The Young Professionals Network hosted an event on Tuesday, March 23, on recent legislative developments in Russia, featuring Natalia I. Bourjaily, Vice President – Eurasia at the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) in Washington, D.C. Rachel Van Horn, Assistant Program Officer for Eurasia at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and YPN Class of 2020 alum, moderated the event.

Bourjaily has been at the ICNL since 1997. She has provided technical assistance in drafting laws and provided both educational and legal assistance in all NIS countries. She has assisted with more than 20 laws that have been adopted in the NIS, including NGO laws in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan and tax laws providing benefits to NGOs in Ukraine and Kazakhstan. She has also contributed to many public advocacy campaigns, including those against changes to Kyrgyzstan's NGO law in 2001, against Georgia's anti-terrorism law intended to restrict civic freedoms in 2002, and against changes to Azerbaijan's law on grants in 2002. Bourjaily has been involved in several projects for the World Bank including an analysis of Ukrainian laws relating to the development of the third sector. She has assisted NGOs and government agencies in Azerbaijan and Ukraine in implementing World Bank projects related to legal mechanisms of public financing, such as organizing and distributing funds through a transparent, fair, and competitive process. She also advised the World Bank’s Ukrainian mission on their engagement in tax policy reforms in 2001.

Before joining ICNL, Bourjaily worked in private practice in the United States and Belarus, where she assisted U.S. and Western European companies with their corporate, business, and litigation needs in the former Soviet Union. Bourjaily is a graduate of the Law College of Belarusian State University. She speaks Russian, Belarusian, and English. 

Prior to Rachel Van Horn's time at NED, she lived in Warsaw, Poland, and worked as the English Language Editor for a leading digital media and research firm, Polityka Insight. Van Horn holds a B.A. in political studies and Russian from Bard College and an M.A. in Russian, Eastern European, and Central Asian area studies from Harvard University. From 2012 to 2013, she served as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Astrakhan, Russia. 

The event covered recent legislative changes in Russia and what those changes might mean for Russian practitioners and organizations on the ground, as well as U.S.-based non-profits and government agencies. Event guests discussed related legislative precedents in Russia and how U.S. organizations can ensure future collaboration with Russian partners despite a more restrictive legal environment.