emerge from the wreckage of the Soviet Union in 1991, Belarus seemed the least certain about what to do with independence and the most interested in maintaining close relations with Russia.

As in 2004, Moscow presumably has no desire to coordinate with the West on how to handle the crisis that Lukashenka’s inept leadership and stolen election have caused. In going it alone, the Kremlin faces a choice. Does it choose to back Lukashenka or an increasingly restive population?

The Russian government could choose to side with the Belarusian people. They could help ease the authoritarian president out of office and into a pleasant retirement in a dacha near Moscow, perhaps with former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych living next door. In that case, Russia would likely gain a stable Belarus as a neighbor, with a population still – or perhaps even more – favorably disposed toward Russia and Russians.

There is an obvious drawback to this approach. The emergence of another pluralistic political system on Russia’s western border could give rise to greater questions from the Russian public as to why they cannot enjoy similar rights.

Backing Lukashenka would enable Russia to avoid such questions, but it could entail something significantly worse. A violent and prolonged crackdown supported by the Kremlin would lead to an increasingly radicalized Belarusian population that views Russia as thwarting its desire for a greater political voice. To Moscow’s disadvantage, this might bring geopolitical factors into play that are currently absent from the debate in Belarusian society. It could also fuel interest in “joining” the West.

On August 27, Vladimir Putin announced that Russia has already organized a reserve police force to assist Lukashenka if necessary. He should reconsider this. Over the past six years, Kremlin policies of intervention have been instrumental in pushing Ukraine away from Russia and toward the West. Does Moscow want to repeat this mistake with Belarus?

Much like Donald Trump’s approach to the coronavirus pandemic, Putin almost certainly hopes the protests in Belarus will just fade away. If they do not and the standoff deepens, Putin faces a hard choice. At present, he appears inclined to make the wrong decision, with potentially costly implications for Russia.

Steven Pifer is a William Perry Research Fellow at Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, and a former US ambassador to Ukraine.

Originally for UkraineAlert

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From 2001 to 2004, I was the senior American official to visit Belarus. The United States and European Union were thoroughly dissatisfied with President Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s authoritarianism, and US policy mandated that no official higher than a deputy assistant secretary travel to Minsk. EU officials and EU member states observed comparable restrictions.

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CISAC will be canceling all public events and seminars until at least April 5th due to the ongoing developments associated with COVID-19.

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About this Event: In this new Brookings Marshall Paper, Michael O’Hanlon argues that now is the time for Western nations to negotiate a new security architecture for neutral countries in eastern Europe to stabilize the region and reduce the risks of war with Russia. He believes NATO expansion has gone far enough. The core concept of this new security architecture would be one of permanent neutrality. The countries in question collectively make a broken-up arc, from Europe’s far north to its south: Finland and Sweden; Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus; Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan; and finally Cyprus plus Serbia, as well as possibly several other Balkan states. Discussion on the new framework should begin within NATO, followed by deliberation with the neutral countries themselves, and then formal negotiations with Russia.

The new security architecture would require that Russia, like NATO, commit to help uphold the security of Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and other states in the region. Russia would have to withdraw its troops from those countries in a verifiable manner; after that, corresponding sanctions on Russia would be lifted. The neutral countries would retain their rights to participate in multilateral security operations on a scale comparable to what has been the case in the past, including even those operations that might be led by NATO. They could think of and describe themselves as Western states (or anything else, for that matter). If the European Union and they so wished in the future, they could join the EU. They would have complete sovereignty and self-determination in every sense of the word. But NATO would decide not to invite them into the alliance as members. Ideally, these nations would endorse and promote this concept themselves as a more practical way to ensure their security than the current situation or any other plausible alternative.

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Speaker's Biography: Michael O'Hanlon is a senior fellow, and director of research, in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution, where he specializes in U.S. defense strategy, the use of military force, and American national security policy. He co-directs the Security and Strategy Team, the Defense Industrial Base working group, and the Africa Security Initiative within the Foreign Policy program, as well. He is an adjunct professor at Columbia, Georgetown, and Syracuse universities, and a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. O’Hanlon was also a member of the External Advisory Board at the Central Intelligence Agency from 2011-2012.

