This Week

Wednesday, April 14, 2021
12:00pm ET
Zoom webinar & YouTube Live

This event will be held virtually as a Zoom webinar and streamed via YouTube Live. There will be no in-person event.

Register here for the Zoom webinar, or tune in on YouTube Live.

Please join us for an event in our Rule of Law in Autocracy: The Legal Dimension of Russian Politics speaker series, a presentation by Peter H. Solomon (University of Toronto).

This event is supported by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.

It is now fashionable to portray the administration of justice in the Russian Federation through the prism of the “dual state.” This metaphor suggests that while some criminal and civil cases shows signs of outside and/or inappropriate influence, the vast majority of cases are handled in a normal, routine way, albeit with possible biases. In Peter H. Solomon's view, this perspective is both accurate and useful, but it raises the question of which cases or types of cases fall into the first group and how attempts at influence work in practice. Terms like “political” or “politicized” or “high profile” only beg the question, for they too are murky and have multiple understandings.

In this talk Solomon will start by identifying common characteristics of the process of influencing cases, regarding the instigators, targets, mechanisms, and contingencies, and refer to incidents that have become public knowledge. He will then explore three categories of cases that at least sometimes feature attempts at influence: prosecutions targeting government officials and other high profile persons; prosecutions relating to the regulation of politics (protest, speech); and cases relating to business disputes and predation of business by law enforcement.

Peter H. Solomon, Jr. is Emeritus Professor of Political Science, Law and Criminology at the University of Toronto and Member of its Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, where he teaches on law and politics in Russia. His books include Soviet Criminal Justice under Stalin (Cambridge, 1996), and in Russian as Sovetskaia iustitsiia pri Staline (1998 and 2008 by ROSSPEN), Reforming Justice in Russia, 1864‑1996: Power, Culture, and the Limits of Legal Order (editor; Sharpe, 1997), and Courts and Transition in Russia: The Challenge of Judicial Reform (with Todd Foglesong, Westview, 2000). In the new millennium his research has focused on judicial reform in Russia and Ukraine, where he participates in reform projects (e.g. for the World Bank, OSCE, and the Canadian International Development Agency) as well as on criminal law, procedure, and justice in authoritarian and transitional states. His recent publications include: “Law and Courts in Authoritarian States,” in the International Encyclopedia of Social and Behaivoral Sciences, 2nd edition (electronic); and ‘Post-Soviet Criminal Justice: The Persistence of Distorted Neo-inquisitorialism,” Theoretical Criminology, 19:2 (2015). He is on the Board of Trustees of the Institute of Law and Public Policy (Moscow) and the editorial boards of four journals and a former director of the Centre for Russian and East European Studies.

Rule of Law in Autocracy: The Legal Dimension of Russian Politics

2021 Speaker Series

In authoritarian political systems, institutions such as parliament, judiciary, and law enforcement are typically viewed as mere instruments of autocratic rule, or at best, a democratic facade. In this conventional image, authoritarian institutions exist only for formal reasons and do not exert meaningful impact independently of the executive branch of government.

But recent scholarship has uncovered unexpected dynamics of the impact of law on Russian politics. Authoritarian influence over the diverse legal institutions is not as overwhelming as conventional wisdom has presumed. Scholars instead are revealing how authoritarian legal and judicial institutions resemble their democratic counterparts, including in their response to bureaucratic incentives and public opinion, or in being driven by the metrics of performance evaluation rather than central directives. Learn more about the series >>

All events at 12:00pm ET.

MONDAY, APRIL 5, 2021 — Lauren A. McCarthy's talk rescheduled for May 6 (see below).
Manipulated Justice in Russia: Influence in Prosecutions and Conflict Resolution

Peter H. Solomon, Emeritus Professor of Political Science, Law and Criminology at the University of Toronto and Member of its Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy

Watching the Detectives—Strategies and Tactics of Police Oversight in Russia

Lauren A. McCarthy, Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science and Director of Legal Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

THURSDAY, MAY 20, 2021
Bulldogs in the Duma: Executive Factionalism and Lawmaking in Russia

Ben Noble, Lecturer in Russian Politics at University College London's School of Slavonic and East European Studies

Judicial Independence in Russia: What Do Russians Think?

