Yves here. You cannot make this stuff up. One of the sorriest chapters in recent American history was how we allowed an unprecedented opportunity to assist Russia in managing the end of its Communist era to turn into a looting exercise by well-placed insiders, including advisors under contract to Harvard.
If you are unfamiliar with this fiasco, which was also the true proximate cause of Larry Summers’ ouster from Harvard, you must read an extraordinary expose, How Harvard Lost Russia, from Institutional Investor. I am told copies of this article were stuffed in every Harvard faculty member’s inbox the day Summers got a vote of no confidence and resigned shortly thereafter.
Jonathan Hay ran the day-to-day operations of the Russia Project. He was found guilty of violating three counts of the False Claims Act and was debarred from serving in USAID. But he’s managed to resurface in Ukraine, working in the local operations of a Polish think tank. Nicely played.
By John Helmer, the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to direct his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. Helmer has also been a professor of political science, and an advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. He is the first and only member of a US presidential administration (Jimmy Carter) to establish himself in Russia. Originally published at Dances with Bears
There are about 450 think-tanks in Europe and the US currently focusing on international relations, war, peace, and economic security. Of these, about one hundred regularly analyse Russian affairs. And of these, less than ten aren’t committed antagonists of Russia. That’s barely two percent of the intellectual materiel which can be counted as non-partisan or neutral in the infowar now underway between the NATO alliance and Russia. In this balance of forces, think-tanks behave like tanks – that’s the weapon, not the cistern.
The Centre for Social and Economic Research (CASE) has been based in Warsaw since 1991. It claims on its website to be “an independent non-profit economic and public policy research institution founded on the idea that evidence-based policy making is vital to the economic welfare of societies.” In its 2013 annual report, declares: “we seek to maintain a strict sense of non-partisanship in all of our research, advisory and educational activities.” Three-quarters of CASE’s annual revenues come from the European Commission; another 9% from American and other international organizations. According to CASE, that’s “an indication of progressive diversification of CASE revenue sources.”
CASE Ukraine is a branch of this Polish think-tank, and at the same time a descendant, it claims, of a Harvard University-funded group which was active between 1996 and 1999. Registered since 1999 as CASE Ukraine, this calls itself “an independent Ukrainian NGO specializing in economic research, macroeconomic policy analysis and forecasting.” According to parent CASE in Warsaw, one of the group’s goals is “promoting cooperation and integration with the neighboring partners of Europe”. This means, not only CASE Ukraine, but CASE Kyrgyzstan, CASE Moldova, CASE Georgia, and in Russia, the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy.
Independent is what CASE swears; independent isn’t what CASE represents. Investigate the names, the associations, the sources of money, the secret service engagements, and what you have is a family, a front, a cover, a closed shop, a mafia. Founders of CASE Ukraine like the American Jonathan Hay and operators of CASE Poland like the Balcerowiz family reveal a well-known anti-Russian alliance. So what are a director of the Gazprom board, Vladimir Mau; a professor of the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Marek Dabrowski; and Simeon Djankov, Rector of the New Economic School in Moscow, and a protégé of First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, doing on the CASE side?
The latest US survey of the think-tanks in the world counted 6,826 in all as of August 2013. One-quarter (1,828) of those is located in the US; 426 in China; 287 in the UK; 194 in Germany; and 122 in Russia. In a perverse ranking, the only Russian think-tank, so called, to make it to the top 20 of the non-American batch, according to a panel of experts employed by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) of the University of Pennsylvania, isn’t Russian at all. It’s the US-funded and directed Carnegie Moscow Centre (ranking 18th).
At the 46th rank is the first genuine Russian think-tank – the Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) in Moscow. When US think-tanks are counted, along with the non-American ones, Carnegie Moscow slips to 28th; IMEMO rises to 32nd.
CASE ranks at the modest 58th peg of the non-American batch; 68th when the Americans are included. It does much better when ranked geographically against think-tanks in Europe. There, according to TTCSP, it’s in first place, out-classing Carnegie Moscow, which is at no. 2, and IMEMO at no. 4. Comparing think-tanks with an economic policy specialization, but counting worldwide, CASE slips again – to 16th.
