7-8 March 2019


Tartu, Estonia
Dorpat Convention Centre

Annual Conference on Russia
“Western responses to non-linear challenges from Russia”

The Baltic Defence College is pleased to announce the Fifth Annual Conference on Russia, entitled “Western responses to non-linear challenges from Russia”, to be held from 7th -8th March 2019 in Tartu. The 2019 iteration of the conference will discuss the broader theme of “Western responses to non-linear challenges from Russia.” Special attention will be paid to the concept of trans-Atlantic deterrence of Russia and its importance for security in wider-Baltic region, the multiple Russian military exercises in 2017-2018, the lessons learned from Russia’s actions in Ukraine, as well as the potential threats emanating from Russia´s military modernization. Upcoming conference will also pay special attention to the NATO´s 70th Anniversary and 15th anniversary of accession of the Baltic states to NATO.

Keynote Speakers

LTG (ret) Benjamin

A native of Quincy, Florida, Lieutenant General (ret) Frederick Benjamin "Ben" Hodges graduated from the United States Military Academy in May 1980 and ...

Mr. Michael

Senior Research Scientist at CNA Corporation ...

GEN (ret) Knud

General (ret) Knud Bartels is born in 1952 and joined the Danish Army in 1972 as a private. ...


Click on arrow to see detailed information

10:30 am - 11:30 am


11:30 am - 12:00 pm


12:00 pm - 12:10 pm

Administrative remarks by conference organizer

12:10 pm - 12:20 pm

Opening of the Conference by the Commandant of Baltic Defence College

Major General Andis Dilāns

Opening address by Major General Andis Dilāns (LVA), Commandant of Baltic Defence College

12:20 pm - 12:45 pm

Opening speech by Lithuanian Minister of National Defence

H.E. Mr. Raimundas Karoblis

Opening speech by Lithuanian Minister of National Defence H.E. Mr. Raimundas Karoblis

12:45 pm - 1:15 pm

Keynote speech

Mr. Matthew Bryza

Keynote speech by Mr. Matthew Bryza (USA), Ambassador and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State


1:15 pm - 2:15 pm

Keynote panel: “NATO at 70: Deterring Russia in an Era of Non-Linear Threats”

H.E. Mr Vygaudas Usackas, Mr. Janis Kazocins

The panel will focus on the main challenges and threats that have emanated from Russia in recent years. The current tensions in the Azov Sea, the recent nerve agent attacks in the UK as well as election meddling and media manipulation in western democracies bring an element of surprise and non-linearity to the Russia challenge. The panel will wonder whether these challenges are a novelty for NATO and how the organization can build on its 70 years existence in deterring Russia.


H.E. Mr Vygaudas Usackas (LTU), Former EU Ambassador to the Russian Federation

Mr. Janis Kazocins (LVA), the National Security Adviser to the Latvian President


Mr. Matthew Bryza (USA), Ambassador and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State

2:15 pm - 2:45 pm

Coffee break

2:45 pm - 4:15 pm

Parallel Session A. Panel A1. Info warfare and Western responses to Russian Propaganda and Disinformation

Prof. Andrey Makarychev, Mr. Keir Giles, Mr. Brian Whitmore, H.E. Ilgvars Kļava

Confronting Russia’s propaganda and responding to its disinformation campaigns have been among the priorities for NATO and the EU in recent years. Russia is in the meantime adapting and developing new practices and assets. The panel will grasp the main aspects of Russia’s objective in information warfare in order to better understand how western democracies can craft a smarter response to it.


Prof. Andrey Makarychev (RUS), Visiting Professor, Tartu University

Mr. Keir Giles (GBR), Institute for Conflict Studies, UK

Mr. Brian Whitmore (USA), Director of RUS Program at CEPA

H.E. Ilgvars Kļava (LVA), Ambassador – Director General, MFA


Mr. Mark Voyger (USA), Senior Lecturer in Russian and Eurasian Studies, Baltic Defence College

2:45 pm - 4:15 pm

Parallel session A. Panel A2. Ukraine, Belarus and Georgia: building capacity and resilience

Mr. Shota Gvineria, COL Yurii Punda, Mr. Arseny Sivitsky, Mr. Glen Howard

The panel will discuss the specific challenges faced by countries in Russia’s closest vicinity and address the attempts by the West to foster capacity and resilience. Ukraine, Belarus and Georgia each face respective challenges. The aim of the panel would be to delineate the manifold areas of response to non-linear challenges for the three countries and get a more consistent grasp of the essence of response needed.


