Elena Cirmizi


Elena Cirmizi is a Title VIII Black Sea Research Fellow at the Middle East Institute and a Ph.D. candidate at the Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University. She holds a Bachelor's in Law from Moldova State University and a Master's in International Legal Studies from Washington College of Law, American University. Elena is a legal and peace scholar with experience working on and leading international research projects in the Black Sea region, Russia, and European Union. Her doctoral studies are centered on the dynamics of ethnic systems and the pivotal role of minorities in Eastern European states.

Lindsey Grutchfield

Allison Hart

Lindsey Grutchfield is a Title VIII Black Sea Research Fellow at the Middle East Institute and a second year MA student at Indiana University's Robert F. Byrnes Russian and East European Institute, where she focuses primarily on Moldova and on issues of migration, identity, and community. She holds a BA in Journalism from American University, and prior to beginning her graduate studies was a Peace Corps volunteer in Moldova and a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Kazakhstan. As a Title VIII Black Sea Research Fellow with the Middle East Institute, she researched community leadership and social resilience factors in Moldova in the context of the war in Ukraine and the international development sector.

Yekaterina Klepanchuk


Yekaterina Klepanchuk is a Title VIII Black Sea Research Fellow at the Middle East Institute. Her research examines the defensive posture of NATO’s eastern flank since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Prior, Yekaterina held positions at the Institute for the Study of War, the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, and the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. Yekaterina received her master’s degrees from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, specializing in nonproliferation and terrorism studies and international relations.

Eoin Power


Eoin Power is a Title VIII Black Sea Research Fellow at the Middle East Institute and a Ph.D. student in the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. His dissertation focuses on the political economy of defense-industrial policy and maritime security institutions in Europe. His other research interests include international financial regulation and field experiments, with a regional focus on Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Before coming to Texas he worked as a strategy consultant, serving public and private-sector clients in aerospace and defense. He holds a B.A. in political science and philosophy from Middlebury College, and an M.A. in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies from the University of Michigan.

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