CASE Ukraine starts with the name of Jonathan Hay, whom CASE lists as a member of its founding Supervisory Board. According to a 100-page judgement issued in 2006 by US District Court Judge Douglas Woodlock in Boston, Hay is a convicted fraudster, inside-trader, self-dealer, and corrupt manipulator of US Government funds for the benefit of himself, his lover, and his friends. The judgement ordered Hay to pay a multimillion dollar penalty and restitution. His Harvard University co-conspirators, Andrei Shleifer and his wife, Nancy Zimmerman, were also convicted and fined. Harvard University, Hay’s and Shleifer’s contractor, was ordered to pay $26.5 million; Hay up to $2 million. Here is the US Government’s release, after Hay’s conviction. This also claims that Hay was “debarred” from taking pay from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in future. The full story of Hay’s profiteering from the Russian asset sale schemes of Yegor Gaidar (below right), the short-lived proponent of shock therapy in Boris Yeltsin’s first term, and his privatization director, Anatoly Chubais (left), can be read here and here.
Before his plea bargain in the Boston court, Hay reacted by threatening Moscow reporters investigating his activities. Unbeknownst to those who researched Hay’s misconduct in Russia at the time is that Hay moved on to a similar line of business in Ukrainian privatization. CASE was one of the instruments – and USAID was paying again. At present, CASE doesn’t list Hay on its current Supervisory Board. Dmitro Boyarchuk, the executive director of CASE in Kiev, explained today that there are two empty seats on the board, and that Hay has gone. Added Boyarchuk, this was two years ago. For seven years following his conviction in the US, Hay helped run CASE Ukraine.
CASE annual reports also reveal that in 2005 Hay was working at CASE Ukraine on sponsorship of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) for teaching the “high-level” and “key” Ukrainian policymakers “problems of Ukraine’s economic and institutional reforms after the Orange Revolution and in the context of Ukraine’s strategic plans for Euro-Atlantic integration.” Helping hands with Hay that year were Gaidar and Anders Aslund, the current chairman of CASE’s Advisory Council.
On April 25, 2013, President Putin publicly identified Hay as a CIA agent. Referring to Hay’s work on Russian asset privatization for Chubais, and the subsequent US prosecution, Putin said: “we learned today that officers of the United States’ CIA operated as consultants to Anatoly Chubais. But it is even funnier that upon returning to the US, they were prosecuted for violating their country’s laws and illegally enriching themselves in the course of privatisation in the Russian Federation. They did not have the right to do this as active CIA officers. In accordance with US law, they were not allowed to engage in any kind of commercial activity, but they couldn’t resist – it’s corruption, you see.” Note Putin’s reference to when he was briefed – April 25, 2013. According to Boyarchuk of CASE Ukraine, Hay was then supervising that organization.
Funding for CASE Ukraine appears to come from governments and government banks. They include Hay’s alma mater, USAID, plus the Canadian and UK aid agencies; the European Commission and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; the World Bank; several Ukrainian government organs; and Freedom House, a ferociously anti-Russian think-tank based in Washington, D.C.
Marek Dabrowski is listed as the current head of the CASE Ukraine board, and one of the founders of both CASE Poland and CASE Ukraine. A Polish national, he is currently employed by CASE in Kiev; he is also a professor at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. He currently lists himself as a member of the scientific council of the Gaidar Institute. The Gaidar think-tank in Moscow rates only one mention in the TTCSP report, trailing far behind CASE in the economic policy line-up. The CASE annual reports identify Dabrowski as one of Hay’s co-workers advising President Victor Yushchenko’s administration.
The Gaidar think-tank website no longer lists Dabrowski on its scientific council. A spokesman for the think-tank claims there is no association between the two think-tanks; CASE annual reports say otherwise. The current CASE website describes Gaidar as a “partner”, but identifies the think-tank by a different name, “Institute for the Economy in Transition”.
