The 8th Conference on Russia titled ‘A Restless Embrace of the Past?’ took place on 3-4 March 2022 in Tartu, Estonia.
At this time, the conference organisers are planning to hold a hybrid event. The majority of our speakers and a significant number of the participants will join our debates in Tartu. There will, however, be some experts and a substantial portion of our audience that will join us online, to participate in, or follow our debates remotely.
Organised by the Baltic Defence College for more than half a decade, the annual Conference has attracted delegates from the Baltic and allied military community, international institutions, governments, academia, and the private sector to discuss the most pressing issues shaping Russia, its near abroad, and global challenges since 2015.
Since the establishment of the Baltic Defence College over twenty years ago and more particularly from the inception of our conference and publications, we have become a hub of knowledge and honed a reputation for unveiling diverse trends related to Russia’s contemporary domestic agenda and external influence.
Konstantin Eggert is a Baltic States correspondent and weekly columnist on Russian affairs for DW (Deutsche Welle) which is Germany’s international broadcaster.
Also, from 1998-2009 he worked for the BBC Russian Service including seven years as their Moscow Bureau Cheif.
Eggert is also a former member of Chatham House - Royal Institute of International Affairs (London). He was the program host and political commentator for TV Rain, Russia’s groundbreaking independent TV channel from 2016 to 2018 as well as the Vice-President for Public and Government Affairs for ExxonMobil Russia Inc. in charge of relations with the Russian Government, communications, political and economic analysis, and charity projects from 2009 to 2010.
Eggert was created Honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire by Ell and am Commander Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of Lithuania.
He speaks English, French, and Arabic.
Chairman of Munich Security Conference
Wolfgang Ischinger is currently the chairman of the Munich Security Conference. He was the Deputy Foreign Minister of Germany and ambassador to the United States and United Kingdom, as well as Global Head of Government Relations of Allianz SE. During his extensive career, received awards and honors such as the Manfred Wörner Medal in 2015, given by the then German Defence Minister Ursula Von der Leyen.
Assistant Secretary General for Public Democracy, NATO
Baiba Braže is currently NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Public Democracy. She joined Latvia’s Foreign Ministry in 1993 and since then occupied several positions: ambassador to the United Kingdom, Netherlands, and the Permanent Representation at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Foreign Policy and National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of Latvia, as well as General Security Policy and International Organizations and Director General of the Communications Directorate at the Latvian Foreign Ministry. She holds a BA in law and a master’s degree in Communication Science - both from the University of Latvia.
Visiting Professor of Democracy in the Digital Age, the University of Tartu
Toomas H. Ilves is currently a visiting Professor at the University of Tartu. He was the President of Estonia from 2006 to 2016 and is the former Minister of Foreign Affairs as well as ambassador to the United States and Canada. Moreover, Mr. Ilves was the chairman of the North Atlantic Institute and was a member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2006. He holds a BA from the Columbia University of New York and a master’s in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.
Senior Fellow of the Center for Security Policy (Washington, D.C.), and a former economic policy advisor to the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin from Apr 2000-Dec 2005
Andrei Illarionov is a Senior Fellow of the Center for Security Policy. He is the former chief economic advisor to both Russian Prime-Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin (1993-1994) and President Vladimir Putin (2000-2005). Furthermore, he was the founder and director of the Institute of Economic Analysis, as well as a senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity from 2006 to 2021. His main interests concern Russian economic and social policies, on which he published several books and articles.
Dean, College of International and Security Studies, George C Marshall European Center for Security Studies
Andrew Michta is currently the Dean of the College of International and Security Studies of the George C. Marshall Center for Security Studies. He was a Professor of the U.S Naval War College, Adjunct Fellow of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Senior Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, and scholar in other relevant institutions. He holds a Ph.D in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University. His main research interests include the US and European Security and NATO, focusing especially on the Baltic States and Central Europe.
