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A nation must think before it acts.
With the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea, Eastern Europe and Eurasia have re-emerged as a major focal point for global competition. The redrawing of borders by military force and the continued stoking of nationalism, irredentism and revanchism in Eurasia could well erupt into large-scale violence. Unless effectively countered, these developments threaten to dismantle the post-Cold War order of Europe/Eurasia.
FPRI’s new Eurasia Program will closely study trends in the “Eurasian Heartland” and their implications for the West. As sketched out by Halford Mackinder, this strategic heartland is the vast space between central and northern Europe, the Middle East, and eastern Asia.
Following FPRI’s unique approach of studying global affairs from geographical, historical, and cultural perspectives, the new Eurasia Program will analyze these new challenges comprehensively, including our continued tracking of the ebb and flow of democratization in the post-communist states. Our Baltic Initiative, launched in January, and our upcoming Black Sea Initiative add significant new components to our already substantially increased coverage of the geopolitical, military, economic, energy, and cyber-technology issues that are key to understanding the new dynamics of the region.
Eurasia Program Staff and Scholars
Ambassador Adrian A. Basora is FPRI Senior Fellow and co-Director of its Eurasia Program. He was the last U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslovakia, and then the first to the Czech Republic, after witnessing Czechoslovakia’s peaceful “Velvet Divorce.” He spearheaded early U.S. support for democracy and market economics in the Czech and Slovak republics. Immediately prior to that, he was Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council as the Iron Curtain fell, and he participated in the design of U.S. policies and programs to encourage democratic transitions in Central and Eastern Europe. Ambassador Basora holds an MPIA from Princeton University.
John R. Haines is FPRI Senior Fellow and co-Director of the Eurasia Program. He is a trustee of FPRI, where he is a member of its executive, finance, and nominating committees, and directs FPRI’s Princeton Committee. An active investor and entrepreneur whose current efforts focus on nuclear smuggling and terrorism, John founded and directs a private company developing proprietary particle accelerator and fissile material detection technologies for applications in homeland security and national defense.
Maia Otarashvili is FPRI Research Fellow and Manager of the Eurasia Program. Her research has focused on democratic consolidation and regression in the EU-11 countries, as well as on troubled hybrid regimes such as Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and others in the Black Sea and Caucasus region. Maia holds an MA in Globalization, Development and Transition from the University of Westminster in London, with emphasis on post-authoritarian transitions.
Chris Miller is a Fellow at FPRI’s Eurasia Program and editor of its Baltic Bulletin. He is also the Associate Director of the Program in Grand Strategy at Yale University. He has held fellowships from the Hoover Institution and the German Marshall Fund’s Transatlantic Academy. He has received a Ph.D. from Yale University and BA from Harvard University. His first book, The Struggle to Save the Soviet Economy, will be published in December 2016. He is currently working on a new book on contemporary Russian political economy.
Aleksandr Fisher (Associate Scholar) is pursuing his Ph.D. in Political Science at George Washington University in the fall with an emphasis in comparative politics and international relations. Aleksandr is particularly interested in democratization in the Post-Soviet region, ethnic and identity politics, and the political economy of post-communist states.
Nikolas Gvosdev (Senior Fellow) is Professor of National Security Affairs at the US Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He was formerly the Editor of The National Interest magazine and a Senior Fellow at The Nixon Center in Washington, D.C. Gvosdev received his doctorate from St Antony’s College, Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes Scholarship. A frequent commentator on Russian and Eurasian affairs, his work has appeared in such outlets as Foreign Affairs, The Financial Times, The Los Angeles Times, and Orbis, and he has appeared as a commentator on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, National Public Radio, and BBC.
Arzu Geybullayeva (Associate Scholar) is based in Istanbul, Turkey. Arzu holds a Master’s in Global Politics from London School of Economics and Political Science and serves as managing editor and co-director of Imagine Center for Conflict Transformation. Her research and writing focuses on the Caucasus and the Black Sea region.
