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Garry Kasparov has been the chairman of the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) since 2012, a post held previously by one of his personal heroes, Václav Havel. Born in 1963 in the Soviet Union (modern day Azerbaijan), he was one of the first prominent Soviets to call for democratic and market reforms. In 1990, he and his family escaped ethnic violence in his native Baku as the USSR collapsed. Widely considered the greatest chess player in history after 20 years atop the rankings, Kasparov retired from the game in 2005 to become a leader in Russia’s pro-democracy movement.

Kasparov has used his international platform to warn the world of the dangers Putin’s increasingly aggressive regime — and the threat posed by authoritarianism in all its forms. He speaks and writes frequently on Russia, human rights, and technology. In 2015, Kasparov published the prescient book “Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped.” Forced to leave Russia in 2013 during Putin’s crackdown, he now lives in New York City.

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david satter

David Satter is an American journalist who has been writing about Russia for more than four decades. He has written four books, the latest of which is “The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep: Russia’s Road to Terror and Dictatorship under Yeltsin and Putin.” Satter is affiliated with the Hudson Institute and Johns Hopkins University. He was among the first to accuse Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federal Security Service of carrying out the 1999 apartment bombings that brought Putin to power. In 2013, while working in Moscow as an advisor and correspondent for RFE/RL’s Russian Service of Radio Liberty and correspondent, he was expelled, becoming the first U.S. journalist to be expelled from the country since the Cold War. He contributes frequently on Russian affairs to The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page and National Review, and is interviewed regularly on Russian affairs by RFE/RL.

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arkady babchenko

Arkady Babchenko is a renowned Russian journalist who fought in the first Chechen war for two years at the age of 18, and volunteered for six months during the second Chechen war. After his experience with the war, he wrote a series of stories about his experiences in battle, which were published under the title “One Soldier’s War.” He is also the creator of the project “Journalism without Intermediaries,” which aims to make journalists more independent and capable of avoiding censorship by editors or publishers. He currently works as a journalist at Novaya Gazeta, a Russian opposition paper.

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yegveni kiselev

Yevgeni Kiselev is a Russian media personality, journalist, and political analyst. He became a household name as a prominent presenter on the popular NTV television channel. In the 1990s, he hosted the weekly news show “Itogi,” which was modeled on the U.S. show 60 Minutes and highly critical of the Yeltsin administration and widespread government corruption. Kiselev was CEO of NTV at the time of a government crackdown on the channel in 2001, during which the editorial team was split up and control of station handed over to the state-owned oil company Gazprom. He managed to stay on Russian television for two more years on other stations until being forced out. He then worked as a freelancer, hosting shows on Echo Moskvy radio station and publishing in both Russian and international outlets, including GQ, Forbes, and Vedomosti. Kiselev is a 1995 recipient of the International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists, which recognizes journalists who show courage in their reporting in the face of threats of violence and imprisonment. He is also the co-author of “Without Putin,” a book of dialogues between him and Russian politician Mikhail Kasyanov, chronicling the latter’s experiences in the Yeltsin and Putin administrations and, later, the opposition movement. Kiselev has lived in Kiev since 2008, where he leads news on the largest Ukrainian television channel, Inter.

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Anders Åslund

Anders Åslund is a senior fellow at the Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. He has also been a professor at the Stockholm School of Economics and was the founding director of the Stockholm Institute of East European Economics. A leading specialist on economic policy in Russia, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe, he has served as an economic adviser to the governments of Russia and Ukraine. He is the author of 14 books and the editor of 16 books. He earned his doctorate from Oxford University and is a member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.

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Toomas Hendrik Ilves, former president of Estonia (2006-2016), is a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

Ilves served as chairman of the EU Task Force on eHealth from 2011 to 2012 and was chairman of the European Cloud Partnership Steering Board at the invitation of the European Commission from 2012 to 2014. In 2013, he chaired the High-Level Panel on Global Internet Cooperation and Governance Mechanisms convened by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). From 2014 to 2015, Ilves was the co-chair of the advisory panel of the World Bank’s World Development Report 2016, “Digital Dividends,” and was also the chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Cyber Security beginning in June 2014.