Kathryn Hendley, Roman Z. Livshits & William Voss-Bascom Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Adaptation and Pragmatism: Explaining the Survival of the Russian Constitutional Court

Alexei Trochev, Associate Professor and Department Chair of Political Science and International Relations at Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan

Event Video
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
4:00pm ET
Zoom webinar & YouTube Live

This event will be held virtually as a Zoom webinar and streamed via YouTube Live. There will be no in-person event.

Register here for the Zoom webinar, or tune in on YouTube Live.

Please join the Program on U.S.-Russian Relations for a panel discussion with leading specialists on Russian foreign policy.

Russia's 2015 intervention in Syria and its diplomatic access to all the region’s states attest to Russia’s growing role in Middle East political dynamics. Maintaining that role will require deft navigation of the ongoing competition among the region’s aspiring hegemons: Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Our speakers will examine the challenges facing Moscow as it seeks to manage these relationships.


Russia in the Middle East: Priorities and Challenges
Peter Clement, Senior Research Scholar/Adjunct Professor at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies in the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University

Russia and Turkey: A Conflicted Alignment
Robert O. Freedman, Peggy Meyerhoff Pearlstone Professor of Political Science emeritus at Baltimore Hebrew University; Visiting Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University

Russia and Iran: It's Complicated.
Carol R. Saivetz, Senior Advisor in the MIT Security Studies Program; Research Associate at Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute

Moderated by Elise Giuliano (Harriman Institute)


Peter Clement is Senior Research Scholar/Adjunct Professor at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies in the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He teaches courses on Contemporary Russian Security Policy and Intelligence and US Foreign Policy. Clement comes to SIPA from CIA, where he served as Deputy Assistant Director of CIA for Europe and Eurasia since 2015. From 2005-2013, he was Deputy Director for Intelligence for Analytic Programs. Other senior positions include tours as Director of the Office of Russian and Eurasian Analysis and CIA’s Russia Issue Manager from 1997-2003. Clement served as the PDB daily briefer for Vice-President Cheney, NSC Adviser Rice and Deputy NSC Adviser Hadley in 2003-2004. He briefly served at the National Security Council as the Director for Russia and later served as the senior CIA representative to the US Mission to the United Nations. Clement has been a member of the Council on Foreign Relations since 2001 and is a longtime member of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies. He taught Russian history and politics for over 10 years as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Maryland and the University of Virginia’s northern Virginia campus. He has published journal articles and book chapters on Soviet and Russian foreign policy, Central Asia, and the Cuban missile crisis. Clement holds a Ph.D. in Russian history and an M.A. in Modern European history from Michigan State University, and a B.A. in liberal arts from SUNY-Oswego.

Robert O. Freedman is Peggy Meyerhoff Pearlstone Professor of Political Science emeritus at Baltimore Hebrew University, and is currently Visiting Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University where he teaches courses on the Arab-Israeli Conflict and on Russian Foreign Policy. He is the author of seven books on Soviet and Russian foreign policy, including Soviet Policy Toward the Middle East Since 1970 (Praeger Press, 1982); Moscow and the Middle East: Soviet Policy Since the Invasion of Afghanistan (Cambridge University Press, 1991); Soviet-Israeli Relations Under Gorbachev (Praeger 1991); and Russia, Iran, and the Nuclear Question: The Putin Record (Strategic Studies Institute of the US Army War College, 2007). In 1989, Dr. Freedman was a member of a Brookings Institution delegation that went to Tunis for discussions with Palestinian leaders about the peace process. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he participated, as the American representative, in three conferences in Europe with European political leaders and scholars who dealt with the problem of improving US-European cooperation in the Middle East. Dr. Freedman has lectured to the Israeli Defense Ministry and the Israeli Foreign Ministry, and appeared on the London-based Arab TV station Al-Mustakillah. He has interviewed Israeli leaders including Yitzhak Rabin, Ariel Sharon and Tzippy Livni, and Palestinian leaders Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas. He has also been a commentator on National Public Radio, the Voice of America, the BBC, and Moscow Radio on Russian and American  policy in the Middle East. Dr. Freedman is currently completing a book on Russia and the Middle East under Putin. He received his BA from the University of Pennsylvania and his MA and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University.

