Engaging Belarus: A Fresh Perspective

The Jamestown Foundation cordially invites you to attend a roundtable luncheon discussion on political, security and economic issues affecting Belarus. Following several years of frozen relations between Minsk and the West, the prospect for a new stage in Belarus’s relations with Europe and the United States finally appears to be emerging on the horizon. A crossroads that straddles the European Union, the Baltic region and Russia, Belarus has long been neglected or misunderstood by Western policymakers. Yet the European Union is moving gradually toward engagement with Belarus, reflecting its pivotal place in the EU’s direct neighborhood and growing EU-Belarus economic ties. The government of Belarus quietly works with the U.S. and NATO in the framework of the Northern Distribution Network (NDN), providing transit via Belarus. The country is also a linchpin in transportation corridors for commodities, such as potash, oil and gas, and is a commercial partner for American trade and investment. Please join us as we examine whether there needs to be a fresh approach to engaging Belarus and how its relations with the West are evolving.

A light lunch will be served.


Monday, October 28, 2013

12:00 P.M.–2:00 P.M.


The Jamestown Foundation

7th Floor Conference Room

1111 16th St., N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20036


“Bringing Belarus in from the Cold”
Vladimir Socor
Senior Fellow, The Jamestown Foundation

“The European Neighborhood Perspective”
Amb. Andris Razans
Latvian Ambassador to the United States

“Straddling East and West: Belarus’s Search for Identity”
Grigory Ioffe
Professor of Human Geography, Radford University

“U.S. Policy and Human Rights Concerns”
Steven Woehrel
Specialist in European Affairs, Congressional Research Service

“American Business Interests in Belarus: The IT Sector”
Shaun Khubchandani
Investment Analyst, Siguler Guff & Company, LLC

“Business Opportunities in and with Belarus: Time to Move Forward”
David Baron
Partner, Greenberg Traurig, LLP, and
Chairman, U.S.-Belarus Business Council

Moderator: Janusz Bugajski
Foreign policy analyst, author, lecturer, columnist, consultant, and television host based in the United States


David Baron

David Baron is a member of the firm Greenberg Traurig’s Global Trade & Investment Practice Group, where he focuses his practice on international dispute resolution and public international law issues. He frequently represents foreign sovereigns and state-owned entities in international litigation and arbitration proceedings. Mr. Baron also provides trade policy, transaction, and regulatory advice to clients on all aspects of U.S. multilateral trade policies and developments.

Mr. Baron regularly counsels both foreign and U.S. business clients regarding investment matters and all aspects of international trade regulations, including economic sanctions policies. He has represented clients and client concerns before the International Court of Justice, the WTO, ICSID Tribunals, international arbitral tribunals, U.S. Federal and State Courts, and various U.S. Federal Agencies including the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), and the International Trade Commission (ITC).

Mr. Baron is the Chairman of the Belarus-U.S. Business Council and an adjunct professor at American University’s Washington College of Law where he teaches advanced seminars in international law and international dispute resolution.

Janusz Bugajski

Janusz Bugajski is a foreign policy analyst, author, lecturer, columnist, consultant, and television host based in the United States. His current positions include Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Chair of South-Central Europe Area Studies at the Foreign Service Institute, U.S. Department of State, as an independent contractor, and host of the television show “Bugajski Hour,” broadcast on Albanian Screen from Tirana, Albania. Bugajski is the author of 18 books on Europe, Russia, and trans-Atlantic relations, is a regular contributor to various U.S. and European newspapers, publishes in international journals, and is a columnist for media outlets in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Kosova and Ukraine. His newest book is entitled Return of the Balkans: Challenges to European Integration and U.S. Disengagement, Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 2013.

Grigory Ioffe

Grigory Ioffe was born and raised in Moscow, Russia, and graduated from Moscow State University where he majored in Human Geography. He emigrated to the United States in 1989. Since 1990, he has been affiliated with Radford University in Radford, Virginia, where he is a professor of geography. Dr. Ioffe has been active in Belarusian studies since 2002. He has authored and co-authored multiple peer-refereed articles on Belarus, including “Geostrategic Interest and Democracy Promotion: Evidence from the Post-Soviet Space” in the Europe-Asia Studies journal (2013); “Belarusian Identity, Baltic Rim Economies,” published in the Quarterly Review, Special Issue on the Future of Belarus (June 2012); “Debating Belarus: An Economy in Comparative Perspective” in the Eurasian Geography and Economics journal (2011) (co-authored with Viachaslau Yarashevich); as well as “Belarus and the West: From Estrangement to Honeymoon” in the Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics (June 2011). His book, Understanding Belarus and How Western Foreign Policy Misses the Mark, was published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2008. Dr. Ioffe also regularly writes about Belarus for the Eurasia Daily Monitor.

Shaun Khubchandani

Shaun Khubchandani is junior Investment Professional at Siguler Guff, supporting several of the Firm’s investment teams. During his time at the firm, Mr. Khubchandani has deployed capital to companies across various industry verticals, which include information technology (IT) services, media and telecommunications, consumer retail, food and beverage, natural resources, and energy, among others.

Prior to joining Siguler Guff, Mr. Khubchandani was an Investment Banking Analyst at Citigroup Inc. He was a member of Citi’s Global Technology Group where he focused on various sectors including IT services, large cap technology, communication equipment and software. Mr. Khubchandani’s primary responsibilities included providing strategic advisory activities, mergers and acquisitions, and capital market execution for businesses in the developed and emerging markets’ IT services industry. Most notably, Mr. Khubchandani co-led Citi’s deal team during the initial public offering of EPAM Systems, Inc. Mr. Khubchandani holds a B.A. in Economics with a concentration in Finance from the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance at Claremont McKenna College.

Amb. Andris Razans

Ambassador Andris Razans has served as Latvia’s ambassador to the United States since July 2012. Prior to his appointment to this post, he served as Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia (2010–2012). Between December 2004 and July 2009, he was Latvian ambassador to Denmark. He holds an M.A. degree in History from Latvian State University, and is fluent in Russian, English and Swedish.

Vladimir Socor

Vladimir Socor is a Senior Fellow of the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation and its flagship publication, Eurasia Daily Monitor (1995 to present), where he writes analytical articles on a daily basis. An internationally recognized expert on former Soviet-ruled countries in Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus, and Central Asia, he covers Russian and Western policies there, focusing on energy policies, regional security issues, secessionist conflicts, and NATO policies and programs.

Mr. Socor is a frequent speaker at U.S. and European policy conferences and think-tank institutions. He is a regular guest lecturer at the NATO Defense College and at Harvard University’s National Security Program’s Black Sea Program (Kennedy School of Government). He is also a frequent contributor to edited volumes. Mr. Socor was previously an analyst with the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Research Institute (1983–1994). He is a Romanian-born citizen of the United States based in Munich, Germany.

Steven Woehrel

Steven Woehrel is a Specialist in European Affairs at the Congressional Research Service. Since joining CRS in 1989, Mr. Woehrel has written many reports and memoranda for Members of Congress and their staff on Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, the Baltic states, the Balkans and other European countries.