Dr. Donald N. Jensen is a senior advisor for Russia and Europe 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, the Baltic republics and information warfare. He is also an adjunct professor at the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. He has lectured at various universities, including Harvard, Oxford, Stanford, Sarah Lawrence and George Washington University.

A former U.S. diplomat, Jensen provided staff support for the START, INF and SDI treaty negotiations and was a member of the first ten-man U.S. inspection team to inspect Soviet missile bases under the INF Treaty in 1988. While posted at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in 1991, he witnessed firsthand the end of the USSR.

From 1996-2008, Jensen was associate director of broadcasting and head of the research division at RFE/RL, where he helped lead that organization’s expansion into new broadcast regions after the end of the Cold War and its adaptation of multimedia technology to deal with the broadcasting challenges of the 21st Century, especially in Afghanistan and Iran. In 2016, he was a visiting scholar at the NATO Defense College in Rome, where he carried out a major research project on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

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

Publications By Donald

The NATO Summit: Three Takeaways for Europe, War and Peace

The NATO Summit: Three Takeaways for Europe, War and Peace

Thursday, July 13, 2023

By: Mary Glantz, Ph.D.;  Donald N. Jensen, Ph.D.

This week’s NATO summit conference wrought significant advantages for Ukraine in its fight for independence, and on behalf of Europe’s security. Ukraine and most NATO members sought an unconditional invitation for Ukraine to join the NATO alliance following its war with Russia. They achieved part of that goal — a shorter, clearer path to Ukraine’s membership, USIP analysts note. Turkey’s reversal, to support Sweden’s accession to the alliance, strengthens the community backing the Ukrainians’ self-defense. While the summit had no prospect of lightening the burdens of defending Ukraine, Europe and the international rule of law, it accomplished what was achievable in the moment.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

Donald Jensen on What the NATO Summit Means for Putin

Donald Jensen on What the NATO Summit Means for Putin

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

By: Donald N. Jensen, Ph.D.

The NATO summit cleared major hurdles for Sweden to join the alliance and offered a consensus for Ukraine’s eventual accession. With Moscow still dealing with the fallout from Prigozhin’s recent uprising, signs indicate that “Putin is now weaker than anybody in the West thought he’d be two months ago,” says USIP’s Donald Jensen.

Type: Podcast

Nobel Peace Prize: Documenting Rights Abuses is Vital in Ukraine and Beyond

Nobel Peace Prize: Documenting Rights Abuses is Vital in Ukraine and Beyond

Thursday, October 13, 2022

By: Lauren Baillie;  Donald N. Jensen, Ph.D.

The award of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize to one individual and two civil society organizations — from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine — recognizes the critical role civil society documenters play in holding states accountable for human rights abuses. The laureates have brought to light the breadth of abuses committed by authoritarian regimes in Belarus and Russia and the vast harms suffered by Ukrainians as a result of the Russian invasion. They also reflect a larger global trend, where civil society organizations document crimes in order to hold perpetrators accountable, memorialize the suffering of victims, and provide critical information to families on the fates of their loved ones.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Justice, Security & Rule of Law

View All