Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

MIPA/JD alumnus Russell writes about political change in Ukraine

MIPA/JD alumnus Russell writes about political change in Ukraine

The National Interest published an article by La Follette School alumnus Christopher Russell (MIPA/JD ’16) about Ukraine’s long struggle against corruption and the Revolution of Dignity movement.

From 2016 to 2017, Russell worked as a special assistant within Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice through the Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship program (previously the Fulbright-Hilary Clinton Public Policy Fellowship). He assisted the Coordination Centre for Legal Aid, a young agency overseeing the country’s developing public defender and civil legal aid system, in its efforts to align with European and international human rights standards.

Russell conducted international comparative policy analyses of operational aspects of public defender systems, drafted speeches on issues such as community empowerment and the role of legislation in access to justice, taught Ukrainian lawyers about criminal justice concepts, presented at several international conferences, and studied at The Hague Academy of International Law.

Upon returning to the United States, Russell was a refugee and migration law fellow for the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative and a Title VIII research fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute in Washington, DC.

In his National Interest article, Russell credited the Revolution of Dignity with “energizing Ukraine’s civil society, galvanizing a generation of spirited reformists, and positioning young and talented leaders in government.” To continue Ukraine’s fight against corruption, Russell said, Ukrainian voters need to embrace political change, including new leadership, when they vote during the presidential elections less than a year away.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in democracy and justice studies from UW–Green Bay, Russell served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine, where he taught English at a secondary school. Russell said he was moved by the hospitality and friendliness of Ukrainians and would like to see things better for them.