Starting from 2016, Ilves co-chaired The World Economic Forum working group, the Global Futures Council on Blockchain Technology. In 2017, Ilves became an advisory council member of the German Marshall Fund’s Alliance for Securing Democracy.

Ilves has won many international awards, including the 2013 NDI Democracy Award by the National Democratic Institute, 2014 Freedom Award by the Atlantic Council, 2015 Aspen Prague Award by the Aspen Institute, 2016 Knight of Freedom Award by the Casimir Pulaski Foundation, 2017 John Jay Award by Columbia College, 2017 Reinhard Mohn Prize by Bertelsmann Stiftung, 2017 World Leader in Cybersecurity Award by Boston Global Forum.

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James Kirchick is a visiting fellow at the Center on the United States and Europe and Project on International Order and Strategy at the Brookings Institution. He is author of “The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues, and the Coming Dark Age” (Yale, 2017), a correspondent for The Daily Beast, a columnist for Tablet Magazine, and a frequent contributor to a wide array of publications, including The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Politico, Foreign Policy, The Weekly Standard, and Commentary. 

He began his professional journalism career at The New Republic covering domestic politics, lobbying, intelligence, and American foreign policy. In 2010, he moved to Prague to become writer-at-large for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, traveling widely to cover the politics and cultures of the 21 countries in RFE/RL’s broadcast region. Among the stories he reported on were the fraudulent 2010 presidential election in Belarus, ethnic cleansing in Kyrgyzstan, and the Libyan Civil War.

A leading voice on American gay politics and international gay rights, he is a recipient of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association’s Journalist of the Year Award and is currently at work on a history of gay Washington, D.C., for Henry Holt. In 2013, Kirchick was kicked off RT (Russia Today) after protesting the Putin regime’s anti-gay policies in a live broadcast that became an internet sensation. He has been a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow in Berlin, a Hoover Institution Media Fellow, and a Phillips Foundation Journalism Fellow, and he is a professional member of the PEN American Center and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, Kirchick is a graduate of the Roxbury Latin School and holds degrees in both history and political science from Yale.

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Michael Carpenter is the senior director of the Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a former deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Pentagon for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia and has served as foreign policy advisor to the Vice President of the United States and as Director for Russia for the National Security Council. Carpenter has also served abroad in the U.S. Embassies in Poland, Slovenia, and Barbados. He holds a master’s and a PhD in political science from the University of California at Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Stanford University. He has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, ABC News, Bloomberg, BBC, and other outlets, and his work has been published in Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, The Hill, Defense One, and other media outlets. Carpenter is a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center and serves on the Jamestown Foundation’s board of directors.

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Molly McKew is a writer and an expert on information warfare and currently serves as the narrative architect at New Media Frontier, a social media intelligence company. She served as adviser to Mikheil Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia, from 2009 to 2013. McKew is also CEO of Fianna Strategies, a consulting firm that advises governments, political parties, and NGOs on foreign policy and strategic communication. Her articles and analyses have been published in Politico and The Washington Post, among others, and she is a frequent commentator on TV and radio.

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Luke Harding is a senior international correspondent for The Guardian. He has reported from cities around the world, including Delhi, Berlin, and Moscow, and has covered wars in Iraq and Libya. He won Foreign Story of the Year from the Foreign Press Association in 2002 for his reporting on the siege of Mazar-i-Sharif. Harding joined The Guardian in 1996, and in 2007, he became the newspaper’s Moscow bureau chief. He was denied re-entry into Russia in 2011 after he wrote a piece about Putin’s wealth and his connection to the assassination of former Federal Security Service (FSB) officer Alexander Litvinenko. His 2011 book, “Mafia State” provides an account of his expulsion and details the political system in Russia under Vladimir Putin. Harding also reported on the psychological harassment he was subjected to by the FSB during his time in Russia. Harding continues to report on Russia for The Guardian. In early 2017, Harding released the telling book, “A Very Expensive Poison: The Assassination of Alexander Litvinenko and Putin’s War with the West.” His latest book, “Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win,” debuted in late 2017 and topped The New York Times Best Sellers list.

