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Transnational Civil Society & Authoritarian Politics in China and Russia

Authoritarian regimes around the globe are increasing restrictions on foreign aid to civil society. Chinese and Russian lawmakers have been at the forefront with new regulations like the 2017 Overseas NGO Law in China and the 2012 “foreign agent” and 2015 “undesirable” organization laws in Russia. These laws – which restrict the operations of foreign foundations, international NGOs, and their grantees – have changed the atmosphere for international philanthropy and transnational civil society in China and Russia. How have international and domestic civil society groups responded? Why and how do Chinese and Russian leaders restrict international funding to civil society or transnational activism? Do officials learn from one another in crafting these policies or by engaging in transnational repression of activists abroad? In tackling these questions, this project provides insights for scholars, policymakers, and practitioners interested in continued engagement with civil society in China and Russia in light of these new developments.

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Elizabeth Plantan

Elizabeth Plantan is an assistant professor of political science at Stetson University. Her research interests encompass the global study of civil society, authoritarian regimes, and environmental affairs, with a focus on the comparative and international politics of China and Russia. Previously, she was a 2018-2020 China Public Policy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School. Her research is published or forthcoming in Comparative Politics, Post-Soviet Affairs, and Russian Politics, among other venues. She has also published op-eds and public-facing scholarship in The New York Times, The Washington Post, ChinaFile, Russian Analytical Digest, and elsewhere. She holds an M.A. & Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University, an M.A. in Russian & East European Studies from Indiana University Bloomington, and a B.A. in Government and Russian & East European Studies from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.