Kleptocracy in Russia and Ukraine

This is an Archive of a Past Event

Join Charles Davidson, Jeffrey Gedmin, and Oleksandra Ustinova for a conversation on kleptocracy and how it is abetted by American institutions.

Charles Davidson is Publisher of The American Interest magazine (co-founded with Francis Fukuyama in 2005), and Senior Policy Fellow, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University. Since 2006, co-founder of Global Financial Integrity, one of the founders of the FACT Coalition, Executive Producer of Sundance documentary We’re Not Broke, and until recently Executive Director of the Kleptocracy Initiative at Hudson Institute. The Kleptocracy Initiative has published a quiver of reports focusing on the civilizational threats we face from the marriage of authoritarianism and kleptocracy. The Kleptocracy Initiative engaged in a broad set of activities for a think tank program, from organizing the first “Klepto Tours” of London, to the premiere of “From Russia with Cash” in DC, the dubbing of a Russian documentary explaining Putin’s rise to power, the establishment of an extensive archive of primary source material, hosting many events, and serving as a platform for anti-kleptocracy convening and information sharing. Regarding the national security threats associated with kleptocracy, Davidson has testified to the Senate Committee of the Judiciary, the Helsinki Commission, and the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats. Prior to 2006, Davidson spent his career in the information technology industry, in various technical/managerial positions, as CIO of a large pan-European logistics company, and in a venture capital partnership until 2008. Bowdoin College 1981, B.A. Duke University 1988, MBA

Dr. Jeffrey Gedmin is editor-in-chief of The American Interest, a publication of politics, public policy, and international affairs. From 2015 to 2018, he was senior adviser at Blue Star Strategies. From 2011 to 2014, Gedmin was President and CEO of the London-based Legatum Institute. Prior to joining the Legatum Institute in early 2011, Gedmin served for four years as President and CEO of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) headquartered in Prague. Before RFE/RL, Gedmin served as President and CEO of the Aspen Institute in Berlin. Before that, he was Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, D.C and Executive Director of the New Atlantic Initiative. He is the author/editor of several books, including The Hidden Hand: Gorbachev and the Collapse of East Germany (1992).Gedmin also served as co-executive producer for two major PBS documentaries: "The Germans, Portrait of a New Nation" (1995), and "Spain's 9/11 and the Challenge of Radical Islam in Europe" (2007). He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on several advisory boards, including Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service Masters Program, the Institute for State Effectiveness, the Kleptocracy Initiative (based at the Hudson Institute), the International Republican Institute’s Beacon Project, the Justice for Journalists Foundation, and the Tocqueville Conversations. Together with former U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Norm Eisen, Gedmin is co-chair of the Transatlantic Democracy Working Group.

Oleksandra Ustinova is the head of communications and Anti-Corruption in HealthCare Projects at the Anti-Corruption Action Center (ANTAC), in Kyiv, Ukraine. ANTAC is one of the leading watchdog organizations on anti-corruption reform in Ukraine and was one of the founders of new anti-corruption institutions in Ukraine. Serving as a communication and advocacy expert over the last 10 years, Ustinova has successfully advocated for more than 20 national laws. Among them are laws that established new anticorruption and investigative bodies, that now investigate more than 500 criminal cases against politicians including Members of Parliament, Ministers, heads of the Central Election Committee, and the head of the tax service. Ustinova was the first Secretary of the Civil Oversight Council of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) - the first independent anti-corruption law enforcement institution in Ukraine. At ANTAC, Ustinova also manages the project “Anti-Corruption in Healthcare” and in 2015 advocated changes to the legislation so all medicine in Ukraine is procured via international organizations. As a result of this legislation, Ukraine has saved up to 40 percent of the state budget for medicine procurement each year.