Dabrowski was asked if he regards CASE Ukraine as hostile to Russian policy and in favour of regime change in Russia. He was also asked if he views his role at CASE Ukraine as compatible with his presence in Moscow teaching economics and advocating policy change? He replied: “The short answer to your first question is NO, and to your second question – YES (i.e. there is no conflict), with the remark that I am not involved in policy advocacy or policy advising in Russia (since 1994). Nor I am longer personally involved in policy advising in Ukraine (since 2006). In CASE Ukraine I chair the Supervisory Board on behalf of the founder (CASE) and, according to the by-law of CASE Ukraine, I provide (together with other members of this body) the Executive Director with the overall guidance in respect to research projects, their academic quality, fundraising, finances, etc. The entire CASE network, including CASE Ukraine, deals with economic research agenda and is not involved in politics of any country… Furthermore, CASE and CASE Ukraine do not present institutional opinions on any topic; what they publish represents personal views of individual authors. In this context your words about supposed hostility of CASE Ukraine to Russia sound just inappropriate.”
Polish sources describe CASE Poland as having been initially financed with US and European Commission money with the intention of “guiding the Ministry of Finance in Warsaw.” The Polish finance minister at the time was Leszek Balcerowicz; Dabrowski was one of Balcerowicz’s deputy ministers. Since 2011 Balcerowicz has been an honorary professor at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Dabrowski’s current employer.
Balcerowicz’s wife Ewa (below right) remains on the board of CASE Poland, while Leszek advises President Petro Poroshenko. There (below left) the two of them were, face to face in Kiev last week, according to the presidential press release, “to join the reform process in Ukraine.”
Sitting on Balcerowicz’s left taking notes, Polish sources identify Pawel Kowal, a member of the European Parliament for Poland, and an advocate for anti-Russian causes. Polish media reports and sources in Warsaw claim Kowal speaks for the Polish intelligence services. What he isn’t, the sources add, is an economist or an expert on public finance.
One of the ideas which CASE Ukraine and its partner, Vox Ukraine, have been lobbying in Kiev is direct-line financing from the US and European governments for the civil war in the east. “[The Ukrainian] Ministry of Finance should consider,” says Vox Ukraine, “taking the increased defence-related spending out of the annual budgets and running it as a separate multiyear capacity-building program that would allow for direct financing from individuals, companies, and foreign governments to enable military technical assistance and technology transfer.”
Vox Ukraine was financed by Kakha Bendukidze, the Russian business figure who entered Georgian politics in 2004. After the start of the civil war in Ukraine, he joined Poroshenko’s economic advisors, but died unexpectedly in November last year.
The counterpart US think-tank scheme for running $2 billion in fresh US arms to Ukraine was released this week by three US think-tanks – Brookings, Atlantic Council, and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. The authors of this new plan for direct Pentagon funding of the civil war include two ex-US ambassadors to Ukraine; two former US officers from the NATO command staff; and Michele Flournoy, a current advisor to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (below, with Clinton and former Secretary of State, Madeline Albright.) Together, they report that one of their Ukrainian advisors is “Major General Oleksandr Sirskiy, Commander, “Anti-Terror Operation,” Armed Forces of Ukraine.”
CASE and Vox call each other partners. Another of their common ideas is the replacement of local Ukrainian officials with Anglo-Ukrainians, Ukrainian-Americans and others: “The government should bring in the government, agencies, military, etc., as many Western-leaning, Western-lived, Western-trained professionals as humanely possible, and fire, without hesitation, most or all of the old guard.” This is not only an endorsement of American appointees like the new finance minister, Natalie Jaresko, and foreign investment advisor Jaanika Merilo. It is also an advertisement for the Ukrainian academics who have signed up to the advisory councils, contributor lists, and supervisory boards of think-tanks like CASE. Here they are – Kiev minister hopefuls and candidate apparatchiki, on the Vox website.
The Poles aim not to be left out of the spoils. Balcerowicz operates his own think-tank, which he calls Forum Obywatelskiego Rozwoju (FOR, Forum for Civic Development). It gathers money from foundations, corporations and banks; it’s still too small to qualify for a place on the international think-tank rankings.
