CD229: Target Belarus

CD229: Target Belarus

Mar 14, 2021

Executive Producers (2): Nich Secord, Sage Felker

We are in the process of regime changing Belarus. In this episode, I prove it.

Executive Producer: Nich Secord

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Omnibus 2021 Outline

Bill Text



SUBTITLE C – Support for Human Rights in Belarus

Belarus Democracy, Human Rights, and Sovereignty Act of 2020

Sec. 322: Findings

  • “Alyaksandr Lukashenka has ruled Belarus as an undemocratic dictatorship since the first presidential election in Belarus in 1994.”
  • “Subsequent presidential election in Belarus have been neither free nor fair…”
  • In response to the 2006 presidential election, “Congress passed the Belarus Democracy Reauthorization Act of 2006”
  • 2006: President George W. Bush issued Executive Order 13405 which authorized sanctions
  • 2011: Senate Resolution 105 condemned the December 2010 elections in Belarus as illegitimate
  • Repeatedly says, “The Government of Belarus, led illegally by Alyaksandr Lukashenka…”
  • Accuses the government of conducting flawed elections, retribution against protestors, the suppression of the media, “a systematic campaign of harassment, repression, and closure of nongovernmental organizations”, and pursuit of policies that make Belarus “subservient” to Russia by integrating into a “so called ‘Union State’ that is under the control of Russia”.
  • Accuses the government of arresting journalists, activists, and “3 leading presidential candidates” ahead of the August 2020 election.
  • Accuses the government of conducting a fraudulent election on August 9, 2020, which reelected Alyaksandr Lukashenka and says the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and Canada refuse to recognize Alyaksandr Lukashenka as the legitimate President of Belarus.
  • The opposition candidate, Sviatlana Tsikhaouskaya fled to Lithuania in the days following the election, and from Lithuania, she “announced the formation of a Coordination Council to oversee… a peaceful transition of power…”
  • The government of Belarus is accused of arresting journalists, including six who report for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
  • Alyaksandr Lukashenka has requested security assistance from Russia, which Russia has promised to provide

Sec. 323: Statement of Policy

  • “To continue rejecting the invalid results of the fraudulent August 9, 2020 presidential election in Belarus…”
  • “To continue supporting calls for new presidential and parliamentary elections…”
  • “To refuse to recognize Alyaksandr Lukashenka as the legitimately elected leader of Belarus”
  • “To not recognize any incorporation of Belarus into a ‘Union State’ with Russia…”
  • “To continue calling for the fulfillment by the Government of Belarus of Belarus’s freely undertaken obligations as an OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) participating state and as a signatory of the Charter of the United Nations”
  • “To recognize the Coordination Council as a legitimate institution to participate in a dialogue on a peaceful transition of power.”
  • “To impose targeted sanctions, in coordination with the European Union and other international partners…”

Sec. 324: Assistance to Promote Democracy, Civil Society, and Sovereignty in Belarus

  • Authorizes “Belarusian groups outside of Belarus” to receive assistance
  • Authorizes assistance to be used for “enhancing the development of the private section, particularly the information technology sector, and its role in the economy of Belarus, including by increasing the capacity of private sector actors…”
  • Authorizes “such sums as may be necessary” for fiscal years 2021 and 2022.

Sec. 325: International Broadcasting, Internet Freedom, and Access to Information in Belarus

  • Gives the Biden administration’s State Department 120 days to submit a strategy, with a cost estimate, for expanding radio, television, live stream, and social network broadcasting and communications in Belarus to provide news and information, to develop and deploy circumvention technologies to allow people in Belarus to communicate on the internet without interference from the government of Belarus, to monitor the cooperation between Belarus and other countries in regards to internet monitoring or censorship capabilities, and “build the capacity of civil society, media, and other nongovernmental organizations and organizations to identify, track, and counter disinformation.”
  • Part of this report can be classified

Sec. 326: Sanctions Against the Government of Belarus

  • Allows sanctions to be applied to “a member of any branch of the security or law enforcement services of Belarus…”, or is “an official in the so-called ‘Union State’ between Russia and Belarus (regardless of nationality of the individual) and their family members.



