Toward a Democratic Russia | Freedom House

Toward a Democratic Russia

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - 9:45am to 12:00pm

Capitol Visitor Center
Room SVC 202-203
Washington, DC

9:45 AM - 10:00 AM
Coffee and Registration

10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Introduction:   Robert Kagan
Foreign Policy Initiative and the Brookings Institution
Opening Keynote Speaker: Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD)
U.S. Helsinki Commission Co-Chairman
Featuring Panelists:   Mikhail Kasyanov
Former Russian prime minister
  Kristiina Ojuland
Member of the European Parliament
Closing Keynote Speaker: Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
U.S. Helsinki Commissioner  
Moderator:      David J. Kramer
Freedom House

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Speaker Biographies

Senator Kelly Ayotte was elected to the U.S. Senate by the people of New Hampshire in 2010 and serves on the Senate Armed Services, Budget, Commerce, and Small Business Committees. She is the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support and is a commissioner on the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the U.S. Helsinki Commission). Prior to her election, she was appointed by Governor Craig Benson as the first woman to serve as New Hampshire’s attorney general. Before becoming attorney general in 2004, she was a prosecutor and then deputy attorney general for the Office of the New Hampshire Attorney General. From 1994 to 1998, she was an associate at the Manchester law firm of McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton. She is married to Joe Daley, who flew combat missions during the Iraq war and currently serves as a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard. Senator Ayotte is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University and earned her J.D. from the Villanova University School of Law.

