Lyudmyla Kozlovska

The Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF) was established on Lyudmyla’s initiative and she has served as its President since June 2010. A human rights defender from Ukraine campaigning for smart sanctions by G7 countries against Russia and its allies. Being the initiator and leader of the Building True Change Coalition (BTC Coalition), Lyudmyla has been advocating regulators to address financial exclusion, political oppression and the delivery of humanitarian aid (promoting the vital role of crypto-assets). Since 2021, she has been leading the campaign to prevent the abuse of anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) laws by malign state actors. Previously, Lyudmyla initiated the reform of INTERPOL to fight its misuse as a tool of political prosecution worldwide.

Lyudmyla is a graduate of Finance at the State Technical University in Sevastopol and at the University of Wales in Bangor. She was a Polish government scholarship holder and Ph.D. student at the Department of History of the European College of Polish and Ukrainian Universities in Lublin.

Civic activist, involved in the activities of the Foundation for Regional Initiatives and the PORA civic youth organisation (Black Pora!). In 2004, she was an active participant in the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. Lyudmyla then led a campaign for the withdrawal of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet from Sevastopol in the years 2005-2006.

Since 2009, she has organised several international electoral and human rights observation missions to Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Kazakhstan.

Lyudmyla has an extensive track record as a rights advocacy leader at the national, European and international level, coordinating i.a. campaigns to:

  • release hundreds of political prisoners in Kazakhstan (since 2009); including the establishment of the #ActivistsNotExtremists human rights monitoring coalition in 2019, uniting over a thousand volunteers around Kazakhstan to document violations, including harassment, torture, political murders and mass shootings;
  • reform INTERPOL, the Schengen Information System (SIS II), anti-money laundering/terrorism financing regulations and other transnational legal assistance frameworks whose mechanisms are repeatedly abused by authoritarian and hybrid regimes (since 2012);
  • promote a personal sanctions regime against human rights violators and kleptocrats modelled on the US “Magnitsky Act” (since 2012);
  • defend protesters during the Maidan revolution in Ukraine (2013-2014);
  • reform the justice sector and conduct a proper lustration (vetting) process for public officials in Ukraine, including gathering an international expert group in support of the legislative work and dialogue of Ukrainian civil society, Parliament and the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission (2014-2016);
  • release Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia-occupied Crimea and Russia itself as part of the #LetMyPeopleGo campaign (in cooperation with the Center for Civil Liberties and other NGOs, 2014-2017);
  • conditionally suspend the macro-financial assistance by the EU, International Monetary Fund and World Bank for the Republic of Moldova in response to omnipresent kleptocracy and rights violations by the Vladimir Plahotniuc regime (2016-2019);
  • expose and counter Kazakhstan’s and other countries’ economic and military assistance to Russia, circumventing international sanctions following Russia’s full-scale military invasion of Ukraine (since 2022);
  • empower civil society and dissidents employing crypto-assets to tackle local and transnational repression (including the issue of de-risking stemming from AML/CFT abuse) as well as effectively deliver financial support for the oppressed and humanitarian aid worldwide, initiating and coordinating the work of the BTC Coalition (since 2022).

Following Russia’s aggression against Ukraine in 2014 (and later in 2022), Lyudmyla has led ODF’s international fundraising efforts (partly based on bitcoin and stablecoins) to support Ukraine’s armed forces and refugees. The military and humanitarian aid provided by ODF for Ukraine, as of March 2024, exceeded €9 million.

In the aftermath of ODF taking a stance in defence of the rule of law in Poland in 2017, following a massive smear campaign and abuse of security services, in 2018 ODF’s President was declared a national security threat and banned from the Schengen area by the country’s increasingly authoritarian government. Since then, 5 consecutive Western European countries disregarded the entry ban as politically motivated, and a series of defamation lawsuits have so far been won by her and ODF against the state propaganda apparatus and top officials of the ruling Law and Justice party, including cabinet members. In December 2022, the Supreme Administrative Court of Poland recognised the ban as arbitrary and groundless, with the collected evidence “not allowing the conclusion that Kozlovska poses a threat to national security”. Following the court order, the Polish entry ban was ultimately deleted in February 2024. 

Lyudmyla’s persecution by the Polish authorities has been widely recognised as a prime example of abuse of power and political retaliation against civil society watchdogs and their leaders.


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