Post-Soviet Kleptocracy in the West: Avenues of Influence

Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - 12:00pm to 3:00pm

CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge Street, Room S354

Though Russian interference is a hot topic, major experts from Russian opposition and Western activists, researchers warned policy-makers that spill over effect of Russian corruption is coming at the heard of Western democracies since at least 2008-2012. The Cold War the distinction between "that" camp and "our" camp blurred completely, we are talking about shades of grey, not black and white picture. Kremlin started a creeping non-military war against the Western institutions and values years ago but it did not get noticed because it was waged on totally new fronts: disinformation via new channels such as the internet, and in cultural and educational spheres. But most importantly, the war was waged through completely new avenues of business and with unprecedented concentrated capital from petro-dollars that was easily disguised through anonymous offshore accounts and/or seemingly private businesses of oligarchs. This ongoing phenomenon is global. There are over 30 layers of how this process has been carried out, and the number of layers increase every year. Because of the West's deliberate openness in business and people-to-people spheres kleptocracies find more and more ways to exploit that for further subversion. We require a new comprehensive policy of containment of Eurasian kleptocracy that the West badly needs to introduce in legal, financial, academic and cultural spheres that should include better enforcement of existing laws, introduction of brand new ones, especially on monetary inflows from offshore zones, ethical codes for non-business organizations and much wider due diligence and audit processes that would bring in Russian language expertise on oligarchy and organized crime of the post-Soviet space.

Ilya Zaslavskiy is a member of the Advisory Council at the Hudson Institute's Kleptocracy Initiative for which he wrote a report How Non-State Actors Export Kleptocratic Norms to the West. He is also Head of Research at Washington-based non-profit Free Russia Foundation and head of, a research project exposing kleptocrats from Eurasia in the West. Until August 2018 Ilya was an Academy Associate at Chatham House where in 2014 he was a Fellow. He also continues as an energy consultant for western companies working in developing countries. In autumn 2018 Council on Foreign Relations will publish Ilya's report on Energy Reform in Ukraine. 


Ilya Zaslavskiy, Member, Advisory Council, Kleptocracy Initiative, Hudson Institute; Head of Research, Free Russia Foundation

Commentator: Matthew Stephenson, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
Commentator: Inna Melnykovska, Strategy and Policy Fellow, Smith Richardson Foundation; Visiting Scholar, Davis Center

Sponsored by the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.

For more information, please call 617-495-4037.