The next reset? The West and Russia between the Crimea and ISIS

From Thursday the 10th through Friday the 11th of March, Krytyka Polityczna hosted a conference on the different pieces of the puzzle making up the patchwork of foreign policy issues most affecting Europe.

This conference took place with simultaneous interpretation into both Polish and English at the Institute for Advanced Study in Warsaw. The conference has now finished, however, access to unedited, full-length recordings of all of the debates can be found on this page.

Topic / Speakers / Location / Links / Programme / Debate recordings

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About the conference:

The socio-political crises which have come about in Southern and Central Europe as a consequence of the political indecision and discord resulting from the flow of refugees from the Middle East have made the countries from which these refugees are fleeing key foci of European foreign affairs. In particular, the Syrian and Iraqi territories occupied by the the so-called Islamic State have come under increasing scrutiny and are currently the target of many international efforts. This focus on the Middle East also diminishes the level of attention dedicated to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. Similarly, Russia’s military involvement in Syria and its support for President Assad make the country a key player in Middle East negotiations, requiring the West to re-engage with the country’s leadership and to take their actions into account, when considering strategic solutions to the problems posed by ISIS and the mass migration of peoples caused by the conflict.

All these processes create an extremely complicated strategic puzzle, consisting of different regions (Donbass, the Crimea, the Middle East, Central Europe and the Balkans) and often contradictory political, social and economic interests. However, for all their diversity, these events have one thing in common: together they determine the fate of refugees, the cohesion and solidarity of Europe and the geopolitical influence of diverse powers. Subsequently, events in Syria have come to be more and more closely observed, especially in Central Europe and in the Balkans, where different dimensions of this puzzle interact and intertwine. Russian interests and involvement, both closer to home and within the Middle East, have had an impact upon the expansion of ISIS and the flow of refugees towards EU nations and it is this interconnectedness which has opened up new diplomatic possibilities for Russia. With the increasing shift of priorities, Russia finds itself back in the midst of diplomatic negotiations, with suggestions of a possible trade-off between the West and Russia, in which Western acceptance for the status quo in Ukraine could be exchanged for Russia’s cooperation in the Middle East. In Warsaw, where both the question of refugees and Russian activities in Ukraine are matters of huge controversy, Krytyka Polityczna therefore gathered together experts, commentators and civic activists involved in Middle-Eastern, Ukrainian and Balkan affairs to discuss the big picture, analysing the situation over the course of a two-day conference, in order to coherently chart an extremely vague territory.

To access unedited, full-length recordings of the debates, click here.

To view the conference programme, click here.

Speakers:

Adam Balcer Lecturer at Warsaw University’s Centre for East European Studies and Former Programme Director at demosEUROPA‘s Centre for European Strategy

Konstanty Gebert Psychologist and Gazeta Wyborcza War Correspondent

Aleksandra Hnatiuk Professor at the University of Warsaw’s Centre for East European Studies

Yaroslav Hrytsak – History Professor at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv. 

Ivan Krastev – Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sophia, Founding Board Member of the European Council on Foreign Relations and Permanent Fellow at the Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna

Dessislava Gavrilova – Co-founder and Chairwoman of the Founders’ Board of The Red House Centre for Culture and Debate & Initiator and Coordinator of The European Network of Houses for Debate, Time to Talk

Janusz Onyszkiewicz – ex-Polish Defence Minister and a former vice president of the European Parliament

Peter Pomerantsev – Documentary Film Maker and Columnist for the London Review of Books

Patrycja Sasnal – Head of the Middle East and North Africa Project at the Polish Institute of International Affairs 

Aleksandra Sekulić – Centar za kulturnu dekontaminaciju [Centre for Cultural Decontamination]

Ludwika Włodek – Sociologist and Lecturer at the University of Warsaw’s Centre for East European Studies

Michal Vašečka – Assistant Professor in Masaryk University’s Department of Sociology

Andrew Wilson – Professor in the Ukrainian Studies Department of University College London.