Carol R. Saivetz is a Senior Advisor in the MIT Security Studies Program. She is also a Research Associate at Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute. She holds an M.I.A., M.Phil., and a Ph.D. from Columbia University in Political Science and a certificate from what is now the Harriman Institute at Columbia. Between 1995-2005, she was the Executive Director of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies and between 1992-2006 she was a Lecturer in Government at Harvard. She is currently teaching Russian Foreign Policy in the Political Science Department at MIT. Professor Saivetz has consulted for the US Government on topics ranging from energy politics in the Caspian and Black Sea regions, questions of stability in Central Asia, to Russian policy toward Iran. She is the author and contributing co-editor of 5 books and numerous articles on Soviet and now Russian foreign policy issues, including an assessment of the “reset,” Russian policies toward the other Soviet successor states, and current US-Russian relations. Her current research interest is energy competition in and around the Black Sea region and Russian-Turkish relations.  Her most recent publications analyze the newly resurgent Russia’s policies—including energy politics, and reactions to EU and NATO expansion. She has also published opinion pieces on the Ukraine crisis and Russian intervention in Syria for the Lawfare Blog (Brookings) and commented on Ukraine for local radio and TV. She is the co-chair of the MIT seminar series “Focus on Russia,” sponsored by the MIT Security Studies Program, the Center for International Studies, and MIT-Russia.


Image source:

Event Video
Thursday, April 15, 2021

This event has been rescheduled for Thursday, May 13.

Please join us for an event in the Russia's Worlds Lecture Series, a discussion with Michael David-Fox (Georgetown University) and Francine Hirsch (University of Wisconsin-Madison).


Michael David-Fox is a historian of modern Russia and the USSR and a professor at Georgetown University, whose work has ranged from cultural and political history to transnational studies and modernity theory. At the outset of his career, he became one of the first foreign researchers to work in formerly closed Communist Party archives during the collapse of the Soviet Union. He went on to become a founding editor of Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History. He is the author of Revolution of the Mind: Higher Learning among the Bolsheviks, 1918-1929 (1997); Showcasing the Great Experiment: Cultural Diplomacy and Western Visitors to the Soviet Union, 1921-1941 (2012); Crossing Borders: Modernity, Ideology, and Culture in Russia and the Soviet Union (2015). His current book project, “Crucibles of Power: Smolensk Under Nazi and Soviet Rule,'' interprets the levels (local, regional, and central) on which power was wielded in Smolensk oblast in the 1930s and the 1940s, and analyzes the many dimensions of power, aiming squarely at the place where local and regional history meets the grand narrative. The work argues that the sudden imposition of German rule in 1941-1943 provides a kind of laboratory for the historian for studying power relations. The book cross-fertilizes three rapidly evolving fields: the study of Stalinism, German occupation on the Eastern Front during World War II, and the Holocaust.

Francine Hirsch is Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received the Herbert Baxter Adams Prize of the American Historical Association (as well as several other awards) for her first book, Empire of Nations: Ethnographic Knowledge and the Making of the Soviet Union (2005). Her second book, Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg: A New History of the International Military Tribunal After World War II (2020) presents the first complete history of the Nuremberg Trials. Drawing on thousands of documents from the former Soviet archives, it reveals the unexpected contribution of Stalin’s Soviet Union to the International Military Tribunal and to the postwar development of international law. Her current book project centers on the history of Russian-American relations through the perspectives of economics, culture, science, and international law.

Russia's Worlds Lecture Series:

In the last two decades historians have consistently challenged the center-periphery approach to the history of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, at the same time establishing the inadequacy of state boundaries to encompass imperial and Soviet experience. "Russia's Worlds" brings together innovative work on connections between the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and the outside world, looking at how these states, their cultures, and their subjects interacted with the wider world, other states, and the international scene based on religion, ethnicity, ideology and professional affiliations. In this series of six talks, twelve speakers working at the intersection of several fields will share new perspectives on how international law, migration, environment, traveling ideas, individuals and commodities tied Russia to a larger world and the other way around.

