Policy Report

Occupied territories: Measuring civic space risk, resilience, and Russian influence

Date Published

Apr 26, 2023


Emily Dumont and Lincoln Zaleski



Dumont, E., and Zaleski, L.,(2023). Occupied Territories Supplement: Measuring civic space risk, resilience, and Russian influence. Williamsburg, VA: AidData at William & Mary.


This report surfaces insights about the health of civic space and vulnerability to malign foreign influence between 2015 and 2021 in occupied or autonomous territories in Europe and Eurasia, where de facto authorities are not aligned with governments in the capital of the country in which the territory is officially recognized. This report collects supplemental profiles for 7 occupied or autonomous territories: Abkhazia, Donetsk People's Republic, Luhansk People's Republic, Nagorno-Karabakh, Republika Srpska, South Ossetia, and Transnistria.

This analysis was part of a broader three-year initiative by AidData—a research lab at William & Mary’s Global Research Institute—to produce quantifiable indicators to monitor civic space resilience in the face of Kremlin influence operations over time and across 17 countries and 7 occupied or autonomous territories in Eastern Europe and Eurasia (E&E). Research included extensive original data collection to track Russian state-backed financing and in-kind assistance to civil society groups and regulators, media coverage targeting foreign publics in the region, and indicators to assess domestic attitudes to civic participation and restrictions of civic space actors. 

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