Additional Resources

Visual References

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Sound Clip Sources

Meeting: Biden and Belarus: A strategy for the new administration, Atlantic Council, January 27, 2021

Authors Dr. Anders Åslund, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, Melinda Haring, deputy director at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, Ambassador John Herbst, director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, and Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, join to present their key findings and ideas for the Biden administration. They are joined by Valery Kovaleuski, an adviser to Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, to discuss the report. The event will be moderated by Eurasia Center Nonresident Fellow and Tsikhanouskaya adviser Hanna Liubakova.

Watch on Youtube


  • Melinda Haring
    • Deputy Director of the Atlantic Council’s
    • Eurasia Center
    • Eurasia Foundation
    • Freedom House
    • National Democratic Institute
    • Council on Foreign Relations
  • John Herbst
    • Director of the Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council
    • 2003-2006: US Ambassador to Ukraine
    • 2000-2003: US Ambassador to Uzbekistan – played a critical role in the establishment of an American base to help conduct Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan
    • Former Principal Deputy to the Ambassador at Large for the New Independent States
  • Dr. Anders Åslund
    • Senior fellow at the Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council
    • Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Bank of Finland Institute for Economies in Transition
    • Former Director of the Russian and Eurasian Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Valery Kovaleuski
    • Adviser to Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya

9:40 Melinda Haring: The problem, though, is that there’s all kinds of limitations on moving money into Belarun. It’s A, it’s a security state, B, we have COVID. And people can’t move in and out of the country very easily. So this has to be handled sensitively. The folks that I’m talking to say that cryptocurrencies are the way to do it, but there’s a bigger problem. The US government is not very good at moving money. They are tied up in all kinds of reporting requirements. The European Union has the same issues. But we need to be more creative. If we don’t think with some new creative energy. This protest movement is going to fizzle out. So it’s time to go back to the drawing boards and talk to people who are good at moving money and make it happen now.

14:40 Dr. Anders Åslund: Lukashenko today has only reserves for about one month of imports normally said it should be for three months. And he has a$3 billion of cash he needs $6 billion more to carry, to cover this year. And traditionally there are two sources to get that. One is from the IMF and back is not available because the IMF is not prepared to deal with Lukashenko because he is normally cheating them. And they know that. And the other source is Russia. Putin declared when Lukashenko came to his knees to Putin in Sochi on the 14th of September, but he’s ready to give one and a half billion dollars as loans. But, Lukashenko needs much more, and well to Putin hinted at it is that Russian private money can come in and buy the big companies, and the Belarusian economy is quite concentrated to a few big companies. So there are four big companies: two fertilizer plants and two oil refineries that account for two thirds of the Belarus’s exports to the west. And then where do they get the raw material from? All the oil comes from Russia, and the gas for one of the fertilizer plants come from Russia. So the natural thing is that the Russian private businessmen by these Belarusian companies, we have seen it before. It has happened with gas assets in Belarus and half of one of the refineries is already bought by Russian companies. But where does the money come from? It comes from Russian state banks. So what Putin is essentially saying it is a couple of my most loyal oligarchs are allowed to get billions of dollars of Russian state bank financing in order to buy Belarusian companies cheaply, and that would completely tie up the Belarusian economy and this is what we have to avoid.

18:07 Valery Kovaleuski: Biden has expressed a lot of interest in the situation in Belarus, he showed himself as fairly well informed about the events in those. And he was very vocal in kind of demanding the action and kind of defining the policy of the United States government. At this stage, I think the most important than the sort of doses are waiting for very specific steps that will be tangible, and that will be impactful. And number one is fast reintroduction of economic sanctions. And you might know that the United States have has imposed the sanctions since long, but they were suspended when Russia invaded Ukraine and the United States and European Union decided to engage with those and normalize relations. And that was one of the steps that they made. They introduced the waiver to the sanctions and now they are in the the suspension state. The other one would be to continue not recognizing Lukashenka’s legitimacy as he is not legitimate ruler of Belarus at the moment. Very important would be to start implementation of the those Democracy Human Rights and Sovereignty Act that was adopted just last year, and actually it was, it was adopted in a very kind of fast, fast pace in just three months since in introduction in the house. But the whole Act has as a kind of arsenal of tools and mechanisms to to influence the situation that was to influence, the behavior of Lukashenka.