All events at 12:00pm Eastern unless noted otherwise.

October 28, 2020: The Russian Empire and International Law

Peter Holquist (University of Pennsylvania)
Will Smiley (University of New Hampshire)

November 19, 2020: Soviet Union and East Asia

Tatiana Linkhoeva (NYU)
Elizabeth McGuire (California State University, East Bay)

January 21, 2021: Russian Empire and the Ottoman World

Vladimir Hamed-Troyansky (UC Santa Barbara)
Eileen Kane (Connecticut College)

February 18, 2021: Soviet Union and the Middle East

Sam Hirst (Bilkent University, Ankara)
Masha Kirasirova (NYU Abu Dhabi)

March 18, 2021: The Russian and Soviet North Pacific

Bathsheba Demuth (Brown University)
Ilya Vinkovetsky (Simon Fraser University)

[NEW DATE] May 13, 2021: The Second World War and the Postwar Settlement

2:00pm ET
Michael David-Fox (Georgetown University
Francine Hirsch (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Thursday, April 15, 2021
10:00am ET
Zoom webinar & YouTube Live

This event will be held virtually as a Zoom webinar and streamed via YouTube Live. There will be no in-person event.

Please note that the date of the event has been changed. It will be held on April 15th.

Register here for the Zoom webinar, or tune in on YouTube Live.

Please join us for the 4th Annual Edward A. Allworth Memorial Lecture, given by Erica Marat (National Defense University).

China has emerged as a global provider of public goods in large part thanks to its Belt & Road Initiative. What's less noticed is China's expanding military and security diplomacy that includes supply of smart surveillance technologies, military assistance, and exchanges in professional military education. Focusing on the Central Asian countries, this presentation explores domestic receptivity to Chinese knowledge-based services and regional implications of China's involvement in domains historically occupied by Russia. Intangible goods that require minimal upfront investment can be more easily replicated than public goods, potentially outliving the impact created by one-time infrastructural investments.

Dr. Erica Marat is an Associate Professor at the College of International Security Affairs of the National Defense University. Marat’s research focuses on violence, mobilization and security institutions in Eurasia, India, and Mexico. She is also engaged in a research project on China’s and Russia’s provision of public services for illiberal governances in fifteen countries across five continents. The projects are funded by the Minerva DECUR grant.

Annual Edward A. Allworth Memorial Lecture

The annual Edward A. Allworth Memorial Lectures were established to honor the memory of Professor Allworth (1920-2016), distinguished pioneer in the field of Central Asian Studies. Allworth, an alumnus of the Russian Institute and longtime faculty member at Columbia University, was founding director of both the Program on Soviet Nationality Problems (1970) and the Center for Central Asian Studies (1984). His many publications include eight books, among them his seminal Central Asia: A Century of Russian Rule (1967; third edition published as Central Asia: 130 Years of Russian Rule, 1994), and The Tatars of Crimea: Return to the Homeland (2d ed. 1989). He mentored dozens of accomplished scholars from around the world and introduced the rich culture and history of the region to countless more. The Central Eurasian Studies Society honored Allworth posthumously with its 2016 Lifetime Service to the Field Award.

Event Video
Thursday, April 15, 2021
12:00PM ET
Zoom webinar

This event will be held virtually as a Zoom webinar and streamed via YouTube Live. There will be no in-person event.

Click here to register for the Zoom webinar.

Please join us for an event organized by the Kupferberg Holocaust Center at Queensborough Community College, CUNY. Featuring Hasan Hasanović, head of research at the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial and himself a genocide survivor, and Ann Petrila, professor of practice and coordinator of Global Initiatives at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work.

In the hills of eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina sits the small town of Srebrenica–once known for silver mines and health spas, now infamous for the genocide that occurred there during the Bosnian War. In July 1995, when the town fell to Serbian forces, 12,000 Muslim men and boys fled through the woods, seeking safe territory. Hunted for six days, more than 8,000 were captured, killed at execution sites and later buried in mass graves. In honor of Genocide Awareness Month, join us for a special conversation with the authors of Voices from Srebrenica: Survivor Narratives of the Bosnian Genocide, who will discuss the practical and ethical challenges of working with heavily traumatized survivors; why it’s crucial to document their lives before, during, and after the war; as well as how and why the tragic lessons of the Holocaust remain relevant.

