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Russia’s Influence and Propaganda on Ukraine Topics of September PDAA Program

Jarek Anders at PDAA lunch program

A panel including Jarek Anders, at lectern, discussed Russia and Ukraine before a packed house at PDAA’s September 8 lunch program.

Updated: 20 September 2014.

PDAA kicked off its fall season with a topic that could not be timelier – Russia and Ukraine – looking not so much at the state of the current conflict, but at some of the undercurrents within the countries, particularly in the area of human rights, and how Russia is using its propaganda tools to influence public opinion both internally and externally.

Clearly, non-governmental organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to do the type of work that would foster democratic processes and advance human rights within Russian and dissent is less tolerated. Yet internally Putin’s public approval ratings are stronger than ever. The speakers will discussed the crackdown on NGOs in Russia, how Russia is influencing public opinion in Ukraine and what, if anything, the United States and Europe can do to effectively counter Russian propaganda.

Our panel of four speakers included Jarek Anders, Deputy Director of the Office of European Affairs in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL/EUR). Jarek, who has published numerous articles for the New York Review of Books, The New Republic, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, and other periodicals, has the lead responsibility for matters concerning the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). He outlined the latest situation in Ukraine.

Jarek was followed by Orly Keiner, who has the Russian portfolio at DRL. She was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine and has worked in Belarus. She holds an MA in Russian, East European and Central Asian Regional Studies from Harvard University.

The third speaker was Mike Hurley, currently a senior public diplomacy inspector with OIG and is a Minister Counselor in the Foreign Service. During his nearly 30 years with USIA and State, Mike has been posted to Moscow three times, the last as PAO. In addition to assignments in Kuala Lumpur, Surabaya and Budapest, Mike has served as Director of the Press and Public Diplomacy Office in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.

Rounding out the panel was Mary Kruger, recently back from Ukraine as an election monitor. Mary Kruger served multiple tours in Ukraine and Russia during her Foreign Service career. Her career began as an exhibit guide in the Soviet Union, moved to VOA as a Russian language broadcaster, opened up the first PD office in Kiev, later served as PAO there. She has also served in Moscow and St. Petersburg, where from 2005-2008 she was Consul General.

This event took place on Monday, September 8, 2014, 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm, at the DACOR-Bacon House, 1801 F Street NW, Washington, D.C.


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