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james fallon

James Fallon is an American neuroscientist specializing in consciousness, creativity, and the ways in which the brain relates to art, law, and violence. He has made significant contributions to the studies of schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stem cells, and psychopathy. Some of his most recent work has explored the minds of psychopathic killers. He is a professor of anatomy and neurobiology at University of California, Irvine and sits on the boards of several national think tanks in the fields of science, biotechnology, the arts, and the military. Fallon is also a Sloan Scholar, Fulbright Fellow, and National Institute of Health Career Awardee. In 2005, he inadvertently discovered, through routine lab research, that he personally possessed the genetic characteristics of a psychopath. He recounts this discovery in his oft-cited book, “The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist’s Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain” (2013). In addition to continued research in virtual reality, consciousness, psychopathology, and violence, he frequently lectures and gives interviews for TV, documentaries, radio, newspapers, and magazines.

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Valentyn Nalyvaichenko

Valentyn Nalyvaichenko is the leader of the Ukrainian political party Justice, which is devoted to defending Ukraine on two fronts: externally against Russian aggression, and internally against kleptocratic corruption. Formerly, from 2014 to 2015, Nalyvaichenko served for a second time as the Head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Ukraine’s premier counterintelligence and counterterrorism agency, and was a member of the National Defence Council of Ukraine. It was during this turbulent period that Putin launched his war in eastern Ukraine and illegally annexed Crimea, and Russian-backed separatists in the Donetsk region shot-down civilian airliner MH-17. Earlier, during his diplomatic career, Nalyvaichenko served as deputy foreign minister and ambassador to Belarus. Nalyvaichenko was elected as a member of the Ukrainian Parliament in 2012. He has university degrees in linguistics, specializing in English and Finnish.

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thorniké gordadze

Thorniké Gordadze is senior adviser for Teaching, Studies and Research at the Institute for Higher National Defense Studies, France. He is also a lecturer at Paris and Lille Institute of Political Studies. In 2010, Gordadze was appointed deputy foreign minister of Georgia in charge of the relations with the European Union and NATO. He served as Georgia’s state minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration in 2012. He was the chief negotiator for the EU-Georgia Association Agreement and DCFTA treaty from the Georgian side. He holds a PhD from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris.

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Anna Borshchevskaya

Anna Borshchevskaya is a fellow at the European Foundation for Democracy and is the Ira Welner Fellow at the Washington Institute. She is a PhD candidate at George Mason University, where her research focuses on Russia’s policy toward the Middle East. A former analyst for a U.S. military contractor in Afghanistan, she has served as communications director at the American Islamic Congress. She has also worked as assistant director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council, research analyst for the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and program coordinator of the American Foreign Policy Program at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Borshchevskaya is a Russia native but immigrated into the United States as a refugee in late 1993. Her work on Russia and the Middle East has been published widely including in The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, National Review, Fox News, CNN, and The Middle East Quarterly. Until recently she conducted translation and analysis for the U.S. Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office and its flagship publication, Operational Environment Watch, and wrote a foreign affairs column for Forbes. She is the author of the February 2016 Washington Institute monograph, “Russia in the Middle East.”

