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Vilnius Democracy Forum: How to Deal with Kleptocracies?

On September 14 and 15, Hudson Institute, together with the Eastern Europe Studies Center and the Institute of International Relations and Political Science at Vilnius University, – and co-organizers, the National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House, and the the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung – hosted the first Vilnius Democracy Forum. View the agenda of the Vilnius Democracy Forum here.

The event explored challenges to peace and security, freedom, rule of law, and democracy stemming from the current Kremlin leadership’s violation of international order by its wars against Georgia and Ukraine, annexation of Crimea, blackmail and continued punitive policy against Russia’s neighbors, and its subversion of global financial networks. The forum reaffirmed universal core values and principles proclaimed by the 1941 Atlantic Charter, the 1945 UN Charter, the 1975 Helsinki Final Act, and their call for respect for peace, human rights, freedom, rule of law, democracy, sovereignty, and the inviolability of international borders.

The Forum gathered prominent scholars and practitioners engaged in studying and supporting democratic processes in Eastern Europe. The keynote address was delivered by Professor Karen Dawisha, an author of Putin’s Kleptocracy. She was joined by the Minister of Defense of Georgia H.E. Tinatin Khidasheli. The speakers, who discussed non-democtaric/kleptocratic regimes and ways to renew transatlantic commitment to democracy, included Secretary General of the Community of Democracies Ambassador Maria Leissner; Director of the European Endowment for Democracy Mr. Jerzy Pomianowski; Executive Director of Hudson Institute’s Kleptocracy Initiative Mr. Charles Davidson; Members of the European Parliament Ms. Ana Maria Gomes (Portugal) and Mr. Gabrielius Landsbergis (Lithuania); and Director of the U.S. Office of Multilateral and Global Affairs, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Mr. Jason Donovan. Additional speakers included representatives from the National Endowment for Democracy (USA), International Republican Institute (USA), National Democratic Institute (USA), National Center for Strategic Studies (Poland), Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Johns Hopkins University (USA), Yale University (USA), Georgetown University (USA), Chatham House (United Kingdom), McCain Institute (USA), Cato Institute (USA), The World Affairs Journal and The American Interest.

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