Michael E. O’Hanlon Director of Research, Foreign Policy Brookings Institution
Seminars
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Average life expectancy in Mongolia is 65 years, much shorter than that of other East Asian countries such as South Korea (78.5 years) and China (72.5 years). Furthermore, healthy life expectancy in Mongolia is even shorter, rendering the situation even more tragic. The World Health Organization estimates that the healthy life expectancy is 53 years for males and 58 years for females.

This colloquium will provide an overview of health in Mongolia and its healthcare system, with expertise from two speakers. First, Dr. Gendengarjaa Baigalimaa, Developing Asia Health Policy Fellow at Shorenstein APARC, will discuss her comparative study of how knowledge of cervical cancer risk factors has influenced behavior changes in Mongolia before and after the introduction of the National Cervical Cancer Program.

Second, Dr. Dashdorj will present on overview of the healthcare initiatives of the Onom Foundation, designed to mitigate excess and premature mortality of Mongolians via knowledge transfer and entrepreneurship. He will report on a March national health policy meeting in Mongolia’s capital and recent strides in health improvement made with the support of the Onom Foundation.

Gendengarjaa Baigalimaa joins the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (Shorenstein APARC) during the 2013-2014 academic year as the Developing Asia Health Policy Fellow. She joins APARC from the Mongolian National Cancer Center, where she serves as a Gynecological Oncologist.

During her appointment as Health Policy Fellow, she is completing her comparative study of how knowledge of cervical cancer risk factors has influenced behavior changes in Mongolia before and after the introduction of the National Cervical Cancer Program.

Baigalimaa is the Executive Director of Mongolian Society of Gynecological Oncologists and is also a member of the International Gynecological Cancer Society (IGCS) in Mongolia, Russia, and France.

Baigalimaa holds a MD from Minsk Belarussia Medical University. She also received a Masters in Health Science from Mongolian Medical University. She is fluent in both Russian and English.

Dr. Dashdorj hails from very humble beginnings. He was born and raised in the southwestern outskirts of Mongolia known as Gobi-Altay province, where the Altay Mountains border with the bare rock covered desert basins of the Gobi. Because of the unique upbringing, Dr. Dashdorj has a profound commitment for making a tangible difference in lives of fellow Mongols. At the same time, he strongly believes that entrepreneurship is the best vehicle for making a difference.

He obtained a Ph.D. in physics from Purdue University in 2005 and was a postdoctoral fellow at the US National Institutes of Health. His research using ultrafast optical spectroscopy and time-resolved x-ray imaging techniques is published in 17 original manuscripts in prominent, peer-reviewed scientific journals, such as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2010, Dr. Dashdorj became a faculty member at the Argonne National Laboratory. Despite his successes in scientific research, he gave up his academic career in 2013 to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams, since he truly believed that he can make a tangible difference via entrepreneurship, experimenting with a model of subsidizing philanthropic actions by a certain percentage of equity and profits of a for-profit company.

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Shorenstein APARC
Encina Hall E332
616 Serra Street
Stanford, CA 94305-6055

(650) 724-5710 (510) 705-2049 (650) 723-6530
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Developing Asia Health Policy Fellow
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MD

Gendengarjaa Baigalimaa joins the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (Shorenstein APARC) during the 2013-2014 acedemic year as the Asia Health Policy Program Fellow. She joins APARC from the Mongolian National Cancer Center, where she serves as a Gynecological Oncologist.

During her appointment as Health Policy Fellow, she will conduct a comparative study of how knowledge of cervical cancer risk factors has influenced behavior changes in Mongolia before and after the introduction of the National Cervical Cancer Program.

Baigalimaa is the Executive Director of Mongolian Society of Gynecological Oncologists and is also a member of the International Gynecological Cancer Society (IGCS) in Mongolia, Russia, and France.

Baigalimaa holds a MD from Minsk Belarussia Medical University. She also received a Masters in Health Science from Mongolian Medical University. She is fluent in both Russian and English.

Gendengarjaa Baigalimaa Developing Asia Health Policy Fellow Speaker Stanford University
Naranbaatar Dashdorj Founder and Chairman of Onom Foundation and a 2014 Sloan Fellow at the Stanford Graduate School of Business Speaker
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