Senior Fellow-Foreign Policy, Center on the US and Europe, Fritz Stern Chair on Germany and trans-Atlantic Relations
Constanze Stelzenmüller is currently a Senior Fellow-Foreign Policy at the Center on the US and Europe of Brookings Institution. She is a former transatlantic fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), becoming Director of GMF’s Berlin Office later. From 1994 to 2005, she was editor of the political section of “Die Zeit”, a German newspaper. She has affiliations to several institutions, such as the German Ministry of Defence, German Council on Foreign Relations, European Policy Center, and other relevant organizations. She holds a BA in law and PhD from the University of Bonn, and a master’s degree in Public Administration by the University of Harvard. Her expertise areas include Foreign and Security Policy, European and German Security and Defence Policy and transatlantic relations.
Chairman, Joint European Disruptive Initiative
Andre Loesekrug-Pietri is currently chairman of the Joint European Disruptive Initiative. He is a private pilot and Colonel of the French Air Forces People’s Reserve, and former assistant to the CEO of Aerospatiale-Airbus. He spent 15 years working in private equity and venture capital. In 2017, he became Special Advisor to the French Minister of Defence, addressing especially issues of European Defence Policy, innovation and technology. Additionally, he is a member of the Innovation Board of the Munich Security Conference. Pietri was also awarded as “Young Leader” by the World Economic Forum. He is a graduate from HEC and Harvard Kennedy School, and attended Sup-Aero aerospace engineering school.
Sir Andrew Wood is currently Chatham House’s associate fellow of the Russia and Eurasia programme. He is a former diplomat, having served in the British diplomatic mission in Moscow during 1964-1966, 1979-1982, and was ambassador from 1995 to 2000. He was also ambassador to the former Yugoslavia, from 1985 to 1989 and served in Washington from 1989 to 1992. Since his retirement, he has worked as an adviser to several companies which are interested in the post-soviet space, such as British Petroleum (BP). His main focus areas are Russian domestic and foreign policies and has several publications regarding the subject.
Visiting scholar, the institute for European, Russia, and Eurasian Studies and Illiberalism Studies Program at George Washington University
Maria Snegovaya is a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies and a fellow a part of the Illiberalism Studies Program. Since 2020, Snegovaya has been a postdoctoral fellow at Kellogg Center for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and a research fellow at the Center for European Union, Transatlantic, and Trans-European Space Studies. Her research interests include party politics, political behavior, and political economy, and she explores the ongoing democratic backsliding and reautocratization in Eastern Europe and the tactics used by Russian actors and proxies who circulate disinformation to exploit these dynamics in the region. She also studies Russia’s domestic and foreign policy. Snegovaya’s recently published articles are “Fellow Travelers or Trojan Horses? Similarities Across Pro-Russian Parties’ Electorates in Europe” Party Politics (2021) and “How Ex-Communist Left Parties Reformed and Lost” West European Politics (2021). Snegovaya speaks English, French, and Russian.
Joint Warfare Center, Transformation Delivery Division of Joint Warfare Center, French Senior National Representative
Col. Jean-Michel Millet has been the NATO JWC Head of Transformation Delivery Division since 2018. He is also the Head of the Asia/Oceania/South America Department at the Direction Générale des Relations Internationales et de la Stratégie in France since 2016. Millet was the defense attache at the Embassy of France in Afghanistan from 2014 to 2016. He is skilled in crisis management, intelligence analysis, counterinsurgency and operational planning.