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amy knight

Amy Knight is an American scholar specializing in Russian history and politics. She obtained her PhD in russian politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science and worked for 18 years in the United States Library of Congress as a Soviet and later Russian affairs specialist. Knight has been a professor at the London School of Economics, Johns Hopkins University, and Carleton University in Canada. She has written six books, including “The KGB: Police and Politics in the Soviet Union” (1988), “Spies without Cloaks: The KGB’s Successors” (1996), and her most recent book, “Orders to Kill: The Putin Regime and Political Murder” (2017). She has appeared on PBS, NPR, CNN, MSNBC, BBC, Al Jazeera, and other broadcast media. She writes for The New York Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, and The Daily Beast and is based in New Jersey.

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Andrei Soldatov

Andrei Soldatov is a Russian investigative journalist and Russian security services expert. Together with journalist Irina Borogan, he is co-founder and editor of Agentura.ru. In 2015, Soldatov and Borogan published “The Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia’s Digital Dictators and the New Online Revolutionaries,” an account of how the Kremlin uses the internet to its advantage. With Russia at the center of the worldwide discussion for its alleged use of covert online operations, Soldatov and his writing partner released an updated version of their book with additional insight into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Soldatov regularly contributes to multiple news outlets; his commentary on terrorism and intelligence issues has been featured in Vedomosti, Radio Free Europe, and the BBC. He has been a columnist for The Moscow Times since 2008, and his work has been featured in both Foreign Policy and Foreign Affairs.

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aric toler

Aric Toler is a writer and journalist who writes for Bellingcat, an investigative search network. Having graduated with a master’s degree in Slavic languages and literatures from the University of Kansas in 2013, he worked for two years as an intelligence specialist in the private sector. Toler writes, edits, researches, and translates articles related to Russia, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe. Additionally, he conducts training workshops for journalists in open source investigation, verification, and digital forensics. He focuses on Russian media, the conflict in eastern Ukraine, Russian influence on the American and European far-right movements, and the ongoing investigation into MH17. In addition to his extensive written work, he is a leading expert in the Russian and Ukrainian open source and digital forensic communities, and has conducted workshops in English and Russian for journalists, activists, and NGOs in Ukraine. He has been the lead digital forensics investigator for Eurasia at the Digital Forensics Research Lab since July 2016.

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preet bharara

Preet Bharara is an American lawyer who served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York from 2009 to 2017. While in this position, Bharara earned a reputation as a “crusader” prosecutor and, according to The New York Times, was one of “the nation’s most aggressive and outspoken prosecutors of public corruption and Wall Street crime.” The New Yorker noted that he “struck fear into Wall Street.” During his time as U.S. attorney, Bharara investigated money laundering schemes carried out in New York City by Russian criminal organizations linked to the Kremlin, and prosecuted spies with ties to Russia’s foreign intelligence service, SVR.

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Boris Reitschuster

Boris Reitschuster is a German journalist and author of “Putin’s Hidden War.” A frequent commentator on Russian-German affairs, Reitschuster has become well-known for his books on contemporary Russia. He spent 16 years in Moscow serving as a journalist and later head of the Moscow FOCUS office. After hostility and multiple death threats, he had to leave Russia in 2012 and continued to lead the Moscow FOCUS office from Berlin until February 2015.

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Nikita Kulachenkov

Nikita Kulachenkov is a forensic accountant and political activist fighting against corruption in the Russian government. In 2013, he served as a principal investigator at the Anti-Corruption Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Moscow and founded in 2011 by Alexey Navalny. In 2016, Kulachenkov was detained at an airport in Cyprus and targeted by Russian authorities. His parents’ apartment in Moscow was raided by police in connection to a photograph authorities claimed had been stolen in the city of Vladimir, an accusation widely believed to be politically motivated. This form of political targeting forced Kulchanekov to relocate to Lithuania, where he sought asylum. He continues to be politically active today, and is a member of the investigations team at the Anti-Corruption Foundation.

