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JBANC and members of the Central and East European Coalition met with former Secretary Madeleine Albright in Washingon, DC


On June 21 the Central and East European Coalition met with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a top foreign policy advisor to the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.

Among the topics discussed at the meeting with Secretary Albright were the role of the United States and NATO in advancing security in Europe, and the future of the transatlantic relationship.

Presentations of certificates of appreciation to the members of Senate Baltic Freedom Caucus and the new members of House Baltic Caucus

JBANC and representatives of our parent organizations are meeting with members of Congress and their staffers to thank them for continuing support of the U.S.-Baltic relations and to discuss the important topics at hand.

Pictured: JBANC staff, Ausma Tomsevics (ALA), Karin Shuey (EANC) with a long-time Senate Baltic Freedom Caucus member Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA).
Launch of JBANC Baltic Freedom Fund
 
For the past 55 years The Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC) has served as the premier advocacy organization representing Estonian-, Latvian-, and Lithuanian-Americans on Capitol Hill. As the Baltic States near their centenary we are reaching out to you, the Baltic American Community, to ask for help in assuring that Baltic voice stay active and strong on Capitol Hill and with the Administration in the future.

Your donation will allow JBANC to:
  • Continue advocating and disseminating information with policy makers on Capitol Hill, with the Administration, and with the wider public,
  • Work with our Central and East European allies to galvanize American (and NATO) support for measures to deter Russia’s re-born imperialism,
  • Advocate on issues such as Russia’s brazen violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and the need for a robust and long-term western military presence in the Baltics,
  • Counter the flood of propaganda, disinformation, and all-out lies that flow from Moscow via social media and various public forums,
  • Attend policy forums and conferences with the goal to find possibilities for future cooperation,
  • Organize a bi-annual conference in Washington, DC on Baltic related issues and feature high-level speakers from Congress, the Administration, Ambassadors, and ground breaking journalists,
  • Offer internships for motivated college students.

Please help us continue our 55 years of success in the future by providing a donation either using PayPal at the link on our website or sending us a check. 
JBANC submitted testimony to the 2016 Democratic Platform, via the Democratic National Convention Committee 
 
Excerpts of the testimony: 

For the Baltic countries, and other neighbors and partners, the aggression of a kleptocratic and paranoid Putin regime is a growing threat. From cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns, disproportionate military exercises and maneuvers along the borders, and air, naval, and hybrid incursions across borders, the forces of Russia leave no doubt that they want to upset stability within Europe and dismantle the security of the NATO umbrella. Without these pillars, Russia would be poised to reap the benefits of any European disunity. This would be a disaster for the United States. 

Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are facing the greatest security threats since the restoration of independence from the Soviet Union 25 years ago. NATO has been the greatest guarantor of peace and stability in Europe. As JBANC represents the Baltic-American communities, we are also extremely worried about these threats to the countries of our heritage. 

Three important areas need to be addressed in the new administration’s foreign policy agenda: 

1. Strengthen deterrence. Reassurance for our NATO allies and partners is key, but deterrence is needed. The Administration in 2016 has quadrupled its request for the European Reassurance Initiative (ERI) to $3.4 billion, and we look forward to the support of the United States to make such funding available for as long as it is needed. 

2. Continuing sanctions. The broader economic sanctions should continue for as long as Russia perpetrates aggression against Ukraine or any other country, and for as long as Russia fails to comply with the measure of the Minsk II agreement. 

3. Expose disinformation by telling the truth. Russia’s propaganda distorts and falsifies both current events and historical ones. The United States must counter Putin via the airwaves and social media to expose Moscow’s lies and present our values by means of competent and fully-funded U.S. international broadcasting. 

Read the full testimony: http://jbanc.org/?page=blog&v=3&id=57

"Ten reasons why we must remain anti-communist" by Paul Goble
 

A quarter of a century ago with the triumph of democratic revolutions first in Eastern Europe and then in the former Soviet Union, many people stopped thinking it was important to continue to be anti-communist. Some, especially those who had long fought for the end of communist rule in these countries, felt they had won and should now go on to other things. And others were seduced by the notions that the world had entered “the end of history,” that ideology was no longer relevant in a time of “the clash of civilizations,” and that talking about communism was passé at best.

We should have learned by now that none of those arguments holds is quite as convincing as they appeared. Many of the revolutions in the former Soviet bloc failed, with old communists remaining in power with only the party name changed. Vast numbers of people still live under communist dictatorships in China, Vietnam, Cuba, and elsewhere. History did not end and the clash of civilizations did not eliminate the importance of ideology, however much some hoped for that outcome.

Read full remarks delivered at the Triumph of Liberty Reception & Dinner on June 9, 2016 in Washington, DChttp://blog.victimsofcommunism.org/ten-reasons-why-we-must-remain-anti-communists/
New colleagues join JBANC for the summer
 
Krista Viksnins is from St. Paul, Minnesota. She is dual citizen of Latvia and the United States and speaks Latvian and Spanish in addition to English. She recently returned from a semester abroad in Seville, Spain. She is now a rising senior at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and majoring in Political Science and Spanish, with a special focus on International Relations. This summer is her second summer interning in Washington D.C. Last summer she interned with the Parliamentarian of the U.S. House of Representatives. In her free time Krista enjoys teaching Zumba fitness classes, traveling to warm destinations, and making tasty new gluten free recipes. 
 
Elizabeth Jackson recently received her Master’s degree in history from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where she wrote her thesis on Polish-American political and cultural organizations in Milwaukee during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Elizabeth also holds a bachelor’s degree from UW-Eau Claire in journalism and history, and most recently worked as a photographer for the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram. Elizabeth first became interested in eastern European and Russian history and politics in high school, and the interest became stronger after taking several European history classes in college. She hopes to go on to earn a PhD in modern eastern European history.

Julia Lazdins is a rising Junior at High Point University with a double major in International Relations and History, with a minor in Economics. Julia is of a Latvian and Swedish heritage with strong cultural ties to both. She speaks Latvian, Swedish, and is currently learning Russian. She is incredibly excited to be working with JBANC for the summer and work with the whole team to further enlighten the United States on the Baltic issues! 

Vince Marcantonio is an International Studies major at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, with a concentration in Security and Foreign Policy. During the summer of 2014 he interned at the Museum of Genocide Victims in Vilnius, Lithuania, and returned to Lithuania during the summer of 2015 to conduct research on ethnic minorities in the Republic of Lithuania. Besides Lithuanian, he also speaks Russian and Arabic.

 
 
“Beyond Crimea: The New Russian Empire” by Agnia Grigas

Political risk expert Agnia Grigas illustrates how - for more than two decades - Moscow has consistently used its compatriots in bordering nations for its foreign policy and territorial ambitions.
 
Demonstrating how this policy has been implemented in Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova, Grigas provides cutting‑edge analysis of the nature of Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy and compatriot protection to show how Kazakhstan, the Baltic states, and others are also at risk.

Agnia Grigas is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council as well as an energy and political risk expert who consults governments and businesses.
 
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