Other names to appear on the CASE employment roll or on CASE Ukraine boards include Wojciech Paczynski and Luca Barbone. Paczynski was for four years chief economist at the Polish Centre for Eastern Studies (Ośrodek Studiów Wschodnich, OSW); this, a Warsaw informant charges, “is widely considered as an arm of Polish intelligence studying Russia, as well as Ukraine.” The global think-tank report rates OSW the 15th “best government affiliated think-tank” – without explaining which part of the Polish government it’s tied to. After serving at OSW, there is a missing year in Pacyzynski’s curriculum vitae before he appears for work in Germany, then at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Luca Barbone is another of CASE Ukraine’s current board. An Italian native, he was educated in the US and then worked for the World Bank between 2000 and 2011. For four of those years he was the regional director for Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, based in Kiev. Since his exit from the World Bank, he was employed by CASE Poland. His second wife, a Pole, was an economist working on her homeland at the World Bank. They now call Washington home. If Vox Ukraine manages a summons to Kiev, with a line of US budget money to employ him at the level to which he is accustomed, Barbone is ready to travel.
Through CASE and FOR, Balerowicz has been supporting the work of Simeon Djankov, who received the Russian Government appointment of Rector of the New Economic School in October 2013. A Bulgarian as well as US citizen, Djankov won 3rd place in Bulgaria’s annual “Most Successful Politician” in 2009; 4th place in 2010. He was also deputy prime minister and finance minister of that country until 2013.
Here is Djankov, with Mrs Balcerowicz, at one of six seminars CASE ran in Warsaw in 2013. Djankov was the speaker; his topic, according to CASE’s annual report, “Austerity revisted.”
A Russian press interview of Djankov, published last October, reports him as acknowledging personal endorsements from two Russian officials, First Deputy Prime Minister Shuvalov, and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Sidestepping questions about the conflict in Ukraine and the accession of Crimea, Djankov acknowledged the reluctance of his wife to move from Washington to Moscow. “That created, of course, a lot of problems. It was more difficult for [me] to decide as an American — my wife, my children were born in America, they have American passports. We first thought that they too will live here, but in the end [we] decided that for another, maybe this year they will stay in America, and I’ll be here.”
Djankov didn’t mention to his Moscow interviewer that his Russian job is part-time; and that he is keeping two of his paid US jobs – one at Harvard University, and one at the Peterson International Institute of Economics in Washington. Peterson calls Djankov one of its “senior research staff”. Last November, Djankov released one of his new books, a work entitled “The Great Rebirth: Lessons from the Victory of Capitalism over Communism”. Published and paid for by Peterson, and co-edited by another member of the same think-tank, Anders Aslund, Djankov wrote the summary chapters, as well as an essay on Bulgaria. Aslund wrote on Russia, while Balcerowicz authored the Poland chapter. On Georgia, the writers were Bendukidze and ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili.
Peterson is one of two Washington think-tanks financed each year by Ukrainian oligarch, Victor Pinchuk (right), whose anti-Russian operations can be followed here. In exchange for an annual cash deposit, Pinchuk occupies a seat on the think-tank’s board of directors.
The Pinchuk stipend also pays for Aslund, a public advocate of regime change in Russia. In addition to Djankov (below, left), Peterson also employs Djankov’s wife, Caroline Freund (below right).
In Moscow Djankov was asked three questions: Does he consider that CASE is independent on policy issues involving Russia, especially the Ukraine conflict? Has he ever, or has he recently advised CASE Poland and CASE Ukraine not to pursue an anti-Russian, regime-change policy? Does he think his Russian roles conflict with his association with such a think-tank as CASE?
Djankov replied by email: “I have not had any exposure to CASE and cannot comment on their attitudes. In general, this think-tank is highly reputed in Eastern Europe.”
In the latest CASE annual report, the only Russian listed as serving on the think-tank’s advisory council, under Aslund as chairman, is Vladimir Mau (right). The appointment can be confirmed at page
28 of the report. Mau isn’t exactly identified as Russian. His title, according to CASE, is “Rector of the Academy of Public Economy”. Without a location.
In fact, since 2002 Mau has been the state-appointed Rector of the Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; a member of the Economic Council Presidium appointed by Putin in October 2013; and in 2012 recipient of the Order for Services to the Fatherland IV degree. In 2011 he became a member of the Gazprom board of directors.
Mau was asked to clarify his relationship with CASE and to say if he believes there is a conflict of policy or interest in his association. Through a spokesman, Mau responded: “Vladimir Alexandrovich is not sure, but he strongly doubts that he is a member of this organization. Is it possible to send us any confirmation links of this fact.” Following the confirmation of the CASE appointment, there has been no reply.