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Olga Litvinenko

Olga Litvinenko is a politician who served in the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg from 2007 to 2011, and who has been an outspoken critic of the Putin administration. Her criticism of the regime was sparked by a legal conflict with her father Vladimir Litvinenko, a Russian businessman, university rector, and close associate of Vladimir Putin. The fortune he acquired during Putin’s presidency prompted an investigation of his wealth and assets in 2017. Since 2010, Litvinenko has been involved in a case regarding the kidnapping of her daughter Ester-Maria, in which her parents refused to return her daughter to her care. Despite their personal relationship and his status within the regime, Litvinenko publicly denounced her father for his actions and the lack of due process in taking her daughter away from her. In 2011 Olga was excluded from the political party Spravedlivaya Rossiya, of which she was a member, for criticizing its leader’s views on maternity and childcare. Olga continues her activism today through a website she has established for the safe return of her daughter. She has been awarded multiple state honors for her civic participation and assistance with election campaigns.

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bill browder

Bill Browder is the co-founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, an investment fund and asset management company specializing in Russian markets. Browder was a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute and a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum in 2005. In 2006, Browder began an investigation into high-level corruption, prompting Russian authorities to blacklist him as a “threat to national security” and bar him from entering Russia. In November 2008, one of Browder’s lawyers, Sergei Magnitsky, was arrested on charges of tax evasion after he accused Russian tax officials of systematic theft and fraud. Magnitsky died in custody after 11 months of imprisonment and torture while awaiting trial. Browder began a global campaign to bring Magnitsky’s killers to justice, a campaign that resulted in the passage of the Magnitsky Act by the U.S. Congress. In 2013, Russian authorities declared that they would press charges of tax evasion against Browder and Magnitsky, both of whom were tried in absentia. This trial was the first in Russian history to charge a deceased individual. Both Browder and Magnitsky were convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to nine years in prison. Interpol rejected requests by Russia’s interior ministry to place Browder on its search and arrest list, denouncing the case as “predominantly political.” As of 2018, Browder has pushed five countries to pass Magntisky Act-style legislation.

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Vladimir Kara-Murza

Vladimir Kara-Murza is a Russian democracy activist and vice chairman of Open Russia, a pro-democracy movement. Raised in a family with a long history of political dissent, Kara-Murza has worked for many years with Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. He was one of the driving forces in the passage of the Magnitsky Act by the U.S. Congress and has called upon Canada and European Union countries to follow suit. In addition to his political work, Kara-Murza is a filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared in the Russian dailies Novye Izvestia and Kommersant, as well as The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Financial Times. In 2015 and 2017, Kara-Murza survived assassination attempts by poison, only to recover and continue promoting civil society and democracy in Russia. He is the chairman of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom.

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miriam lanskoy

Miriam Lanskoy is a scholar, author, and senior director for Russia and Eurasia at the National Endowment for Democracy. She has an extensive background in policy analysis related to post-Soviet Eurasia, as well as democracy promotion in the region. Lanskoy received her PhD in international affairs from Boston University, completing her dissertation on social and political issues in the North Caucasus, the Russian presidency, and the Chechen wars. Shortly afterwards she became a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2010, Dr. Lanskoy co-authored “The Chechen Struggle: Independence Won and Lost,” a book on Chechnya’s two wars against Russia. In addition, she has published multiple articles in a number of scholarly journals, such as the SAIS Review and the Journal of Democracy. She has also appeared before Congress to discuss political developments in Russia and Eurasia, on PBS Newshour, and in multiple conference lectures and panel discussions.

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david j. kramer

David J. Kramer is senior fellow at the McCain Institute and senior fellow in the Václav Havel Program on Human Rights and Diplomacy at Florida International University’s Green School of International and Public Affairs. He served as assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor; senior transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund; and as president of Freedom House. He is the author of the recent book “Back to Containment: Dealing with Putin’s Regime.” He received his master’s degree in Soviet studies from Harvard University and his bachelor’s in Soviet studies and political science from Tufts University. With his extensive background in European and Eurasian affairs, Kramer writes and contributes to the conversation about Russia in various media outlets.