There are four key issues that are important to understand the relationship between the Baltics and Russia: 1) The role of history; 2) the role of economics; 3) the role of disinformation and 4) the role of the United States. The countries of the Baltics have only been independent for a total of approximately 48 years in their history, their economies are still partially intertwined with that of Russia, Russian disinformation efforts continue to this day, and the United States has played an important role in helping the region integrate into the West. Emphasis will be placed on the effects in the Baltics from Russia’s 2014 invasion/occupation of Ukraine.
Jeff Levine was nominated by President Obama as the next U.S. Ambassador to Estonia on Feb. 17, 2012, and confirmed by the Senate on March 29, 2012. He presented his credentials to Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Lives on September 17, 2012. He concluded this tour as Ambassador on September 27, 2015.
At the time of his nomination, he had been the State Department’s director of Recruitment, Examination, and Employment since September 2010. Before this position, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission/Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Budapest, Hungary, from 2007-2010.
Joining the Foreign Service in 1985, he is a member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor. In addition to his assignment in Hungary, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Sofia, Bulgaria, and has also been posted to Brasilia, Brazil; Nicosia, Cyprus; Alexandria, Egypt; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Lima, Peru. At the Department of State, he served in the Operations Center as a desk officer for Hungary and a special assistant to the Under Secretary for Management. He has received numerous Department of State awards and the Golden Laurel Medal, presented by the Government of Bulgaria.
Before joining the Department of State, he worked as a newspaper reporter for seven years and was a founding staff member of USA TODAY, one of the largest newspapers in the United States. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, he holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State University, Humboldt, and a Master’s degree in Resource Strategy from the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. He has studied Spanish, Portuguese, Bulgarian, and Hungarian.