21:46 John Herbst: The first is to promote the legitimacy of the opposition in Ms. Tsikhanouskaya and the delegitimization of Lukashenko. So, for example, our ambassador when she goes out, Julie Fisher, a wonderful diplomat, should not present credentials to Lukashenko, she should be spending most of our time in Vilnius near Ms. Tsikhanouskaya to wish to organize the US government to manage this crisis. So we should have a senior coordinator to manage sanctions against Lukashenko regime, and maybe against appropriate Russians, and also should have a senior official designated to manage assistance to the opposition and to the people of Belarus. And finally, this this combines both organization and resources, we should double the budget of RFP and RL. So we can get out our message to the people of Belarus. The third category is to increase specific support to the opposition. So for example, Melinda already mentioned the need to get resources to the opposition using cryptocurrency, we should also push to give legitimacy to the opposition. The fourth, the next element is to keep Russia out of the conflict. I mean, they’re already in. We’ve seen what they’ve done by sending media experts, for example. But this this involves I say, a series of measures that have to be conducted simultaneously. One, we don’t want to frighten Russians into thinking that Belarus is is now going to become part of the West. So we would encourage the opposition not to talk about NATO not to talk about the EU talk simply about the need for Belarus to choose its own president to work with the EU should be in dialogue with Moscow about the crisis in Belarus. But three, we should send a very clear signal to Moscow that if they intervene with their repressive opperatives, whether with their secret police, with their regular police with their military, to repress the people of Belarus, or to prop up Lukashenko or Lukashenko-like alternative, there will be serious sanctions against the Russian economy against Russian officials.

43:09 Melinda Haring: I think that Ukraine can definitely play a role here. And you know, there’s a lot of Belarusians who are in Ukraine. One of the more interesting things I found in in my section of the report, I focused on the domestic picture, is where Belarusians have gone since August, so Belarusians have gone to give, they’ve got to Riga, they’ve got to Vilnius and they’ve gone to Warsaw. And they’re creating massive civil society organizations that are helping people who had to leave quickly. And many of the people in Kiev are students so you can help students, you can, you can send a pizza, you can provide a house for them. You can do very basic things.

55:09 Dr. Anders Åslund: The aim of the sanctions is to put sufficient pressure on a bilateral so that Lukashenko has to go. This is a really a regime change group of sanctions.

Meeting: A conversation with Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Atlantic Council, December 7, 2020

Watch on Youtube


  • Damon Wilson
    • Executive VP of the Atlantic Council
    • 2007-2009: Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council
    • Former Executive Secretary and Chief of Staff at US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq
    • 2004-2006: Director for Central, Eastern, and Northern European Affairs at the National Security Council
    • 2001-2004: Deputy Director in the Private Office of NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson – Played a lead role on the Alliance’s response to 9/11 and its operations in Afghanistan and the Western Balkans
  • Melinda Haring
    • Deputy Director of the Atlantic Council’s
    • Eurasia Center
    • Eurasia Foundation
    • Freedom House
    • National Democratic Institute
    • Council on Foreign Relations
  • Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya

1:37 Damon Wilson: After her husband was jailed by Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenka, while running for President, Svetlana stepped in. Running a historic campaign for change. Much of the world recognizes that she overwhelmingly won the August 9th election, but Tsikhanouskaya was forced to flee the country after the regime threatened her family. The people of Belarus have protested for months demanding that Lukashenka resign, they are the true source of legitimacy. Tsikhanouskaya and the coordination Council for the transition of power which she leads from Vilnius, Lithuania, is recognized by the European Union and many others as the true voice of the Belarusian people.

5:42 Melinda Haring: How can the people of Belarus change the dynamic on the ground and force out Lukashenka?

8:07 Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya: We are asking the west to act faster. In my opinion, Western countries should demand new and fair elections and release of all political prisoners. Belarus democracy Act would serve as timely and extremely helpful step from the head of the US government in support of their brave people.

