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CAS SEE Seminars with Guests: John Heathershaw

John Heathershaw

British professional services, Eurasian elites, and the transformation of international security in the post-Cold War era

On Thursday, February 17th at 12 pm, we hosted CAS SEE Weekly Seminar with John Heathershaw, presented by our Fellow Tena Prelec.

European and especially British security is undergoing transformation under new global conditions. The presentation will tell a new story of the post-Cold War era: one of private “enablers” tying Britain to “kleptocratic” elites, particularly those of post-Soviet Eurasia, and thereby transforming the security relations between the states they represent. It is based on a research project which provides the first comparative and historical study of the transnational ties between British professional service providers and their Post-Soviet Eurasian clients. These elites – often new, post-Cold War billionaires and political exposed persons – may be denoted as kleptocrats in so far as they fuse political and economic power. They are transnational or global in that this personal power extends beyond Eurasia via their investments and political connections. It is their ties to lawyers, bankers and other professionals who act as enablers of the laundering of their money and reputations that are creating new international political conditions.

John Heathershaw is Professor of International Relations at the University of Exeter. His research addresses conflict, security and development in authoritarian political environments, especially in post-Soviet Central Asia. He is author of Dictators Without Borders (Yale 2017) and principal investigator of an Anti-Corruption Evidence project (2019-2021) on the transnational ties to democracies of elites from authoritarian states. In 2021/22 he is a senior fellow of British Academy studying relations between Eurasian kleptocratic elites and British professional service providers. Heathershaw is a member of the Academic Freedom and Internationalisation Working Group (AFIWG) of the UK which campaigns for transparency and accountability in British universities international relations.

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