Dr. Donald N. Jensen is the director for Russia and strategic stability at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

He joined USIP after four years with the Center for European Policy Analysis, where he was a senior fellow and editor in chief. Dr. Jensen writes extensively on Russian domestic politics and Russian foreign and security policies. He also specializes in the domestic and foreign policies of other post-Soviet states, especially Ukraine, Georgia, and the Baltic republics.

Dr. Jensen received his bachelor’s from Columbia University and his master’s and doctorate from Harvard University.

Publications By Donald

Donald Jensen on the Biden-Putin Summit

Donald Jensen on the Biden-Putin Summit

Thursday, June 17, 2021

By: Donald N. Jensen, Ph.D.

Despite numerous points of tension, Presidents Biden and Putin characterized this week’s meeting in positive terms. Now, “the administration is trying to decide to what extent to cooperate with the Kremlin … and to what extent to push back,” said USIP’s Donald Jensen ahead of the summit.

Type: Podcast

Global Policy

The Biden-Putin Summit: A Chance to Agree—and Disagree

The Biden-Putin Summit: A Chance to Agree—and Disagree

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

By: James Rupert; Donald N. Jensen, Ph.D.

While Presidents Biden and Putin meet amid the strained U.S.-Russian relations in a generation, this week’s summit could yield moves to rebuild predictability in that relationship, especially new steps to address rising global risks to stability and security. Even as the United States confronts Putin over his wielding of selective chaos as a foreign policy crowbar, both sides share an interest in managing disparate international threats—from the weakening of the limits on nuclear weapons and the emergence of new high technology weapons, to climate change and COVID. The summit could reopen dialogue on such challenges.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

Russia Pulls Back Troops—But Not Its Threat to Ukraine

Russia Pulls Back Troops—But Not Its Threat to Ukraine

Monday, April 26, 2021

By: Donald N. Jensen, Ph.D.

Russian ships and trains are moving back the tens of thousands of troops massed on Ukraine’s border because, Russia’s defense minister said last week, their “surprise inspection” had “demonstrated their ability to ensure the reliable defense of the country.” In reality, the Kremlin stood down after its saber-rattling failed to unnerve the Ukrainians—and after President Biden warned President Vladimir Putin directly to drop the military threat, effectively...

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Global Policy

From Navalny to the Economy, Russia Protests Reveal Mass Dissatisfaction

From Navalny to the Economy, Russia Protests Reveal Mass Dissatisfaction

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

By: Donald N. Jensen, Ph.D.

Russia was rocked by demonstrations over the weekend, as thousands braved freezing temperatures to protest the detention of dissident Alexei Navalny. The opposition leader had just returned to Russia after recovering from a poisoning attack, suspected to undertaken by the Kremlin. But Russians’ grievances go well beyond the treatment of Navalny. Corruption, a foundering economy, and dissatisfaction with the ruling elite threaten to propel the protests into a broader movement against President Vladimir Putin’s regime. The Kremlin has alleged that the protests are a Western plot to destabilize Russia. USIP’s Donald Jensen looks at the underlying factors driving the protests, what threat they pose to Putin’s regime, and what, if any, role the United States can play.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

Nuclear Diplomacy with Russia: What’s Ahead for the Biden Administration?

Nuclear Diplomacy with Russia: What’s Ahead for the Biden Administration?

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

By: Donald N. Jensen, Ph.D.

With relations between the United States and Russia at a low point, the incoming Biden Administration faces the challenge of finding the right balance between showing firmness toward the Kremlin and engaging on issues of mutual interest, above all arms control. President-elect Joe Biden has indicated he may agree to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) for five years, a decision that could clear the way for further negotiations. But while extension of New START could lead to discussions on other areas of arms control, the potential for breakthroughs in the U.S.-Russia relationship appears dim.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue

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