Senator Ben Cardin was elected to the United States Senate in 2006 by the people of Maryland after serving nearly two decades in the United States House of Representatives. Senator Cardin has a long-standing interest in foreign affairs and human rights.  He has been a commissioner on the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the U.S. Helsinki Commission) since 1993, serving as chairman in the 111th Congress and co-chairman in the 112th Congress.  He also serves as vice president of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly.  In the 111th Congress, he was a member of the National Security Working Group monitoring arms control issues. Senator Cardin is a member on the Environment and Public Works (EPW), Finance, Foreign Relations, Budget, and Small Business & Entrepreneurship committees. He currently chairs the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee of EPW and the International Development and Foreign Assistance, Economic Affairs, and International Environmental Protection Subcommittee of the Foreign Relations Committee. Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Senator Cardin represented Maryland's Third Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1987 until 2006.  In the House, Senator Cardin served as the senior Democrat on the Trade Subcommittee and Human Resources Subcommittee of the Ways & Means Committee. Senator Cardin served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1967 to 1986.  He was speaker from 1979 until 1986 and served as chairman of the Ways & Means Committee from 1974 until 1979.  Senator Cardin earned his B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh and his J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law. He holds honorary degrees from the University of Baltimore School of Law; University of Maryland at Baltimore; Baltimore Hebrew University; Goucher College; and Stevenson (formerly Villa Julie College).
Mikhail Kasyanov, prime minister of the Russian Federation from 2000 until 2004, is a leading figure of the opposition group the People's Democratic Union and is a co-chair of the People’s Freedom Party. Mr. Kasyanov began his career as an engineer and then as an economist. In 1991, he was appointed to the Ministry of Economics as the head of the Subdivision of Industrialized Countries, and then in 1993, he was appointed as head of the Department of Foreign Credits and External Debt at the Russian Ministry of Finance. Two years later, he became the deputy minister of Finance from 1995 until he was appointed by President Boris Yeltsin as the minister of Finance in 1999. During that time, Mr. Kasyanov was incorporated into the Security Council of Russia. In January 2000, he became the first deputy prime minister. Upon Vladimir Putin’s presidential victory in May 2000, Mr. Kasyanov became the prime minister.  Then in February 2004, Mr. Kasyanov's cabinet was dismissed by President Putin following growing political disagreements between Mr. Kasyanov and the President on gas sector reform, the Yukos affair and business suppression, relations with Ukraine and Belarus, and other issues. One year after his departure from the government, Mr. Kasyanov started to vocally criticize Russian authorities for their anti-democratic drift initiated by President Putin in the end of 2004 and declared his intention to form a new political party to fight for liberal and democratic values against the growing authoritarian tide. In 2006, the People's Democratic Union (PDU) was created with Mr. Kasyanov as its elected political leader. He was nominated to be the PDU’s candidate for the presidential elections, but the Central Election Commission denied him participation in the presidential elections of March 2008 on political grounds. In December 2010, Mr. Kasyanov was elected as one of the co-chairs of the People’s Freedom Party. He is a graduate of the Moscow Motor Vehicle and Road Transport Institute and was qualified as a civil engineer. Additionally, he was educated at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow and at the Higher School of Foreign Languages. 
Kristiina Ojuland is an Estonian member of Eesti Reformierakond, part of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) in the European Parliament. She became a member of the European Parliament in 2009 and currently sits as a full member on the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Ms. Ojuland is also part of the Delegation to the E.U.-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee. As a substitute, she sits on the Subcommittee on Human Rights and is part of the Delegation for Relations with Switzerland, Iceland, and Norway and to the European Economic Area (EEA) Joint Parliamentary Committee. Ms. Ojuland has been awarded the Commander of the Legion of Honour in France, the Grand Cross of the Order of Infante D. Henrique in Portugal, and the Order of the National Coat of Arms 5th class in Estonia. She has been vice-president of the European Liberal Democratic and Reform Party (ELDR) since 2007. Before joining Parliament, Ms. Ojuland was first vice-speaker of the Riigikogu (the Estonian Parliament) from 2007 to 2009. She was chair of the European Affairs Committee in the Riigikogu from 2004 to 2007 and minister of Foreign Affairs from 2002 to 2005. Ms. Ojuland was a member of both the Riigikogu and the Foreign Affairs Committee from 1994 to 2002 and was vice-president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) from 1996 to 2002. She also headed the Estonian Parliamentary Delegation to PACE. Prior to that, Ms. Ojuland acted as foreign secretary of the Estonian Reform Party and was a member of the Permanent Representative of Estonia to the Council of Europe, the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Estonian Ministry of Justice. She attended special programmes at the Vienna School of International Studies and the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva. Ms. Ojuland graduated from the Estonian School of Diplomacy in Tallinn, after having earned an L.L.B. at the Law Faculty of the University of Tartu.
Robert Kagan, a board member of the Foreign Policy Initiative and a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, is an expert and frequent commentator on U.S. national security, foreign policy, and U.S.-European relations. He writes a monthly column on world affairs for The Washington Post and is a contributing editor at The Weekly Standard and the New Republic. Prior to Brookings, Dr. Kagan spent 13 years as a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. From 1984 to 1988, he served as a member of the State Department’s Office of Policy Planning, as principal speechwriter for Secretary of State George Shultz and as deputy for policy in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs. Dr. Kagan is a prolific author on U.S. foreign policy issues. His most recent book is The World America Made. One of his previous books, Dangerous Nation: America’s Place in the World from its Earliest Days to the Dawn of the 20th Century, was the winner of the 2008 Lepgold Prize and a 2007 Finalist for the Lionel Gelber Prize. His book, Of Paradise and Power, was a New York Times bestseller, and a bestseller in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, and Canada. Dr. Kagan received his B.A. from Yale University, his M.P.P. at John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and his Ph.D. from American University.
David Kramer is president of Freedom House. Prior to joining Freedom House in 2010, he was a senior transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF). Mr. Kramer was an adjunct professor at the Elliott School for International Affairs at The George Washington University. Before joining GMF, he served as assistant secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor from March 2008 to January 2009. He was also a deputy assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, responsible for Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus affairs as well as regional non-proliferation issues. Prior to that, Mr. Kramer served as a professional staff member in the Secretary of State’s Office of Policy Planning. Before that, he served as senior advisor to the Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs. Mr. Kramer also was executive director of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy in Washington. Before joining the U.S. Government, he was a senior fellow at the Project for the New American Century, associate director of the Russian and Eurasian Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and assistant director of Russian and Eurasian Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Prior to moving to Washington, Mr. Kramer was a lecturer in Russian Studies at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts and a teaching fellow at Harvard University. He also served as an analyst for the Christian Science Monitor Network during the collapse of the Soviet Union. A native of Massachusetts, Mr. Kramer received his M.A. in Soviet Studies from Harvard University and his B.A. in Soviet Studies and Political Science from Tufts University.

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