19:57 Melinda Haring: Look, I wanted to tell our audience if they haven’t had a chance to get a copy of The Washington Post. Ms. Tsikhanouskaya has a piece in it this weekend. It’s called ‘The people of Belarus are Still Marching, Help Us.’ And she writes very passionately about the need to pass the Belarus Democracy, Human Rights and Sovereignty Act of 2020. There’s two weeks left to pass this act before Congress is out. Ms. Tsikhanouskaya what’s in it and why is it important? Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya: The proceeds the bipartisan support received in favor of this act. We hope that this draft bill becomes law as soon as possible, as it would inspire the US to act decisively and urgently to support Belarus. Belarusian peaceful protest is a turning point. People struggle, people suffer. People struggle everyday with great dedication, yet there is a need of support on behalf of the international community. And when the new democracy act becomes low, it would send a strong signal to the Belarusian regime and the rest of the world on non recognition of Lukashenka’s legitimacy, call for new presidential elections and oversee standards and demand the release of all political prisoners. You know, in our opinion, the Act would allow prompt US assistance to the civil society, media and urgent actions such as counter internet blockages in Belarus.

Meeting: Backing Batka: Russia’s strategic economic integration with Belarus, Atlantic Council, November 6, 2020

Watch on Youtube


  • Host: John Herbst
    • Director of the Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council
    • 2003-2006: US Ambassador to Ukraine
    • 2000-2003: US Ambassador to Uzbekistan played a critical role in the establishment of an American base to help conduct Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan
    • Former Principal Deputy to the Ambassador at Large for the New Independent States
  • Dr. Katerina Bornukova, academic director of the BEROC Economic Research Center
  • Professor Vladislav Inozemtsev
    • Senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Dirk Schuebel Ambassador of the European Union to Belarus
  • Dr. Anders Åslund
    • Senior fellow at the Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council
    • Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Bank of Finland Institute for Economies in Transition
    • Former Director of the Russian and Eurasian Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

5:58 Dirk Schuebel: The pro-democracy movement and Belarus now faces the difficult prospect of dislodging Mr. Lukashenko, the unrecognized President who refuses to leave office.

6:47 Dr. Katerina Bornukova: So, if we take a look at the recent economic growth, over the last 10 years, we will see stagnation, average growth rate was around 1.7% only, which is too low for a developing economy, which needs to catch up. And the reason for this is structural problems, lack of reforms and privatization. As a result, we have a very large state owned sector, which is inefficient and which has accumulated a lot of debt, and this debt was slowly transferred to the government. So, which means that, well, right now, over the years, Belarus has also accumulated public debt. And right now that that is up to 35% of GDP. It’s not relatively large, but it’s quite difficult to serve because the majority of this debt is nominated in foreign currencies and that means that the liquidity and currency is always a problem with Belarus, and it often turns to Russia to solve this problem. So right now 50% of the debt is held by Russia or Russia associated funds.

10:45 Professor Vladislav Inozemtsev: Even if the government in Belarus changes, Russia will not…it cannot decouple from better because there are a lot of links, which tightens the two countries. First of all, Belarus is a part of the so called union state with Russia existing from like 99. It’s a part of the Eurasian Economic Union. And in this case, Russia can allow to lose Belarus. There is a huge difference between Belarus and Ukraine for example, in this case, because Ukraine never was a part of any Russian led organizations but Belarus is.

13:49 Professor Vladislav Inozemtsev: The difference between Ukraine for example and Belarus is that Belarusian economy is state owned, it is not controlled by the oligarchy groups as it is in Ukraine. So therefore, for participating in this privatization for getting this shares or stakes in Belarus enterprise, the Russian private companies should be allowed to do so. So, therefore, there were several moves from the Russian side from the Russian private companies in direction of somehow changing the situation and to being allowed to jump in.

24:40 Dr. Anders Åslund: More money must come. And as we have discussed, all of us, this essentially has to come from the private sector. Ideally, this would be an IMF program, but the IMF is not ready to go for any program way of Lukashenko. They haven’t had anything since 2009. Because Lukashenko refuses to do the elementary thing, stop subsidies to state enterprises and deregulated certain prices. So this is out of question.

