Dr Ryhor Astapenia

Belarus Initiative Director, Russia and Eurasia Programme

Headshot of Ryhor Astapenia


Dr Ryhor Astapenia is director of the Belarus Initiative in the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House. He focuses on Belarusian domestic politics and foreign policy.

Ryhor is also founder and research director of the Centre for New Ideas, a Minsk-based non-partisan civil society organization promoting democratic reforms in Belarus.

He received his PhD in Political Science at the University of Warsaw.

Ryhor is a frequent panellist on events dedicated to Belarusian politics. His analysis and comments have appeared in various media and think tanks including the Washington Post, the Guardian, the Telegraph, BBC World Service, Al-Jazeera, CNN, MSNBC, Euronews, Monocle Radio, the European Council on Foreign Relations, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Past experience

2012 - present Founder, Centre for New Ideas
2019-20 Academy fellow, Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House
2013-18 PhD in Political Science, Warsaw University
2012-17 Analyst and development director, Ostrogorski Centre