This event is presented in partnership with The Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights at Rutgers University; The Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center in Cincinnati; The Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center at Manhattan CollegeThe Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies at the US Military Academy at West Point, and the Genocide Studies Program at Yale University.

Monday, April 19, 2021
12:00pm ET
Zoom webinar & YouTube Live

This event will be held virtually as a Zoom webinar and streamed via YouTube Live. There will be no in-person event.

Click here to purchase the book from Book Culture NYC.

Register here for the Zoom webinar, or tune in on YouTube Live.

Please join us for a discussion with Timothy Frye, author of Weak Strongman: The Limits of Power in Putin's Russia (Princeton University Press, April 6, 2021), in conversation with Alexander Cooley (director, Harriman Institute).

Media and public discussion tends to understand Russian politics as a direct reflection of Vladimir Putin’s seeming omnipotence or Russia’s unique history and culture. Yet Russia is remarkably similar to other autocracies—and recognizing this illuminates the inherent limits to Putin’s power. Weak Strongman challenges the conventional wisdom about Putin’s Russia, highlighting the difficult trade-offs that confront the Kremlin on issues ranging from election fraud and repression to propaganda and foreign policy.

Drawing on three decades of his own on-the-ground experience and research as well as insights from a new generation of social scientists that have received little attention outside academia, Timothy Frye reveals how much we overlook about today’s Russia when we focus solely on Putin or Russian exceptionalism. Frye brings a new understanding to a host of crucial questions: How popular is Putin? Is Russian propaganda effective? Why are relations with the West so fraught? Can Russian cyber warriors really swing foreign elections? In answering these and other questions, Frye offers a highly accessible reassessment of Russian politics that highlights the challenges of governing Russia and the nature of modern autocracy.

Rich in personal anecdotes and cutting-edge social science, Weak Strongman offers the best evidence available about how Russia actually works.

Timothy Frye (Ph.D., Columbia, 1997) is the Marshall D. Shulman Professor of Post-Soviet Foreign Policy at Columbia University and Director of the International Center for the Study of Institutions and Development at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. He is the author of Brokers and Bureaucrats: Building Markets in Russia, which won the 2001 Hewett Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies; Building States and Markets after Communism: The Perils of Polarized Democracy, which won a Best Book Prize from the APSA Comparative Democratization section in 2010; and Property Rights and Property Wrongs: How Power, Institutions, and Norms Shape Economic Conflict in Russia (2017).

Event Video
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
4:00pm ET
Zoom webinar & YouTube Live

This event will be held virtually as a Zoom webinar and streamed via YouTube Live. There will be no in-person event.

Register here for the Zoom webinar, or tune in on YouTube Live.

Please join the East Central European Center at the Harriman Institute for a presentation by Michalina Kmiecik (Jagiellonian University in Kraków). This event is part of the event series East Central Vanguard: New Perspectives on the Avant-Garde.

The role of female artists in the Polish avant-garde movement is still not recognized. Many of them were silent organizers of artistic life (as Iwona Boruszkowska calls them: midwives of the avant-garde), editors of magazines, literary critics, reciters, translators etc. Michalina Kmiecik's presentation will highlight several characters who actually gained some recognition in the avant-garde period and took part in theoretical debates, sharing interesting and innovative ideas. Kmiecik will focus on the discussion between Katarzyna Kobro and Debora Vogel concerning the problem of space, architecture and sculpture. In 1933, Vogel, a poet and theoretician, reviewed ideas presented by Kobro and her husband Władysław Strzemiński in their famous essay Composition of Space. She also published commentaries on modern living and design. Her ideas were strongly inspired by modern media and their abilities. What Vogel tried to develop in her theory and also in her writing (by concentrating on the montage technique and tracking inner dynamics of the artifact) is also present in Kobro’s abstract sculptures and her fascination with "composing space". Comparing theoretical work of these two women may open a debate on dynamic approach in spatial and architectural studies, and the role of female artists in popularizing it among Polish avant-gardists.

