Underscoring the need for the U.S. to acknowledge and respond to Russia's efforts to undermine emerging and established democracies, NDI Senior Associate and Regional Director for Eurasia Laura Jewett testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs on March 29. Dr. Jewett was part of a panel discussing "Civil Society Perspectives on Russia" that also included Russian democratic activist Vladimir Kara-Murza, Vice Chairman of Open Russia, and Jan Surotchak, Regional Director for Europe at the International Republican Institute (IRI).
Dr. Jewett noted that Russian-sponsored disinformation and propaganda, economic coercion, and military aggression, which she collectively described as Russia's "hybrid warfare," has escalated in recent years and has a profound effect on civil society throughout the Eurasia region and increasingly beyond. Jewett also highlighted the importance of being alert to false equivalencies between Russia's hybrid warfare and democracy assistance, saying that giving credence to these distortions abets authoritarian aggression. As part of her testimony, she introduced statements by five NDI partners, linked below, unanimous in urging that the U.S. remain active and engaged in providing democracy assistance. Recently recovered from a poison attack in his native Russia, Mr. Kara-Murza offered eloquent testimony of the need to distinguish between the positions of the Putin regime and the aspirations of the Russian people, and encouraged U.S. policymakers to remain true to our values as Russians navigate the path toward a more democratic society.