Programme
:

(all times in CET)

Thursday, March 10th

18:00

Keynote speech: Can Putin be stopped?
Janusz Onyszkiewicz (ex-Polish Defence Minister and a former vice president of the European Parliament)

Opening Session: Does Russia have a master plan? Putin’s PR and geopolitics
Ivan Krastev (C
hairman, Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia and Founding Board Member of the European Council on Foreign Relations)
Peter Pomerantsev (
Writer and Blogger, London Review of Books)
Ludwika Włodek (East European Studies, University of Warsaw, Poland)
Moderator: Sławomir Sierakowski (Krytyka Polityczna and Institute for Advanced Study, Poland)

View the unedited, full-length recording of the Janusz Onyszkiewicz’s keynote speech and the opening session.

Friday, March 11th

10:00–11:30 Session 1: The Balkans and Visegrád – migrants, nationalists and East-West confrontation
Adam Balcer (Centre for Eastern Studies, Poland)
Dessislava Gavrilova (The Red House Center for Culture and Debate & The European Network of Houses for Debate, Time to Talk)
Aleksandra Sekulić (Centar za kulturnu dekontaminaciju [Centre for Cultural Decontamination])
Michal Vašečka (Masaryk University,
The Czech Republic)
Moderator: Michał Sutowski (Krytyka Polityczna and the Institute for Advanced Study, Poland)

View the unedited, full-length recording of The Balkans and Visegrád – migrants, nationalists and East-West confrontation

11.40–13:10 Session 2: The lesser evil or the doctor worse than the disease – can Assad be seen as a source of hope for Syria and the West?
Konstanty Gebert (Gazeta Wyborcza Journalist, Poland)
Ivan Krastev (Chairman, Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia and Founding Board Member of the European Council on Foreign Relations)
Patrycja Sasnal (Polish Institute for International Affairs, Poland)
Moderator: Igor Stokfiszewski (Krytyka Polityczna and the Institute for Advanced Study, Poland)

View the unedited, full-length recording of The lesser evil or the doctor worse than the disease – can Assad be seen as a source of hope for Syria and the West?

13:10–14:30 lunch break

14:30–16:00 Session 3: Ukraine abandoned? Is the West going to trade off Ukraine for Russia’s support in the Middle East?
Aleksandra Hnatiuk (Centre for Eastern Studies, University of Warsaw, Poland)
Yaroslav Hrytsak (Catholic University of Lviv, Ukraine)
Andrew Wilson (European Council on Foreign Relations, UK)
Moderator: Lesia Kulchynska (Visual Culture Research Centre, Ukraine)

View the unedited, full-length recording of Ukraine abandoned? Is the West going to trade off Ukraine for Russia’s support in the Middle East?

This conference took place with the kind support of:
CS Mott Foundation 200ECFR dünnOSF dünn

Location:

Links:

Has Europe forgotten about Ukraine? By Andrew Wilson

What can we expect from Russia in Syria? By Kadri Liik

View from Warsaw: concerns about a Ukraine-Syria trade-off By Piotr Buras

Questions linger over Russia’s endgame in Syria, Ukraine and Europe By Neil MacFarquhar

Russia in Ukraine and Syria: strengths and weaknesses By Alexander Tabchnik

The meaning of Russia’s campaign in Syria By Stephen R. Covington

Another day, another conflict: Russia, Ukraine and the Syrian Civil War By Greg Forbes

Russia – EU relations in 2015: from Ukraine to Syria By Andrew Rettman

Putin wants to turn page from Ukraine to Syria By Jan Cienski

Brave new war By Peter Pomerantsev

Why Russia needs Syria By Amy Knight

– Can Putin bomb his way out of sanctions? By Moisés Naím

Putin versus ISIS: Russia’s great game in Syria By Mark Leonard

Can Russia afford to fight two wars in Syria and Ukraine? By Lydia Tomkiw