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

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

As Russia Bars Democracy in Belarus, Risks Will Rise

As Russia Bars Democracy in Belarus, Risks Will Rise

Thursday, October 8, 2020

By: Donald N. Jensen, Ph.D.

As people in Belarus continue massive protests against an autocratic ruler and a rigged election, risks are rising that Russia’s military could take a direct role, less visible than an overt invasion, projecting power westward toward NATO and threatening Ukraine from the north. The dramatic images of this prodemocracy movement resemble those from neighboring Ukraine, yet one difference is critical. The Belarus uprising seeks no sharp break from Russia or turn toward the European Union or NATO. So effective policies to advance Belarusians’ democratic hopes should work for the long term.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

Don Jensen on Protests in Belarus and Russia’s Response

Don Jensen on Protests in Belarus and Russia’s Response

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

By: Donald N. Jensen, Ph.D.

After an “obviously crooked election” in Belarus sparked massive protests, USIP’s Don Jensen says Russia is quietly using the situation to assert influence. If Moscow’s military presence in Belarus increases, “I think you’re going to see a much more forward projection of Russian power against NATO,” he said.

Type: Podcast

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Democracy & Governance

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