Policy Report

In the Kremlin’s Shadow: Civic Space and Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia

Date Published

May 22, 2023


Samantha Custer, Divya Mathew, Bryan Burgess, Emily Dumont, Lincoln Zaleski, Kelsey Marshall, and Vera Choo



Custer, S.,  Mathew, D., Burgess, B., Dumont, E., and Zaleski, L.,(2023). In the Kremlin's Shadow: Civic Space and Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia. Williamsburg, VA: AidData at William & Mary.


This regional synthesis report monitors trends in the health of civic space across Europe and Eurasia (E&E) over time (2015 to 2021) in the lead up to Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. It examines restrictions of civic space actors and citizen attitudes toward civic participation in order to assess the domestic environment for citizens to assemble peacefully, express their views, and take collective action without fear of retribution or constraint. It also monitors Russian state-backed financing and in-kind support, along with state-run media coverage related to civic space, to assess two channels by which the Kremlin exerts malign foreign influence to promote pro-Russian sentiment and discredit voices wary of its regional ambitions. In conjunction with this historical data, we draw upon the results of a 2022 AidData survey to capture contemporary insights on perceptions of civil society organizations across the E&E region and identify the best avenues to further strengthen the capacity of these domestic actors without undercutting their credibility. This report aims to complement, not duplicate, the extensive context-specific information provided in a series of accompanying 17 country and 7 occupied or autonomous territory profiles.

Related Publications

Featured Authors

No items found.

Related Datasets

No items found.