What Do Deteriorating Security Conditions Mean for Afghanistan’s Elections?

On April 22, the terror group ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack on a voter registration site in Kabul, Afghanistan, that killed nearly 60 people. The tragedy followed four other election-related attacks, including the abduction of three election workers in the central province of Ghor, over the last week.

This recent violence underscores the security challenges facing Afghanistan as it prepares to hold parliamentary elections in October.

Behind the Scenes of Russian Opposition Campaigns

How do you run an election campaign when you know that your candidate will not win? What lessons do the latest campaigns offer for the future? The managers of Alexei Navalny’s and Ksenia Sobchak’s 2018 Russian presidential campaigns will discuss their experience and the future of opposition campaigning in Russia.

Ukraine’s Language Agenda: When Aspiration Meets Practice

The use of a single language in Ukraine’s public sphere has long been regarded as a panacea for most of the country’s ills and a means of forging national cohesion. From the perspective of strengthening national identity, Ukrainian-Russian bilingualism looks like an impediment to internal integration. Yet almost 40 percent of survey respondents report using Russian as their main language for everyday communication, mostly out of convenience.

Media Ownership in An Era of Distrust: A Conversation with the Director of Voice of America

Publics around the world overwhelmingly agree that the news media should be unbiased in its coverage of political issues – but many also say that their country’s media outlets fall far short of that standard. Concerted disinformation campaigns and claims of “fake news” have also come to the fore, eroding the public’s trust.

At the same time, in many countries around the world, the primary source of news comes from state-owned outlets, leading many to question whether it is actually possible to find news that is not in service of a governmental agenda.

Food, Technology, and Authoritarianism in Venezuela’s Elections

In spite of an all-encompassing economic and humanitarian crisis, Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro is likely to emerge victorious in the upcoming May 2018 presidential elections, consolidating a fully authoritarian regime.

How to Run an Independent Media Outlet in Russia

Despite the truism that Russia’s independent media is dead, a number of important outlets continue to provide independent news and analysis in Russia. Top owners/managers of three such outlets – Vedomosti, (formerly Slon), and MediaZona – will share their secrets and discuss current developments in the Russian press.

The Future of Iraq: A Conversation with the Former Governor of Kirkuk

The Kurdistan Regional Government’s referendum on independence from Iraq did not go as planned. The disputed territory of Kirkuk was at the center of the conflict and was reclaimed by the central government last October.

Why did the Kurdish referendum fail? What role did Turkey and Iran play in these developments? How has the KRG’s autonomous status been impacted and how will this affect the future of Iraq? 

The Wilson Center hosted former Governor of Kirkuk Dr. Najmaldin Karim to discuss these and other issues, including parliamentary elections scheduled for May.


Event Summary: Governor Geraldo Alckmin of São Paulo on Brazil’s Economic and Political Outlook in an Unpredictable Election Year

On Wednesday, March 7, 2018, Governor Geraldo Alckmin of the State of São Paulo spoke at the Wilson Center shortly before officially announcing his campagin for the presidency of Brazil. Alckmin argued that his success as governor of São Paulo spoke to his capacity to serve as president. He noted that crime and violence levels in the state fell under his watch, and contended that his state had weathered the economic recession better than most.

*** CANCELLED*** Vladimir Putin’s Four Elections: The Story the Data Tell

Due to an unforeseen situation, this event has been cancelled.


Detailed voting data analysis can illuminate the trends in a presidential election: from falsifications, to manipulations, to the true popularity of the candidate. Using extensive data collected over the past 18 years, independent Russian analyst Sergei Shpilkin will present the real picture behind the headlines of President Putin’s four elections.