1st Brigade Commander, Latvian National Guard
Col. Kaspars Pudans is currently the 1st Brigade Commander of the Latvian National Guard. He recently completed the Higher Command Studies Course 2021 at the BALTDEFCOL, winning the Best Student Award as well as the Class Leader Recognition. Moreover, he also published at the Journal on Baltic Security.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Republic of Latvia
Dr. Pabriks has been the Minister of Defense since January 23, 2019. He has been serving as a professor at the Riga International School of Economics and Business and Business Administration (RISEBA) since 2011. Dr. Pabriks is also a member of the International Advisory Board of the Centrum Balticum Foundation. He was a member of the European Parliament from 2014 to 2018. Dr. Pabriks was elected as a Member of the Latvian Parliament in 2004 and then the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2004 to 2007 as well. From 2001-2003, he was a Human Rights and Ethnic Studies Center of Latvia political analyst. Dr. Pabriks' main research interests are in multiculturalism, nationalism, security policy, ethnic policy, ideologies, gender issues, and human rights. He speaks Latvian, Russian, and English as well as some German and Danish.
Commanding Officer of the Joint Expeditionary Force
Major General Jim Morris is currently the Commanding Officer of the Joint Expeditionary Force. He is part of the Royal Marines, having served in Afghanistan, and was military assistant to the former Prime Minister David Cameron. Moreover, he was awarded the “Distinguished Service Order” in recognition for his duty in Afghanistan during the period of 2008 to 2009.
Chief of Party, Management Systems International in Ukraine, former Vice Prime Minister and State Minister for Reintegration and Chair of National Security Council of Georgia
Eka Tkeshelashvili is the Head of Programmes at the European Anti-Corruption Initiative to Ukraine and was the President of the Georgian Institute for Strategic Studies. From 2010 to 2012, she was the Vice Prime-Minister of Georgia. Tkeshelashvili also held the position of Chairperson of Tbilisi Appeals Court and was a member of the High Council of Justice of Georgia. Additionally, she provided commentary on the 2014 NATO Summit in Wales, providing a Georgian perspective.
Senior Fellow, Jamestown Foundation
Vladimir Socor is a Senior Fellow of the Jamestown Foundation in Washington, and he writes analytical articles on a daily basis in the Eurasia Daily Monitor. Socor is an internationally recognized expert on the former Soviet-ruled countries in Europe, the South Caucasus, and Central Asia. Socor covers Russian and Western policies, focusing on regional security issues, secessionist conflicts, energy policies, and NATO policies and programs.
Resident Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council of United States of America
Dr. Aslund is a Resident Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council of the United States. He is also a chairman of the Advisory Council of the Center for Social and Economic Research, Warsaw, and of the Scientific Council of the Bank of Finland Institute for Economies in Transition. Dr. Aslund served as an economic advisor to several governments, such as Russia from 1991 to 1994 and Ukraine from 1994 to 1997. He specializes in Moldova, Russia and Ukraine and covers issues such as corruption, rule of law, macroeconomics and geopolitics security. Dr. Aslund is widely published and has written several books. His Ukraine: What Went Wrong and How to Fix It was published in 2015 by Columbia University Press, and Dr. Aslund’s most recent book, Russia’s Crony Capitalism: The Path from Market Economy to Kleptocracy, was published in 2019 by Yale University Press.
Chair, Committee on National Security and Defense at the Lithuanian Parliament (SEIMAS)
Dr. Kasčiūnas is a chairman of the National Security and Defense Committee of the SEIMAS. He has worked as a lecturer at the Institute of International Relations and Political Science for Vilnius University (2007-2016). Dr. Kasčiūnas was the Head of the Department, Director of the VTS, for the Center for Eastern European Studies from 2012 to 2016. He was also a foreign policy advisor (SEIMAS of the Republic Lithuania Advisory to the Speaker of the SEIMAS I) from 2008 to 2012 and a foreign news editor for Face Weekly in 2007. Dr. Kasčiūnas wrote his PhD dissertation on “Implications of EU internal integration for External Europeanisation: Case Studies of Ukraine and Russia” (2012). He is a member of the Ronald Reagan Freedom Centre and Young Christian Democrats as well.
Editorial Director at Riddle
Anton Barbashin is the editorial director at Riddle and a political analyst, focusing on Russia. From 2015 to 2018, Barbashin was managing editor at Intersection and an analyst at the Center for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understanding from 2014 to 2018.
