Issues and Bills

Priority Issues

1 Energy Security - Nord Stream 2 and Three Seas Initiative
2 Democracy, Human Rights, the Rule of Law, and Authoritarianism
3 NATO and Security in Central and Eastern Europe
4 Continued Russian Aggression
5 Special Focus - Ukraine, Belarus, and Georgia
6 Policy Briefs
Energy Security - Nord Stream 2 and Three Seas Initiative

Energy Security - Nord Stream 2 and Three Seas Initiative

Energy security, safety and clean technology are vital to the CEE region, especially as the Kremlin has weaponized its energy influence for political gain. We commend sanctions under the Protecting European Energy Security Act (PEESA) that have delayed Nord Stream 2 (NS2) and call for policies supporting enhanced sanctions against all entities and individuals involved to halt its completion. The pipeline is 90% complete and would give Russia greater political leverage over countries dependent on Russian gas. It is in direct contravention of the European Energy Security and Diversification Act of 2019 and the EU’s own policy objective to diversify energy sources. Yet it is supported by Germany and is being built by Gazprom, Russia’s state-sponsored enterprise. We consider the completion of the project to be a greater security threat than risking good relations with Germany; the latter can be repaired through diplomacy, while the former would be an irreversible    conduit for Kremlin exploitation.

We welcome the Three Seas Initiative (3SI) that facilitates integration, increases U.S. influence, and deflects the Kremlin’s influence in the region, and its goal to bring digital communications, transportation, and energy infrastructure up to the standard prevailing in western Europe, thereby strengthening the twelve participating nations’ integration and enabling independence from Kremlin-controlled natural gas. Just as NATO provides military and political security to the countries of East Central Europe, moving 3SI from rhetoric to realization will facilitate economic and social security for the peoples of this region, and protect them from the Kremlin's political influence.

Significant mishaps in recent years demonstrate Russia’s disregard for nuclear safety. The CEEC urges the Administration to support enforcement of sanctions that bar Russian firms from bypassing financing, technology and funds transfer, and asset transaction directives.

Democracy, Human Rights, the Rule of Law, and Authoritarianism

Democracy, Human Rights, the Rule of Law, and Authoritarianism

The CEEC supports democracy and its indispensable elements: the rule of law, human rights, minority rights, freedom of the press, and historical accuracy. We welcome efforts to broaden and deepen the international fight against human rights abuses and corruption, as underscored and codified in Global Magnitsky laws and anti-corruption legislation. We also welcome the January 21, 2021 ruling of the European court of human rights holding Russia responsible for the breach of six articles of the European Convention of Human Rights, as well as for failure to conduct an effective investigation into the alleged breach of the right to life, in the aftermath of the Russo-Georgian War of August 2008.

The CEEC supports efforts to empower fair and unbiased journalism, and to broaden media literacy for consumers. We applaud the recent increase in airtime of RFE/RL's Belarus service, and look forward to its transmissions strengthening, along with support for VOA's Belarus service as well.

Denial of crimes against humanity – including the 1915 Armenian and 1932-33 Ukrainian (Holodomor) Genocides – undermines the pillars of democracy. Turkey’s and Russia’s denials of these genocides – along with the Kremlin's continued disinformation about the legacy of the Hitler-Stalin Pact and subsequent WWII history and aftermath – distort and falsify both current events and history. The Kremlin’s propaganda and disinformation attacks are powerful tools that exploit democratic institutions and values, particularly during elections and the COVID-19 pandemic.

NATO and Security in Central and Eastern Europe

NATO and Security in Central and Eastern Europe

The CEEC considers U.S. leadership in a strong and unified NATO to be the cornerstone of security for our nations of concern. Frontline states like the Baltic nations and Poland – and the rest of NATO by extension – rely on robust U.S. engagement to deter the Kremlin’s aggressive policies that threaten European democracy and transatlantic security. We fully support the U.S. force presence in Germany that gives operational credibility to U.S. and NATO forces operating out of Poland, and the Enhanced Forward Presence battalions in the Baltic nations. We expect the 2021 Global Force Posture Review to find that a strong U.S. presence in the region is vital to deterring the threat of Russian military aggression. We call for NATO’s

 

capabilities to continue to evolve to meet a changing security environment, including cyber, information, and other forms of hybrid warfare.

The CEEC strongly supports continued military cooperation with our NATO and non-NATO partners at current or increased levels. We welcome European Deterrence Initiative authorizations and increases to Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for all nations in the CEE region, and call for maximum funding levels for Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, and the Baltic countries. In keeping with our history of successful advocacy for enlargement of NATO, we continue to urge U.S. support for NATO membership for qualified countries as stated in the 2008 Bucharest Summit communiqué. U.S. military presence in the Black Sea region, especially as the situation there becomes more volatile, is also a high priority. We maintain that Russia remains a threat despite perceptions that it is in decline and caution against policies that ultimately encourage future Kremlin aggression.

