Apr 26

Political Exiles, Transnational Repression and Global Authoritarianism in Eurasia and Beyond

Monday, May 7, 2018
The Harriman Institute at Columbia University
Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies
1512 International Affairs Building (420 W 118th St, 15th floor)

Please join us for a workshop bringing together academics, journalists, and human rights activists for three thematic panels.

This event is supported by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. It is part of their Russian Studies & Policy event series.

As authoritarian regimes have consolidated their position in Eurasia and the Middle East, many members of the political opposition, independent media and civil society have gone into exile. But as political struggles have moved beyond borders, so too has state repression. Governments have monitored, intimidated, detained, kidnapped and assassinated activists living abroad, as well as placing pressure on them through their relatives remaining in their home country. Many of these practices are enacted through international organizations, most notably Interpol, as well as through regional organizations like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. While these counter-exile strategies have a history dating back to the practice of ostracism in Athens in the fifth century BC, transnational repression has become more prominent in recent years.

Discussion questions will include: How has the targeting of exiles in recent years differed from the practices adopted by previous governments? To what extent are these practices limited to authoritarian regimes? What are the similarities between the extraterritorial targeting of exiles in Eurasia and the extraordinary rendition program created by the US government as part of the War on Terror? In what ways can exiles resist being targeted? What measures can be taken to prevent organizations like Interpol against being manipulated by governments to pursue political opponents?


9:15 – 9:30 AM: Opening Remarks: Alexander Cooley (Columbia University)

9:30 – 11:00 AM: Conceptualizing Transnational Repression and Global Authoritarianism in an Age of Rising Illiberalism

Chair: Michael Hall (Open Societies Foundation)

  • Marlies Glasius (University of Amsterdam)
  • Nate Schenkkan (Freedom House)
  • Andrei Soldatov (Agentura.ru)
  • Irina Borogan (Agentura.ru)

11:00 – 11:30AM: Coffee Break

11:30 AM –  1:00 PM: Targeting Exiles in Eurasia and Beyond

Chair: TBC

  • Dana Moss (University of Pittsburgh)
  • John Heathershaw (University of Exeter)
  • Saipira Furstenberg (University of Exeter)
  • Fiona Adamson (SOAS)

1:00 – 2:00 PM: Lunch Break

2:00 – 3:30 PM: Transnational Repression, Human Rights and Opportunities for Advocacy

Chair: TBC

  • Maran Turner (Freedom Now)
  • Steve Swerdlow (Human Rights Watch)
  • Rebecca Shaeffer (Fair Trials International)

3:30 – 4:00 PM: Closing Remarks and Discussion: Edward Lemon (Columbia University)

For more information about the please click here.