Hearing: Markup Hearing including Belarus bill, U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, October 1, 2020

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1:18:30 Rep. Chris Smith (NJ): Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank you as well for bringing the Belarus Democracy Human Rights and Sovereignty Act of 2020. And thank you to Ranking Member McCall for his leadership on this Chairman Keating and Mr. Kissinger for their leadership as well. And Marcy Kaptur, who is also one of the co sponsors originals of this bill.

1:20:15 Rep. Chris Smith (NJ): We are now approaching almost two months since the fraudulent poll. And the people of Belarus despite the brutal crackdown, are still organizing rallies of 100,000 people or more demanding that Lukashenko leave power, and lead Belarus to the people to whom it belongs. I would note to my colleagues that according to the UN Special Rapporteur, more than 10,000 peaceful protesters have been detained as of September 18. And they need our help. Recent reports indicate that the police are using now, today increasingly violent tactics against these peaceful demonstrators. We do have a window of opportunity, and we need to seize it with everything that we have. As my colleagues know, the leading opposition presidential candidate, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who won the election by most accounts. Of course, there’s not access to the ballots, but it seems clear that she won the election formed the coordination Council. Svetlana is an incredibly brave woman. She ran a brilliant campaign. But today she has an exile in Lithuania, where she continues to rally the Belarusian people and the world. I want to thank Mr. Keating for putting together that WebEx a few weeks ago with her and some of the coordination leaders from the council. We all saw a new and a fresh, just how important it is that we stand behind her. And behind all of the people of Belarus who have aspirations for free and fair elections and for democracy.

1:21:50 Rep. Chris Smith (NJ): This bill today updates the Belarus Democracy Acts of 2004, 2006, and 2011 that I authored, and renews the personal economic and visa sanctions on an expanded list of bad actors in the Belarusian government. And, this is new, Russian individuals complicit in the crackdown. It calls for new elections, it recognizes the coordination council as a legitimate institution to participate in a dialogue on a peaceful transition of power.

1:23:15 Rep. Chris Smith (NJ): So I just want to thank my colleagues. It’s a totally bipartisan bill. I want to thank Katie Earle for her work on the bill. I want to thank Jackie Ramos, Pierre Tosi, Patrick, the Doug Anderson, there are just many who have worked together fast, quickly and effectively, and members to put together this bipartisan legislation.

Hearing: Protecting Democracy During COVID–19 in Europe and Eurasia and the Democratic Awakening in Belarus, Committee on Foreign Affairs: Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and the Environment, September 10, 2020

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  • Douglas Rutzen
    • President and CEO of the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law
    • Professor at Georgetown University Law Center
    • Advisory Board member of the United Nations Democracy Fund
  • Therese Pearce Laanela
    • Head of Electoral Processes at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance
  • Joanna Rohozinska
    • Resident Program Director for Europe at the Beacon Project at the International Republican Institute
    • Senior program officer for Europe at the National Endowment for Democracy at least as of 2019. She has worked there for about a decade
  • Jamie Fly
    • Senior Fellow at the German Marshall Fund and Co-Director of the Alliance for Security Democracy
    • Senior Advisor to WestExec Advisors
    • Co-founded by incoming Secretary of State, Antony Blinken
    • Former President and CEO of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in 2019 & 2020
    • Former counselor for foreign and national security affairs for Sen. Marco Rubio from 2013-2017
    • Former Executive Director of the Foreign Policy Initiative from 2009-2013
    • Former member of GWB’s National Security Council from 2008-2009
    • Former member of GWB’s Office of the Secretary of Defense from 2005-2008

53:30 Joanna Rohozinska: Lukashenko must be held responsible for his choices and actions. Word mating strategies with transatlantic allies should be priority and to call for dialogue, immediate release of political prisoners and support for the political opposition’s demands for holding elections under international supervision and beginning negotiations on a Lukashenko transition.

53:56 Joanna Rohozinska: Support for democracy requires patience as well as long term commitment and vision. This has been made possible with the support of Congress to IRI and the family. Thank you and I look forward to your questions.

