Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova: How Corruption Threatens the Eastern Partnership

July 28, 2014
04:00 pm - 05:30 pm

About the Event

Last month, Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova signed EU association agreements, putting to paper a clear desire to turn westwards and break from an unhappy post-Soviet legacy. Yet difficult issues remain, principally that of corruption. Entrenched corruption in these three countries persists as a result of the networks of criminality that thrived in the lawlessness of the 1990s. Elements of this culture can be observed today, and continue to pose a potent threat to democratic development.

As Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine look to strengthen the rule of law and democratic accountability within their borders, the panel discussed current corruption challenges and how outside actors – from Russia to the US – are influencing the reform process in each country.

The discussion was based on a series of papers the Legatum Institute commissioned in partnership with the Institute of Modern Russia that analyse the challenges and opportunities of transition in the former Soviet Union.

Sponsored by the International Forum for Democratic Studies, the Legatum Institute, and the Institute of Modern Russia


  • Oliver Bullough, Journalist and Author
  • Peter Pomerantsev, Journalist, Author and Documentary Producer
  • Vladimir Soloviev, Editor-in-chief, Kommersant Moldova
  • Olga Khvostunova, Editor-in-chief, Institute of Modern Russia

moderated by

  • Anne Applebaum, Director of the Transitions Forum, Legatum Institute

with introductory remarks by

  • Christopher Walker, International Forum for Democratic Studies

When and Where

Monday, July 28, 2014
4:00 pm-5:30 pm (EDT)

National Endowment for Democracy
1025 F Street, N.W., Suite 800
Washington, D.C. 20004

About the Speakers

Oliver Bullough is an award-winning journalist and author. He has written for newspapers and magazines in Britain and America, including The Guardian, New York Times and New Republic, and previously served as a Reuters Moscow correspondent. His most recent book, The Last Man in Russia and the Struggle to Save a Dying Nation, is published by Penguin. His report Looting Ukraine: How East and West Teamed up to Steal a Country is published jointly by the Legatum Institute and the Institute of Modern Russia.

Peter Pomerantsev is a British author and documentary producer. His writing on Russia features regularly in the London Review of Books, Newsweek/Daily Beast, Financial Times and The New Yorker. He has also worked as a consultant on EU and World Bank development projects in the former USSR. His book about working at the heart of Putin’s post-modern dictatorship, Nothing is True and Everything is Possible, will be published in November. He is also author of the Legatum Institute report Revolutionary Tactics: Insights from Police and Justice Reform in Georgia.

Vladimir Soloviev is a Russian journalist and editor-in-chief of Kommersant Moldova, a branch of Kommersant Publishing House, considered to be one of the most influential media outlets in Russia. Before moving to Chisinau, he served as special correspondent for Kommersant in Moscow, covering foreign affairs and Russia’s relationship with the European Union and post-Soviet countries, for over six years.

Olga Khvostunova is a Russian journalist who is currently research fellow at the Institute of Modern Russia and editor-in-chief of She holds a Ph.D. in Political Communications from Lomonosov Moscow State University. As a Fulbright Scholar, she conducted research at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute. Previously, she worked as a contributing editor at Kommersant Publishing House in Moscow.

Anne Applebaum leads the Legatum Institute’s Transitions Forum. She is also a columnist for the Washington Post and Slate, and the author of several books, including Gulag: A History, which won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction. Her most recent book, Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1946, won the 2013 Cundill Prize for Historical Literature and was nominated for a national book award in the US.

Christopher Walker is executive director of NED’s International Forum for Democratic Studies, a leading center for the analysis of the theory and practice of democratic development. Prior to joining the NED in July 2012, Walker was vice president for strategy and analysis at Freedom House. He has been published in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Journal of Democracy, and a range of other publications.

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