Image caption: Kobro and Strzemiński's "Composition of Space." The front cover.

Michalina Kmiecik works in the Chair of Literary Theory and in the Centre for Avant-Garde Studies at the Faculty of Polish Studies at Jagiellonian University in Kraków. She published two books on the Polish and European avant-garde: Oblicza miejsca. Topiczne i atopiczne wyobrażenia przestrzeni w poezji Juliana Przybosia (Aspects of Place. Topical and Atopical Images of Space in the Poetry of Julian Przyboś, Universitas, Krakow 2013), Drogi negatywności. Nurt estetyczno-religijny w poezji i muzyce awangardowej w XX wieku (Paths of Negativity. The Aesthetic-Religious Tendency in Avant-Garde Poetry and Music in the 20th Century, Jagiellonian University Press, Krakow 2016). From 2012 to 2015 worked on a project Central and Eastern European Avant-Garde: Innovation or Repetition?; in 2016 started (together with Iwona Boruszkowska) a project Modes of Avant-Garde Behaviour financed by the National Center for Science in Poland. She organized and participated in several lectures and discussions about Polish and foreign avant-garde practices. Presented her findings during conferences and in Polish scientific journals.

East Central Vanguard: New Perspectives on the Avant-Garde

2021 Lecture Series

East Central European Center is pleased to host a webinar series on interwar art and culture. This series focuses on artists from East Central Europe whose art practices and contributions to various local and international avant-gardes have attracted less or no critical attention within Modernism Studies. 

The avant-garde demand for crossing aesthetic boundaries within the domain of everyday life does not necessarily nullify the modernist right of art to its autonomy, but seeks to understand art as a practice accessible to all and based on the belief in its power to fundamentally change and improve social conditions. The avant-garde replaced the modernist perception of the uniqueness of the work of art that yields aesthetic pleasure isolated from practical life, with the direct call for “Art into life!” The repercussion of efforts to abolish the distance between art and life is characterized, above all, by the fact that we no longer speak of avant-garde texts or objects in the categories of literary work or aesthetic artwork, but in the categories of literary, or rather, avant-garde manifestations. The East Central Vanguard webinar series is devoted to an investigation of artists from East Central Europe whose lives and art practices deserve to be credited amongst such avant-garde manifestations.

FEBRUARY 23, 2021
Off the Page: In Search of the Romanian Avant-Garde Outside its Publications

Alexandra Chiriac (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

MARCH 23, 2021
Many Masks: The Radical Politics and Performance of Míra Holzbachová

Meghan Forbes (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

MARCH 30, 2021
Radical Women: Jolán Simon and Other Female Artists in Hungarian Avant-Garde Periodicals

Gábor Dobó (Kassák Museum – Petőfi Literary Museum, Budapest)

APRIL 6, 2021
The Zenithist Woman

Žarka Svirčev (Institute for Literature and Arts, Belgrade)

APRIL 20, 2021
Katarzyna Kobro and Debora Vogel as “Composers of Space”

Michalina Kmiecik (Jagiellonian University, Kraków)

Event Video
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
12:00pm ET
Zoom webinar & YouTube Live

This event will be held virtually as a Zoom webinar and streamed via YouTube Live. There will be no in-person event.

Register here for the Zoom webinar, or tune in on YouTube Live.

Please join East Central European Center at the Harriman Institute for a talk with Smoki Musaraj (Ohio University), author of Tales of Albarado: Ponzi Logics of Accumulation in Postsocialist Albania (Cornell University Press, 2020).

Tales from Albarado revisits times of excitement and loss in early 1990s Albania, in which about a dozen pyramid firms collapsed and caused the country to fall into anarchy and a near civil war. To gain a better understanding of how people from all walks of life came to invest in these financial schemes and how these schemes became intertwined with everyday transactions, dreams, and aspirations, Smoki Musaraj looks at the materiality, sociality, and temporality of financial speculations at the margins of global capital. She argues that the speculative financial practices of the schemes were enabled by official financial infrastructures (such as the postsocialist free-market reforms), by unofficial economies (such as transnational remittances), as well as by historically specific forms of entrepreneurship, transnational social networks, and desires for a European modernity. Overall, these granular stories of participation in the Albanian schemes help understand neoliberal capitalism as a heterogeneous economic formation that intertwines capitalist and noncapitalist forms of accumulation and investment.

