The Russia Disruption: Assassination at Home and Abroad
February 24, 2021
10:00am - 11:00am MT
Russia stands accused of assassinating regime opponents at home and abroad in a campaign of terror and political repression. Alexei Navalny, one of President Putin’s fiercest and most creative critics, recently returned to Russia after narrowly surviving poisoning with Novichok, a military grade chemical weapon. Navalny’s immediate detention by Russian authorities and quick sentencing to prison has sparked protests across Russia resulting in thousands of arrests. What do these developments mean for Russia, for President Putin’s hold on power, and for Parliamentary elections scheduled in September 2021? Does Navalny’s brave stance have a chance of succeeding in changing Russia’s authoritarian system, or will Putin’s crackdowns on protest and dissent again succeed in solidifying his grip?
Join the Santa Fe Council on International Relations, Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations and Arizona State University The Melikian Center: Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies for the launch of The Russia Disruption series on February 24 at 10 am MT, 12 pm ET.
Yevgenia M. Albats
Editor-in-Chief and CEO
The New Times
Yevgenia M. Albats is a Russian investigative journalist, political scientist, author, and radio host. Since 2007 she has been the Political Editor and then Editor-in-Chief and CEO of The New Times, a Moscow-based, Russian language independent political weekly. Since 2004, Albats has hosted Absolute Albats, a talk-show on Echo Moskvy, the only remaining liberal radio station in Russia. Albats was an Alfred Friendly Press Fellow assigned to the Chicago Tribune in 1990, and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1993. She graduated from Moscow State University in 1980 and received her MA and Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University in 1996 and 2004, respectively. She is a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) since its founding in 1996. Albats taught at Yale in 2003-2004. She was a full-time professor at Moscow’s University — The Higher School of Economics, teaching the institutional theory of the state and bureaucracy, until 2011 when her courses were canceled at the request of Kremlin. In 2017 Albats was chosen as an inaugural fellow at Kelly’s Writers House and Perry House at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2019 — 2020 she taught authoritarian politics at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Currently she is a Senior fellow at Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, working on her new book. Albats is the author of the four independently researched books, including one on the history of the Russian political police, the KGB, whose graduates are running the country today. She has a daughter and resides in Moscow, Russia.
The Intelligence Project at Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Harvard Kennedy School
Paul Kolbe is the Director of the Intelligence Project at the Belfer Center. Paul served for 25 years in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations in a variety of foreign and domestic roles, including as Chief of Station, Chief/Central Eurasia Division, and Balkans Group Chief. His overseas assignments included operational and leadership roles in the former Soviet Union, the Balkans, Southeast Asia, Southern Africa, and Central Europe. He was a member of the Senior Intelligence Service and is a recipient of the Intelligence Medal of Merit and the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal. Following his CIA career, Kolbe was Director for Intelligence and Analysis at BP, where he built an enterprise-wide intelligence capability focused on geo-political threats, strategic cyber threats, and support to commercial operations. Clients included C-suite leadership, global business units, security networks, and legal teams. Kolbe is a Senior Advisor to the Crumpton Group, Capstone Global, and Spycraft Entertainment. He is also a member of the Cipher Brief network of experts and is an alumnus of Michigan State University’s James Madison college, where he studied International Relations. Kolbe has been married to Maureen Farrell Kolbe for 32 years and is a proud father of 3 great children, all of whom desperately resist his attempts at humor.
Central and Eastern Europe Correspondent
Shaun Walker is a foreign correspondent for The Guardian based in Budapest. He spent more than a decade reporting from Moscow and was The Guardian's bureau chief there between 2013 and 2018. His book The Long Hangover: Putin's New Russia and the Ghosts of the Past was published by Oxford University Press in 2018.