Continued Russian Aggression

Continued Russian Aggression

Russia’s hostile and expansionist foreign policy poses an existential threat to world security. Russian military actions against Ukraine, belligerence against the U.S. and its allies, and Russian government disinformation campaigns leading to electoral tampering have been noted by U.S. government officials as the primary geo-strategic challenge facing our foreign policy. The CEEC advocates for a tougher stance that targets the multiple aggressive approaches taken by Russia, particularly against Ukraine and Georgia, whose territories continue to be occupied by regular Russian and irregular troops. We welcome initiatives that enhance Georgia’s and Ukraine’s deterrence, resilience, and self-defense, including through appropriate assistance to improve the capabilities of their armed forces.

We condemn extrajudicial and transnational assassinations and attacks against Kremlin opponents. We call upon the 117th Congress to bolster and further implement the bipartisan Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act of 2017 (CAATSA) expanding sanctions to deter the Kremlin’s corruption, aggression, and malign influence. The CEEC believes further measures are warranted, to include sanctioning additional individuals, banks and institutions and strengthening banking regulations in order to maximize the economic impact of the sanctions. We also urge the Administration and Congress to consider the deselection of Russian banks from the SWIFT network.

Special Focus - Ukraine, Belarus, and Georgia

Special Focus - Ukraine, Belarus, and Georgia

: The 2014 invasion of Ukraine and illegal annexation of Crimea were egregious violations of international law.   Russia's naval attack in November 2018 on the Ukrainian Navy and the continued flagrant fighting on a daily basis in eastern Ukraine are examples of the Kremlin’s outright disregard for the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. The CEEC stands in solidarity with Ukraine - as a frontline state defending European values - in its war to restore its territorial integrity, institute reforms, and enhance democratic institutions. We favor enhanced appropriations for defensive military support, welcoming the nation into Euro-Atlantic structures, and providing additional funds for security assistance to Ukraine in the FY2022 NDAA.

Belarus: We remain greatly concerned about the crackdown in Belarus against unarmed and peaceful protesters ongoing throughout the country since the August 9, 2020 fraudulent elections. Lukashenka cannot be recognized as the leader of Belarus. The CEEC condemns this violence; incarceration of those who exercise their right of freedom of expression; interference with access to the internet and free media; and measures against independent journalists by the illegitimate regime of Alexander Lukashenka. We jointly call on the Belarusian authorities to immediately cease their campaign of violence and harassment against journalists, human rights defenders, and civil society actors. We urge the U.S. Government to coordinate with European governments to require that a new presidential election take place, with all necessary steps taken to ensure transparency and fairness. In addition, the CEEC strongly reaffirms its position that the U.S. Government cannot condone any effort by Russia to subvert Belarus's sovereignty, whether through military, economic, or other means.

Georgia: Since 2008, the Kremlin has tested its many tools of hybrid warfare in Russian-occupied Georgian territories of South Ossetia/Tskhinvali and Abkhazia, including illegal borderization, arbitrary detention of Georgian citizens, and massive disinformation campaigns. The coronavirus pandemic has only intensified this problem. We strongly condemn these actions and urge the U.S. and its allies to take appropriate measures against the mass human rights violations in occupied    territories. We express concerns with the ongoing political crisis in the aftermath of the contested Parliamentary elections that poses a security threat in the South Caucasus region. We call on the U.S. to work with European allies and spearhead an international monitoring group to avoid escalation.

Policy Briefs

Policy Briefs

Priority Bills

Senate BillHouse BillSummaryMore information
S.14NACombating Global Corruption Act to Make Anti-Corruption a National Security PriorityPress release
S.93NAGlobal Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Reauthorization ActPress release
S.158H.R.402Counter Corruption and Promote Good GovernancePress release
S.208NAWould impose sanctions on current or former officials of Russia's government that were involved in the poisoning of Alexei Navalny.
S.Res.26NAResolution expressing that the activities of Russian national Yevheniy Prigozhin and his affiliated entites pose a threat to national interests and US partners.
NAH.R.496Would enact the Ukraine Religious Freedom Support Act, which would allow the US to take actions, like withdrawing development assistance, against a country for concerns regarding religious freedom.
NAH.R.922Would enact the Crimea Annexation Non-Recognition Act. Would prohibit any federal agency from recognizing or implying any recognition of Russia's sovereignty over Crimea.
NAH.R.923Would enact the Georgia Support Act. Would impose sanctions for people complicit in serious human rights abuses in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia that are occupied by Russia.