Smoki Musaraj is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Law, Justice & Culture at Ohio University. Her research focusses on the anthropology of money and value, informal economies, speculative bubbles, anthropology of corruption, postcommunist transformations, and societies of Southeast Europe and the Mediterranean. Currently, she is working on two projects. One is an ethnography of the vetting process and judicial reform in Albania. The second is a revisiting of Fernand Braudel’s notion of the Mediterranean as a cultural unit of analysis; in her study, Dr. Musaraj revisits key themes in studies of Mediterranean culture and history—such as migration, geography religious conviviality, and urban development—exploring the continuities and discontinuities of these themes into the context of EU expansion, growing migration, and tourism boom in the region. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021
9:00am - 12:00pm ET
Zoom webinar & YouTube Live

Please join Columbia’s Harriman Institute for a meeting of the Innovating Solutions to Systemic Corruption in Eurasia Forum. The topic of the April 21 session will be Strengthening Ukraine’s Sovereignty Through Sustainable Anti-Corruption.

The Innovating Solutions to Systemic Corruption in Eurasia Forum helps generate solutions to counter systemic corruption in countries in Eurasia and other regions. During interactive sessions, participants incubate solutions that integrate new models and tools from across professional disciplines, including academia, government, civil society, law enforcement, finance, and social media. The objective is to highlight and strengthen emerging best practices in the Eurasia region.


Note: All times in EST. Part A and B require separate registration.


Register here for the Zoom webinar or tune in on YouTube Live.
Session 1: Innovating Solutions—National Security and Anti-Corruption
9:00–9:10 AM—Introductory Remarks

Alexander Cooley, Co-chair of Innovating Solutions to Systemic Corruption in Eurasia Forum and Director of the Harriman Institute and the Claire Tow Professor of Political Science at Barnard College

9:10–9:40 AM—Assessing the Threat of Corruption Networks to National Security

Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman (Ret), Fellow, Foreign Policy Research Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies; Former Director for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Russia, National Security Council

Moderated by Matthew Murray, Co-Chair of Innovating Solutions to Systemic Corruption in Eurasia Forum and Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia

Session 2: Innovating Solutions—Applying Lessons Learned and Building Independent Institutions
9:40–10:00 AM—Report Card on Current Anti-Corruption Reforms

Daria Kaleniuk, Executive Director, Ukraine Anti-Corruption Action Center

10:00–10:20 AM—Cost-Savings in Public Procurement with Prozorro

Tetiana Lisovska, eProcurement Team Lead for USAID/UK aid’s Transparency and Accountability in Public Administration and Services Activity

Robert O’Donovan, Vice President, Eurasia Foundation

10:20–10:40 AM—Break


Register here for the Zoom webinar or tune in on YouTube Live.
10:40–11:10 AM—Building Capacity of Anti-Corruption Court

Mykhailo Zhernakov, Co-Founder and Chair of Board of Directiors, DeJure Foundation; Former judge of the Vinnytsia District Administrative Court, Ukraine

Andriy Kozlov, Attorney and Former member of the High Qualification Commission of Judges

Judge Mark Wolf, Senior United States District Judge, and the former Chief Judge; and Chair of Integrity Initiatives International

11:10–11:30 AM—A Holistic Strategy for Countering a Systemic Challenge

Eka Tkeshelashvili, Head of European Union Anti-Corruption Initiative; President of Georgian Institute of Strategic Studies

11:30–11:45 AM—New Reform Strategies and Models

Marc Ellingstad, Director of Office of Democracy and Governance, U.S. Agency for International Development, Ukraine                                          

11:45 AM–12:00 PM—Colloquy on How to Counter Transnational Oligarchic Networks

Matthew Murray, Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs

Alexander Cooley, Harriman Institute; Claire Tow Professor of Political Science at Barnard College