Mr. Shota Gvineria (GEO), Senior Fellow, Economic Policy Research Center, Former Georgian Ambassador to NATO

COL Yurii Punda (UKR), National Defence University of Ukraine

Mr. Arseny Sivitsky (BLR), President, Institute for Foreign and Strategic Policy

Mr. Glen Howard (USA), President Jamestown Foundation


Dr. Viljar Veebel (EST), Researcher at Baltic Defence College

4:15 pm - 4:45 pm

Coffee break

4:45 pm - 6:15 pm

Plenary session: Student and Alumni panel – The Baltic states addressing the Russia challenge: is there a need for a new approach?

Mr. Valdis Otzulis, MAJ Uku Arold, Mr. Paulius Koroliovas, Ms. Ingrid Mühling

Students and Alumni from all three in-house courses of the College will assess the Baltic states’ current responses to the Russia challenge. They will discuss how to secure NATO involvement in the region, alliance burden-sharing debates from a Baltic perspective and the prospects for deepening multi-dimensional Baltic cooperation and integration of efforts.


Mr. Valdis Otzulis (LVA), Alumni of Baltic Defence College

MAJ Uku Arold (EST), JCGSC, Student of Baltic Defence College

Mr. Paulius Koroliovas (LTU), HCSC, Student of Baltic Defence College

Ms. Ingrid Mühling (EST), CSC, Student of Baltic Defence College



Mr Jevgēnijs Rjaščenko (LVA), JCGSC, Student of Baltic Defence College

6:15 pm - 7:30 pm

Executive time

7:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Dinner in Dorpat Conference Centre

8:30 pm - 10:00 pm

Night-Owl Session: “NATO’s force posture after the Brussels Summit: a suitable response to the Russia challenge?”

GEN (ret) Knud Bartels, LTG (ret) Heinrich Brauss, LTG (ret) Ben Hodges

The objective of the panel is to address whether NATO would need further structural reform in order to harness its capabilities more efficiently after the Warsaw and Brussels Summits.  The panel will be an occasion to take stock of what has been accomplished and wonder about the suitability of the force posture at large. The panel will address the dynamics of post-2014 alliance management, extended deterrence and defence with a view to assess the suitability and preparedness of NATO’s force posture.


GEN (ret) Knud Bartels (DNK), Adjunct Professor at the Royal Danish Defence College. Previously, former Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee and Chief of Defence of Denmark

LTG (ret) Heinrich Brauss (DEU), former NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Policy and Planning

LTG (ret) Ben Hodges (USA), Pershing Chair in Strategic Studies at the Center for European Policy Analysis


COL (ret.) Dr. hab. Zdzislaw Sliwa, Dean of the Baltic Defence College


8:30 am - 10:00 am

Plenary session. A new “containment”? The roles of NATO and the EU in responding to Russia

Dr. Graeme Herd, Baron Thierry de Gruben, Dr. Andras Racz

The panel will focus on the options, understandings and collaboration of NATO and the EU in responding to Russia’s activities. The panel will address the respective added value of NATO and the EU; assess the current state-of-play of cooperation; and wonder whether an updated version of “containment” is necessary, and whether a come back to Cold War thinking actually hinders a truly suitable response.


Dr. Graeme Herd (GBR), Professor of Transnational Security, Marshall Center

Baron Thierry de Gruben (BEL), Former Belgian Ambassador to Moscow

Dr. Andras Racz (HUN), Associate Professor, Pazmany Peter Catholic University


Dr. Lukáš Dyčka (CZE),  Lecturer at Baltic Defence College


10:00 am - 10:30 am

Coffee break

10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Parallel Session B. Panel B1. Perspectives from the south-eastern flank

MG Vasile Toader, Mr. Daniel Mitov, Mr. Veiko Spolītis


MG Vasile Toader (ROU), Deputy CHOD for Operations and Training

Mr. Daniel Mitov (BGR), Former BGR Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Veiko Spolītis (LVA), Former Member of Latvian Parliament


Dr. (Col (Ret.)) Clirim Toci (ALB), Baltic Defence College

10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Parallel Session B. Panel B2. Nordic responses to Russia: Deterrence vs. Nonalignment?

