Living in the “area of vital interest” for Russia

To fully grasp what Kremlin policy means and what is at stake for Europe as a whole, it is important to acknowledge that Western or Russian perceptions and approaches are not enough: we need the eyes and the experience of these neighbours.

PERFORMED ACTIVITY
8 October 2021 - 09:00h
LOCATION: Representation of the European Commission in Spain. Paseo de la Castellana, 46, 28046 Madrid, and online
ORGANIZED BY: CIDOB, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and Representation of the European Commission in Spain, with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of Spain

COLLABORATORS (3):

Objective

It has been 30 years since Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia - the six European countries of the former Soviet Union - have become independent, at least formally. But the full exercise of their sovereignty is still undermined by Moscow’s actions. The trouble is that these states also make up the strip of European territory considered by Russia as its lifeline, its sphere of “vital interest”; a grey zone where Kremlin's narrative blurs the line between foreign and domestic policy.  

As for the European Union, due to different political and economic interests, it has too often allowed its policy towards its post-Soviet European neighbours to be guided by the concern of “do not upset Russia”. But experience shows that this caution approach has led to an impasse in the relations between the EU and Russia. 

To fully grasp what Kremlin policy means and what is at stake for Europe as a whole, it is important to acknowledge that Western or Russian perceptions and approaches are not enough: we need the eyes and the experience of these neighbours. 

>> The conference will be streamed live at Representation of the European Commission in Spain YouTube channel.

>> Follow the conference live in English here: Living in the "area of vital interest" for Russia

>> Follow the conference live in Spanish here: Vivir en la “esfera de interés vital” para Rusia

Files

Living in the “area of vital interest” for Russia PERFORMED ACTIVITY

09:00h Welcome

Pol Morillas, Director, CIDOB (Barcelona Centre for International Affairs)

María Pallares, Programme Coordinator, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), Madrid

Lucas González Ojeda, Deputy Head, Representation of the European Commission in Spain

09:30h Hot points: Ukraine and Belarus

Chair:   Carmen Claudín, Associate Senior Researcher, CIDOB (Barcelona Centre for International Affairs)

Pavlo Klimkin, Center for National Resilience and Development, Kyiv. Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ukraine

Pavel Slunkin, Visiting Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations, London/Belarus

Arkady Moshes, Program Director for the EU Eastern Neighbourhood and Russia research program, Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Helsinki

10:30h South Caucasus: “Unfinished business”

Chair:   James Nixey, Director, Russia-Eurasia Programme, Chatham House, London

Gayane Abrahamyan, President “For Equal Rights” Educational Center NGO, Yerevan

Arzu Geybullayeva, Regional analyst, correspondent, and blogger, Istanbul/Baku

George Tarkhan-Mouravi, Co-Director, Public Political Institute, Tbilisi

11:30h Coffee break

12:00h Rethinking the Eastern Partnership: lessons for the EU

Chair:   Christopher Forst, Director, Regional Office Dialogue Eastern Europe, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung

Stanislav Secrieru, Senior Analyst, European Institute for Security Studies, EUISS, Paris

Judy Dempsey, Editor in Chief Strategic Europe, Carnegie Europe, Berlin

Michael Siebert, Managing Director for Russia, Eastern partnership, Central Asia, Regional cooperation and OSCE, European External Action Service (EEAS), Brussels

13:00h Closing

Federico de Torres Muro, General Director for Foreign and Security Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Government of Spain