I've worked as an investigative journalist in both the US and former Soviet Union, and recently graduated with a Master's degree from Columbia University's Harriman Institute, focusing on social, political, security, and demographic developments in the former communist bloc. (My Master's thesis detailed PR and image-management efforts from the regimes in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, and investigated the Western figures helping them along.) I'm currently authoring the Crossroads Asia vertical and writing magazine pieces with The Diplomat, and my other pieces and analyses have appeared in Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, The New Republic, POLITICO Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Quartz, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, Guardian, World Politics Review, Al Jazeera, Slate, The Daily Beast, Roads & Kingdoms, Washington Post, Talking Points Memo, EurasiaNet, Houston Chronicle, Jamestown, Moscow Times, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Business Insider, among a host of other outlets. You may have also seen or heard me on BBC, offering analysis on Ukraine.
The president of the Human Rights Foundation has said that I'm "owed a debt of gratitude by free people everywhere" for examining lobbying links between the former Soviet Union and DC, while The Daily Beast has described me as a "Central Asia expert" and Andrew Sullivan has called my writing "entertaining." (Thanks, guys.) My regional consulting or editing efforts include work with Nuclear Threat Initiative, Freedom House, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, United States Institute of Peace, Center on Global Interests, and Christian Science Monitor’s Monitoring Global Outlook.
I've also worked at International Crisis Group in Kyrgyzstan, Talking Points Memo, and Houston Press, and graduated from Rice University in 2010, where I both taught a course on Batman and served as Editor-in-Chief of the on-campus newspaper. A stint as the northernmost (male) Peace Corps Volunteer in the world - plenty chilled along the Russia-Kazakhstan border - came after college, and Portland, Oregon, is the original home.
As an aside, here's a quote from Ken Silverstein's Turkmeniscam:
“Though starkly put, [the] comparison of lobbyists to defense attorneys is in fact the most common defense offered by lobbyists who work for foreign despots. But there are of course some rather striking distinctions here. Lawyers represent clients who may or may not be guilty, and when the evidence against them is clear, the clients almost always go to prison. Lobbyists for dictators are working for people whose crimes are generally documented beyond dispute, and when they succeed, they enhance their clients’ grip on power and ability to continue oppressing their citizens and pillaging the national treasury. The only people at risk of going to jail are political dissidents opposing the dictator-clients. ”