Head of International Order and Democracy Program, DGAP
Dr. Meister is the Head of International Order and Democracy Program, DGAP. Dr. Meister was the head of the Robert Bosch Center for Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia at DGAP from 2017 to 2019. He has worked as a senior policy fellow in the Wider Europe Team at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and as a visiting fellow at the Transatlantic Academy in Washington DC. Dr. Meister has written about Russian disinformation and propaganda and covered conflict transformation and institution building in post-Soviet countries. Some of his published work is Geopolitics and Security: A New Strategy for the South Caucasus (KAS/DGAP/GIP, 2018) and Eastern Voices (Center for Transatlantic Relations/DGAP, 2017), both of which he co-authored.
Senior Fellow, Estonian Foreign Policy Institute at the International Centre for Defence and Security
James Sherr is a Senior Fellow for the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute at the International Centre for Defence and Security. Since 2011, Sherr has been an associate fellow of the Russia and Eurasia programme at Chatham House and from 2008 to 2011, he was the head of the same programme. Sherr is widely published and has written on Soviet and Russian military, security and foreign policy and energy security. He has also focused on the Black Sea region and Ukraine’s effort to deal with Russia, the West and its own domestic problems.
President of the Republic of Latvia 1999-2007
Dr. Vīķe-Freiberga was the President of the Republic of Latvia from 1999 to 2007, serving two four-year terms. She was named special envoy on the reform of the United Nations in 2005 and was an official candidate of the Baltic States for the position of Secretary-General in 2006. Dr. Vīķe-Freiberga is extensively published and has a background in psychology. She focuses on the political future of the Baltic states. She speaks Latvian, English, and French.
Head of the International Directorate of the All-Union Trade Unions Confederation
Igor Yurgens is Head of the International Directorate of the All-Union Trade Unions Confederation and the chairman of the Institute for Contemporary Development (ICD). Dr. Yurgens is also a member of the Academic Council of the Security Council of the Russian Federation and the Presidium of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy. He is currently a professor of the Higher School of Economics in Moscow.
SCHEDULE DETAILS Program
Panel I: The Rejection of the Soviet Collapse
There have been numerous large transformations, shifts, and potential missed opportunities in the three decades since the Soviet Union's demise. Discourse has shifted from the end of so-called history and the possibility of the emergence of a common European home to impossible security demands and the outright invasion of Ukraine. This panel's discussion will center on how Russia and the West have come to terms with the collapse of the Soviet Union over the last thirty years, and what this means for current and future relations in light of the current war.
Moderator: Prof. Žaneta Ozoliņa, Chairman, Latvian Transatlantic Organization
Power Coffee Break
Conversation between Dr. Algirdas Revaitis from the General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania and Brigadier General (ret.) Gianmarco Badialetti, Italian Army
Panel II: Are Russia and China Encroaching on Europe?
A pragmatic economic partner or an adversary? Both labels have been applied to Russia and China, and such debates have strained Euro-Atlantic solidarity. Before the invasion of Ukraine, Russia and China had been getting closer. What are the defining characteristics of these Sino-Russian relations, and what does this imply for the future of Europe? Is this a marriage of convenience, or are there deeper motives at work? How will the current war in Ukraine change these dynamics? This panel will discuss these topics and more.
Conversation between Dr. Toms Rostoks, Director, Centre for Security and Strategic Research at the National Defence Academy of Latvia, and Dr. Margarita Šešelgytė, Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University
Charity Dinner and Welcoming Remarks by Tartu Deputy Mayor Mr Raimond Tamm
For Conference Guests in Tartu Only
Night Owl Session under the Chatham House Rule: Aggressive at Home and Abroad
For Conference Guests in Tartu Only
With opposition at home and abroad, Russia has taken a hardline line on both. With the Russian opposition's current options of imprisonment, repression, exile – or now even execution – is there a future for those partisans of democracy both inside and outside of Russia? What would such a Russian transition to democracy look like considering the domestic conditions that strongly echo those of seventy years ago? This panel will debate these issues in accordance with Chatham House rules.