Melinda Haring (Fellow) is a longtime observer of political developments in the Eurasia region. Melinda has worked for Eurasia Foundation, Freedom House and the National Democratic Institute, where she managed democracy assistance programs in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Russia. She has served as an international election observer in Kazakhstan and Ukraine. A graduate of Georgetown University’s Democracy and Governance program, she holds an M.A. in Government with a Certificate in Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies. She is a regular contributor to Foreign Policy’s Democracy Lab and is currently writing a book on the Cold War.
Simon Hoellerbauer (Associate Scholar) is a recent graduate of Kenyon College with a BA in Political Science and Modern Languages (Spanish and Russian). His research interests include democratic transitions, especially in Latin America and in the former Soviet Bloc, and the role democracy plays in how countries carry out their foreign policy.
Richard Kraemer (Fellow) is the senior program officer for Afghanistan, Iran, and Turkey at the National Endowment for Democracy. Previously, he oversaw projects in the aforementioned countries and the Levant and at the Center for International Private Enterprise. Earlier, he further taught and researched at the Jagellonian University in Poland. He is also an affiliated expert of the Public International Law and Policy Group, having advised the governments of Georgia and Montenegro. He has a particular interest in exertion of “soft power” and in the economic drivers of democratization. He holds a BA from William and Mary and a JD from American University.
Agnieszka Marczyk (Fellow) holds a Ph.D. in Intellectual History from the University of Pennsylvania, and her research explores how teaching historical thinking skills can help students analyze both the past and the present. Her translations of essays on politics, culture, and democracy have appeared in periodicals like Common Knowledge, The New Republic, and Salmagundi. She holds an M.A. from Bucknell University and a B.A. from Brown University.
Anna Mikulska, (Fellow) is nonresident scholar in energy studies at the Baker Institute and a senior fellow & lecturer at theKleinman Center for Energy Policy, University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests center around European energy markets and energy policy. She has presented papers at numerous national and international conferences, authored and co-authored articles in the European Journal of Political Research and the Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, a chapter in the “Introduction to American Government” textbook as well as energy policy op-eds on Forbes. She has served as a reviewer for numerous scholarly journals and was on the editorial board of the law review at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland. She received a law degree from Adam Mickiewicz University, a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Windsor in Canada, and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Houston.
Mitchell A. Orenstein (Senior Fellow) is Professor of Central and East European politics in the Slavic department of the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Orenstein’s published work has explored the political economy of transition in Central and Eastern Europe, pension privatization worldwide, and the role of policy paradigms in economic reform. His research lies at the intersection of comparative politics, international political economy, and global public policy, employing a problem-driven research approach based on asking policy-relevant questions and answering them through carefully designed in-depth field research. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University.
Christine Philippe-Blumauer (Research Associate) holds a Master’s degree in Peace and Security Studies from the University of Hamburg, Germany; and a French-German B.A. in Political Science/European Studies from Sciences Po Lille, France and the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Münster, Germany. Her previous professional experiences include work on conflict analysis in the South Caucasus (with an emphasis on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict), Turkish-Armenian relations, and regional peace-building initiatives among Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
Tamari Ramishvili (Research Associate) is currently working towards her MA in Public Policy at American University, with a concentration in International Development. She holds a dual BA from Rutgers University in Philosophy and Political Science, with a minor in National Security, CIA, and Counterintelligence. Ms. Ramishvili is a regular contributor to FPRI’s Baltic Bulletin and her areas of research focus include Russia, Black Sea and the Baltic regions.
Alexandra Wiktorek Sarlo (Fellow) is currently an all-but-dissertation Ph.D. candidate and a former Teaching Assistant in Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania, with a particular focus on comparative politics. She also holds an MA from Georgetown University in Russian and East European Studies, and a BA in Russian from Cornell University.
Otto Kienitz (Research Assistant) is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Diplomatic History with a minor in International Development. He is currently working on his honors thesis regarding Anglo-Turkish diplomacy in the 1930s, and is interested in political state-building, states in transition, and institutional power-sharing. His areas of research focus have been the European Union, Turkey, and the Balkans.
Selected Recent Publications