A Message from IRI’s President Daniel Twining on Recent Events in Russia

Like you, I’ve watched recent events in Russia with considerable interest. The attempted coup by Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner Group highlights Vladimir Putin’s vulnerability, and shows just how quickly change can happen – even in so-called “stable” autocracies.

These developments reinforce our belief that Ukraine’s ultimate victory in its war of self-defense could lead to wider transformations across the region, including in Russia itself. At the International Republican Institute, we know how important it is to prepare democratic reformers so that they’ll be ready to lead the call for change when the opportunity presents itself. Through an array of innovative programming, we’re supporting independent pro-democracy activists, journalists, and others in their efforts to build a democratic future for Russia.

In Belarus, dictator Aleksandr Lukashenka has positioned himself as a power broker by hosting Prigozhin and his troops as a favor to Putin. This can only deepen Belarus’ involvement in the war – a development which public opinion surveys indicate would be incredibly unpopular. IRI will continue to provide guidance to the pro-democracy opposition in their political messaging, strategic communications, and approaches to channel citizens’ demand for democratic reform and demonstrate a credible alternative to the Lukashenka regime. The Institute will also keep up our work with opposition leader Sviatlana Tikhanovskaya and the United Transitional Cabinet of Belarus to prepare the way for an orderly democratic transition.

IRI’s longstanding programs across Eurasia continue to provide vital support to countries under strain and at various stages of democratic development.

In Ukraine, our wartime programming helps Ukraine’s key national institutions, parliamentarians, local elected officials, political parties, and citizens to resist the Russian invasion through effective emergency response, material support, and communications assistance that facilitates effective coordination between the national and local levels. Additionally, IRI continues to ensure stakeholders involved in local policy decision-making processes are equipped with effective communication, analytical, and budgetary planning tools, and builds partnerships with local political party branches, mayoral administrations, and youth activist groups.

In the front-line state of Moldova, we are partnering with the government and political parties to advance Moldova’s reform agenda, with an eye toward smoothing the path to European integration.

In Armenia, we are building the capacity of the government to devise, implement, and communicate its reform agenda as well as working with the parliament to develop data-driven legislation and institutionalize a culture and practice of regular constituent communication.

In Georgia, IRI has responded to democratic backsliding by working with our partners to use national public opinion data and strategic advocacy to support citizen-responsive governance and policies among pro-democratic political parties. We support emerging youth movements and increased youth political leadership and are standing up a consensus-driven dialogue mechanism which seeks to build a culture of compromise among diverse sectors in Georgian society.

In Central Asia, we have ongoing programming in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. In Kyrgyzstan, IRI promotes competitive political discourse through issue-based political and civic outreach, open debates, responsive local government, and youth and women engagement in the decision-making process.

IRI is proud to support brave champions of democratic change across Europe and Eurasia. Glory to Ukraine, and may freedom soon come to the people of Russia, Belarus, and all who live under tyranny.

Up ArrowTop