1:03:05 Therese Pearce Laanela: Institutions that are as strong…What we are seeing… those that are able to safeguard and against disinformation for example, they are working in innovative ways because this isn’t a challenge that existed really as much before social media and one of the things that we’re seeing is a kind of interagency cooperation, a partnership between private and public. That’s really hasn’t been seen before. Let me just take Australia as a case, but the working together with social media companies and government agencies and security agencies and election officials for rapid reaction to anything that comes in and that kind of seamless communication between agencies, that is one of the ways in which we can protect.

1:04:15 Jamie Fly: We have tools. Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty has a Bella Russian language service Radio Svoboda which has significant of followers inside Belarus. The problem is that Lukashenko like many other authoritarians have realized that when they face significant pressure, they should take the country offline. And Belarusian authorities have done that on a regular basis, which makes it much more difficult to communicate and allow information to spread freely. So what they really need outlets like Svoboda and other independent media are access to internet circumvention tools, which are also funded by the State Department and the US Agency for Global Media.

1:09:57 Douglas Rutzen: China is providing surveillance technology to countries including Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Serbia. They also provided a $2 billion dollar loan to Hungry to construct a railway which Hungry then classified as a state secret in terms of the construction.

1:19:28 Brian Fitzpatrick: In 2013, in 2000, and he saw large scale protests in Ukraine, following what many believed to be a falsification of elections by their federal officials. So my first question for the entire panel, do you believe that Belarus protests could lead to a revolution similar to the one we saw in Ukraine and secondarily, on Tuesday, President Lukashenko, refused to rule out the idea of holding new elections, and acknowledge that he may have overstayed his time at office, whether or not you see revolutions similar to Ukraine, do you think that these protests could lead to an actual change in leadership? Joanna Rohozinska: So I take it as a question to me. I mean, I think that things have been building up and I would say that with this similarity to Ukraine was that there was also a deep seated frustration with corruption. Here, it’s less about corruption. But it’s still meets, where you have the accountability and transparency aspect of it that I was mentioning in my testimony. And I think that the frustration with the lack of responsive government and being treated like animals, frankly, is what they say, is what finally boiled over, but there’s been, there’s been an uptick in protests in Belarus, if you watch these kinds of things over the past two years, over the parasite tax, for example, which was also was a special tax that was put on unemployment, and on to penalize people who are unemployed, is trying to target civic activists, but it ended up reaching far farther than that. So you can see things percolating below the surface for quite a long time. Now. You never know when it’s going to blow. Here, I think that there was just the COVID, underlay everything and it mobilized such a broad swath of society, that the trigger event was finally the elections, which again, demonstrating a degree of hubris they decided not to put off right, they figured that holding the elections at the beginning of August was the best thing to do, because there is always a low torque turnout and all this, frankly, because people tend to go out to the countryside. So they simply miscalculated. They did not understand how the people were feeling. And here, you do have a similarity with Ukraine, I think. And in terms of in terms of the other questions to going forward? No, you have to appreciate that this is a country that’s never experienced democracy ever. Which means that even the democratic opposition leaders basically know it from textbooks, they don’t know what from firsthand practice. And, Lukashenko himself, ironically, has been supporting the notion of sovereignty and independence in the face of the Russian state for the past couple of years. And he only changed his tune a couple of weeks ago, when he started getting backed into a corner. And in terms of, you know, his promises and calling new elections, I would be wary. He does not have a particularly good track record of following through on promises. And so I would probably take that as a lesson learned and be extremely cautious. I personally think he’s just buying time. Because he also said that he would consider holding the elections after introducing constitutional changes and the constitutional changes that he’s proposing is to introduce term limits. So I mean, he’s still looking at the succession. He understands that this is the end of his time in office. I don’t know if he wants to do that right, exactly now, however, understanding that this would have been his last term anyways, you’re probably preparing for an exit strategy.

1:23:00 Joanna Rohozinska: I would certainly invest in looking at quality early parliamentary elections as being much more significant. Because once you turn the house, once you turn the parliament and then at least you start building up a degree of political capital that can start carrying forward into into the governance.

