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Kristine Berzina is a senior fellow for security and defense policy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF). She is based in GMFs Washington office, where she leads the security and defense portfolio and focuses on US security cooperation with Europe, NATO, US-EU relations, and sub-threshold threats including disinformation and energy. She also co-leads GMF’s Russia Transatlantic Initiative. Berzina appears frequently in international media, including the BBC, CNN, France 24, NPR, Deutsche Welle, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.

Before taking on this role, Berzina worked on countering autocratic influence as head of GMF’s Alliance for Securing Democracy’s geopolitics team. She previously worked on transatlantic security and energy issues in Brussels and Berlin. A native of Latvia, Berzina grew up in the United States and has also spent substantial time in Moscow. She received her Master’s degree in international relations from the University of Cambridge and her Bachelors in political science and history from Yale University. Berzina is a native speaker of English and Latvian, has worked in German, and has a basic knowledge of Russian and French.

Media Mentions

Ukraine is really showing the U.S. why democracy matters. Why open communication matters, why having press and having citizens on the ground, being able to show each other what's going on matters.
Russia has its hand all across the energy sector in Europe. Trying to get away from Russian coal or from Russian gas or from Russian anything means shifting to a different fuel, but Russia's going to have a share in that, too.
Germans thought that, because the Wall came down peacefully, that Ostpolitik was right. Their lived experience was that those relations led to the right outcome, and that meant that making sure that the gas keeps flowing was paramount not only for the German economy but that it was the right strategic decision.
As other forms of income are being reduced through sanctions, to have a steady stream of income through energy gives Russia something to rely on to keep making bullets, to keep making armour, and to do all the other things needed to sustain and potentially accelerate this war effort.
The European Union is about to push hard to get Europe off of Russian fossil fuels. [As long as European nations are still buying oil and gas from Russia, they are] funding the war machine.
The fact there is a lot of military resolve, that there is an understanding of the possibility for territorial conflict, if that had been more explicit, perhaps Russia would have felt it didn’t need to test that.