Moderator: Col. (ret.) Dr. Zdzislaw Sliwa, Dean of the Baltic Defence College
Panel III: Technological Transformations Affecting Russian Capabilities
This panel will discuss the meeting point of doctrinal proclamations and material capabilities and willpower for the coming decades in a predictive capacity. As a result, the panel will focus on what behaviors can be expected of Russia, what objectives it has set, what tools it can use to accomplish these goals, and how the current war in Ukraine tests both doctrine and capabilities. This panel, which features students-researchers from the Baltic Defence College as speakers, also highlights the intellectual rigor of some of the daily debates that take place at the College.
Moderator: Dr. Illimar Ploom, Estonian Military Academy
Conversation between Dr. Illimar Ploom from the Estonian Military Academy and COL (ret.) Dr. Zdzislaw Sliwa, Dean of the Baltic Defence College
Panel IV: Ghosts from the Past, Phantoms of the Future? Protracted Conflicts in Former Soviet Territories and the Invasion of Ukraine
It started piecemeal. Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Transnistria. Crimea. Luhansk and Donetsk. The preceding are only a few of the disputed territories that splintered away from various polities in the decades following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Now, Russia has declared a war on Ukraine that would relegate the entirety of the country to the same vassalized status. To what extent does the current state of affairs of these regions represent frozen conflicts with no prospect of settlement? Might the war in Ukraine provide an opportunity to settle these conflicts? This panel will go over these topics and more.
Conversation between Elisabeth Bauer, Head of the KAS office for the Baltic States, and Georgian Ambassador to Estonia, H.E. Archil Karaulashvili
Address by Louis Wierenga, Lecturer, Baltic Defence College, Grzegorz Kozłowski, Ambassador of Poland to Estonia and Žilvinas Tomkus, Vice Minister, Ministry of National Defence of the Republic of Lithuania
Panel V: Putin Looks Into Biden’s Eyes: What Does He See There
President Biden of the United States stated that he once looked into President Putin's eyes and saw no soul behind them. What, on the other hand, did Putin see when he returned Biden's gaze? One year into Biden's presidency, US-Russian relations are possibly at their lowest point since the Cold War's end. How can these mutual perceptions – both personal and international – be used to comprehend the current tensions between the two powers and the Kremlin’s decision to invade Ukraine? How has Russia's assessment of political will and unity in Washington influenced their current geopolitical strategy? This panel will address these issues and more.
Moderator: Dr. Asta Maskaliūnaitė, Director, Department of Political Studies, Baltic Defence College
Conversation between Alena Kudzko, Vice President of GLOBSEC & Director of the GLOBSEC Policy Institute and Prof. Dr. Giray Sadik, Chair, Department of International Relations, Faculty of Political Science, Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt University, Turkey
Panel VI: The Return of History or the End of the World? The Russian Ultimatum to the West
From the so-called ‘Wild Nineties’ to the present, Western pundits have predicted Russian collapse or decline. In some discourses, Russia has been reduced to the status of a second-rate power or a geopolitical annoyance, based on its demographics, economy, or global relevance. Russian political analysts, on the other hand, have described a decline of the West and a continuing shift toward geopolitical multipolarity, wherein Russia would regain its former status as a global power. The invasion of Ukraine brings these two points of view to a cacophonous crescendo, and it seems that only one of these voices will remain in the subsequent quiet. This concluding panel will discuss this key point of contention in light of the current aggression.
Moderator: Dr. Sandis Šrāders, Fellow, Baltic Defence College
Closing Remarks by The Conference on Russia 2022 Director, Dr. Sandis Šrāders, Fellow, Baltic Defence College