1:52:37 Therese Pearce Laanela: Your people are excellent. I really want to say that I’m calling in from Sweden. I’m not American myself. But I have worked in this business for 28 years working in different countries in really tough situations. And some of the best experts out there are from organizations that are very close to those of you when you’re normally working in Washington. So the United Nations as well based in New York, but also organizations like IFIS, NDI, our colleagues from IRI they are doing excellent work supported by USA ID. So and they’ve kind of got it figured out how to support institutions for the long term, so you can trust the people that you are supporting.

Hearing: Foreign Affairs Issue Launch with Former Vice President Joe Biden, Council on Foreign Relations, January 23, 2018


  • Richard Haass – President of the Council on Foreign Relations
  • Joe Biden

State Department Daily Briefing, Department of State, February 6, 2014

Ukraine coup – leaked phone call between Victoria Nuland and Geoffey Pyatt, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, February 6, 2014

Watch on YouTube

Hearing: Economic Aid to New Independent States, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, January 24, 1994


  • Brian Atwood
    • Then: USAID Adminstrator
    • Now: NDI board member – Was the first president of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs
  • Stephen Cohen
    • Then: Professor at Princeton with emphasis in Russian studies
    • Married to Katrina Vanden Heuvel
    • Criticized the Obama administration for starting the new Cold War
    • Said in 2014 that Ukraine crisis was a result of US actions, starting with Clinton, aimed at expanding NATO up to Russia’s border.
    • Wrote about our role in the 2014 Ukraine coup
  • Strobe Talbot
    • Then: Deputy Secretary of State
    • Former Director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization
    • President of the Brookings Institution for 15 years
    • Member of CFR

14:23 Sen. Patrick Leahy (VT): There is no greater United States national security objective today than to assist Russia make a peaceful transition to a stable democratic form of government, an open pluralistic society, a market economy. Such a transition offers the best prospect of a long term cooperative, peaceful relationship with the only other nuclear power capable of destroying the United States.

26:39 Strobe Talbot: Our approach from the beginning, our strategy has been to reinforce those trends in Russian political and economic life that together we believe, constitute the essence of the Great Transformation underway in that country. Those trends are democratization and privatization. They are in fact interlocking. They are mutually reinforcing. The more people work in private enterprise, the more they are likely to participate in the democratic process and the more they are likely to vote for candidates who will support economic as well as political freedom.

27:27 Strobe Talbot: Our bilateral foreign aid program is intended in its essence, to help prime the pump for the flow of much higher levels of support from two other sources from the international business community in the form of trade and investment, and from the international financial institutions in the form of loans to help Russia make the transition from a command to a market economy.

28:25 Strobe Talbot: President Yeltsin needs to have the confidence that if he continues to press forward on a strong economic reform program, Western support will be swift and substantial. But he and his colleagues in both the executive and the legislative branches of the Russian government must also understand something else. And that is the cause and effect relationship between internal reform and outside support. Our support will follow their reform. It cannot be the other way around.

29:30 Strobe Talbot: Privatization involves closing down inefficient state enterprises while the shift to market economics at least initially brings higher prices. The result is social pain, disruption and fear of the future. If they reach critical mass, those ingredients can explode into a political backlash against reform.

1:46:00 Strobe Talbot: The world has capital flows, potential for investment that can move into societies like Russia, where the population is highly educated. It’s a tremendous human resource where there are natural resources that can be exploited for the good of Russia and for the entire world economy.

2:23:47 Strobe Talbot: Now we do not know what the future holds. We do not know what kind of Russia we will be sharing the planet with early in the 21st century. We do not know if it will have stayed on a reform path and have continued to move in the direction of integration.

2:53:10 Stephen Cohen: Now, to be fair, this unwise American policy toward Russia began under President Bush in the end of 1991, with the breakup of the Soviet Union, but for a full year now President Clinton has expanded that policy, made it worse and therefore now, it is his policy.

2:54:10 Stephen Cohen: The guiding principle of that policy since 1991 has been, and evidently based on the hearing today remains, an exceedingly missionary and highly interventionist idea that the United States can and should intervene in Russia’s internal affairs in order to convert or transform that nation into an American style system at home, and a submissive junior partner of the United States abroad.

Cover Art

Design by Only Child Imaginations

Music Presented in This Episode

Intro & Exit: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)

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