Prof. Markku Kivinen, Ms. Anna Wieslander, Mr. Tommi Koivula

The panel will examine to what extent do Nordic countries have contrasting  perspective on the position to adopt towards Russia. Understanding the key dynamics of Nordic defence cooperation is key to grasping the dynamics of regional Baltic security


Ms. Anna Wieslander (SWE), Director, Northern Europe at the Atlantic Council

Mr. Tommi Koivula (FIN), National Defence University

Prof Markku Kivinen (FIN), Aleksanteri Institute


CDRE (ret.) Hans Helseth (NOR), Senior Mentor at BALTDEFCOL

10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Parallel Session B. Panel B3. Facing Russia’s pattern on naval pressure

Ms. Joanna Hosa, Mr. Andrew Wilson, Mr. James Sherr

The tensions in the Azov Sea are causing concerns regarding freedom of navigation in the Black Sea and beyond. The aim of the panel is to identify any possible pattern of Russian naval challenge and draw lessons applicable to a potential repeat of the pattern in the Baltic and Arctic naval areas.


Ms. Joanna Hosa (POL), Wider Europe Programme Manager, European Council on Foreign Relations

Mr. Andrew Wilson (GBR), European Council on Foreign Relations

Mr. James Sherr (USA), Senior Research Fellow of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute


CAPT (N (ret)) William Combes (USA), Lecturer Management and Organisational Studies, Baltic Defence College

12:00 pm - 12:30 pm

Coffee break

12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Concluding panel: “NATO at the Forefront of a Unified Western Response to the Russia Challenge”

MG (ret) Gordon Davis, Dr. Janusz Bugajski, Mr. Michael Kofman, Mr. Edward Lucas

The final panel will focus on the future of trans-Atlantic defense. How to avoid fragmentation and achieve unity in terms of coordinated planning, procedures, investments and actions?


MG (ret) Gordon Davis (USA), NATO DASG for Defence Investment

Dr. Janusz Bugajski (POL), Senior Fellow, CEPA

Mr. Michael Kofman (UKR), Senior Scientist, Center for Naval Analysis

Mr. Edward Lucas (GBR), Senior Vice President, CEPA


COL Ilmar Tamm (EST), Course Director of Joint Command and General Staff Course, BALTDEFCOL

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm



Registration closed on 28 February 2019 at 15:00 (Estonian time)

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75 EUR

Conference Fee


  • Embassy of Georgia to the Republic of Estonia
  • University of Tartu
  • USA Embassy in Tallinn
  • Konrad Adenauer Stiftung
  • City of Tartu

Location and Venue


Dorpat Convention Centre

Centre is located in the heart of Tartu in the same building with Hotel Dorpat and TASKU Shopping Centre.

Entry to the building by car is from Soola Street and on foot from Turu Street. Dorpat Convention Centre is located on the 4th Floor.

Address: Turu 2, TASKU, Tartu 51013

Conference Location


Due to its intellectual resources and great beauty, Tartu ; is often called the ‘Athens of Estonia’. It is Estonia’s second largest city with approximately 100,000 inhabitants. Because of its world famous University, the city is widely known as the intellectual capital of Estonia. Founded by the King of Sweden, Gustavus Adolphus, in 1632, the university has made Tartu the centre of Estonian education and science for the past few centuries.

Estonia, Tartu

Nearby Accomodation

Hotel Dorpat (3superior***)

Conference on Russia will be held in the same building with Hotel Dorpat that has partnered with the Baltic Defence College to offer the best prices for the conference participants.

Single room: 56 EUR

Double room: 66 EUR

Please send the e-mail to info@dorpat.ee and mention the code “Conference on Russia” and you will be assigned one of the pre-booked rooms (available until 20.02.2019).

Reserving and paying for the accommodation is the responsibility of the conference participant.

Address: Soola 6, Tartu

Hotell Lydia (4superior****)

Hotell Lydia is located behind the City Hall and offers accommodation for special price for the participants:

Single room: 85 EUR

Double room: 110 EUR

Please send the e-mail to sales@lydia.ee and mention the code “Conference on Russia” and you will be assigned one of the pre-booked rooms (available until 20.02.2019).

Reserving and paying for the accommodation is the responsibility of the conference participant.

Address: Ülikooli 14, Tartu

Additional details

Should you have any questions regarding the programme and speakers, please contact Dr. Viljar Veebel. Should you have any questions regarding the administrative arrangements, please contact Ms. Kadri Nestra.