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United with Ukraine: Putin’s War and the Threat Against Democracy
March 25, 2022

About The Series

Join Melinda Haring and Sarah Chayes for a discussion on corruption as a threat to democracy and how Putin’s kleptocratic regime has contributed to the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine.
The “United with Ukraine” virtual speaker series is hosted by the U.S. Department of State in cooperation with Meridian International Center. The series seeks to deepen discussion and understanding on:
1) supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity;
2) celebrating Ukraine’s unique identity and culture;
3) reaffirming the benefit and value of democratic principles and institutions; and
4) exposing Russia’s destabilizing actions and disinformation.


Melinda Haring is a leading expert on Ukraine and the deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. Previously, she was the editor of the Atlantic Council’s popular publication, the UkraineAlert blog. She is the author of the report Reforming the democracy bureaucracy (FPRI, 2013) coauthor of Biden and Ukraine: a strategy for the next administration (Atlantic Council, 2021), Biden and Belarus: a strategy for the next administration (Atlantic Council, 2021), Ukraine’s internally displaced persons hold a key to peace (Atlantic Council, 2017), and a contributor to Does democracy matter? (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017)Haring has worked for Eurasia Foundation, Freedom House, and the National Democratic Institute, where she managed democracy assistance programs in Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Russia. A graduate of Georgetown University, she holds an MA in Government with a certificate in Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies. Haring is the vice-chair of the board of East Europe Foundation in Kyiv, Ukraine, a member of the supervisory board of Right to Protection in Kyiv, Ukraine, and a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. She is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Follow Melinda on Twitter: @Melindaharing



Sarah Chayes’s remarkable trajectory has led her from reporting from Paris for National Public Radio and covering the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan to running a soap factory in downtown Kandahar in the midst of a reigniting insurgency. She went on to advise the topmost levels of the U.S. military, serving as special adviser to two commanders of the international forces in Kabul and then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen. She left the Pentagon for a five-year stint at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where she extracted the broadly relevant core from those experiences.

Internationally recognized for her innovative thinking on corruption and its implications, she has uncovered the unrecognized reality that severe and structured corruption can prompt international crises, such as revolutions and other uprisings, violent insurgency, and environmental devastation. Corruption of this sort is the operating system of sophisticated networks, which weave together government officials, business magnates and private charities, and out and out criminals, and represents, in Sarah’s view, the primary threat to democracy in our lifetimes.

Author of the prize-winning Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security, and On Corruption In America — And What Is at Stake. She lives in Paris and Paw Paw, West Virginia.

To learn more, visit: www.sarahchayes.org