4-5 March 2021



Annual Conference on Russia
'Responding to Russia in a Multi-Threat World'

The Baltic Defence College is pleased to announce the Seventh Annual Conference on Russia, titled 'Responding to Russia in a Multi-Threat World', held online on 4th -5th March 2021.  

Keynote Speakers


Click on arrow to see detailed information

11:00 am - 11:10 am

Administrative Remarks

11:10 am - 11:20 am

Opening of the Conference by the Commandant of Baltic Defence College

BG Ilmar Tamm

Opening address by Brigadier General Ilmar Tamm (EST), Commandant of Baltic Defence College

11:30 am - 12:10 pm

Keynote speech ‘Putinism, the pseudo-Counter Enlightenment’

Visiting Professor Toomas Hendrik Ilves

Keynote speaker: Visiting Professor Toomas Hendrik Ilves (EST), University of Tartu


12:15 pm - 12:30 pm

Remarks by Estonian Minister of Defence Mr. Kalle Laanet

Mr. Kalle Laanet

12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Keynote panel ‘Russia’s Alternative World Order: Ideology or Camouflage?’

Assoc. Prof. Lukas Milevski, Visiting Professor Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Sir Andrew Wood GCMC, Dr. Ivan Timofeev, Moderated by Dr. Viljar Veebel

This opening keynote panel will explore and problematize Russia’s commitment to its often-stated project of an ‘Alternative World Order,’ which is commonly characterized as a shift toward multipolarity. This panel will explore the essence of this project and also ask the question of whether the West too easily persuaded by the possibility of this competing world view?


Visiting Professor Toomas Hendrik Ilves (EST), University of Tartu

Assoc. Prof. Lukas Milevski, Leiden University

Sir Andrew Wood GCMC (UK), Chatham house

Dr Ivan Timofeev (RUS), Russian International Affairs Council


Dr. Viljar Veebel (EST), Baltic Defence College

2:10 pm - 3:40 pm

1st Plenary Session ‘Is there a Global Anti-Russia?’

Prof. Viacheslav Morozov, Mr. James Sherr, Dr. Marc Ozawa. Moderated by Dr. Sandis Šrāders

By mirroring the logic implied by ‘alternative’ Russian world order, the first plenary session will respond to questions and statements of the keynote panel. What is the West doing to respond to the perception of the Russian threat? How unified and coherent is the West, NATO or the EU? What does the West learn from Russia regarding its own actions?


Prof. Viacheslav Morozov (RUS), University of Tartu

Mr. James Sherr (UK), Estonian Foreign Policy Institute at ICDS, International Centre for Defence and Security

Dr. Marc Ozawa (USA), NATO Defense College

AMB Batu Kutelia (GEO), Foreign Policy Research Institute


Dr. Sandis Šrāders (LVA), Baltic Defence College


3:50 pm - 5:20 pm

1st Specialized Session ‘”Responsibility/Duty to Protect” as Legal Basis for Russian Interference?’

Prof. Lauri Mälksoo, Dr. Leonid Karabeshkin, Dr. Gustav Gressel, Moderated by Assoc. Prof. Rene Värk

Through and beyond Russky Mir, soft power tools are well utilized by Russia. However, when does a soft-power tool become a part of lawfare? What are the commonalities between the concepts of Responsibility to Protect, Duty to Protect and Protection of Russians abroad? Does the latter create a legal basis to the former for Russian interference in communities with a Russophone minority?


Prof. Lauri Mälksoo (EST), University of Tartu

Dr. Gustav Gressel (AUT), European Council on Foreign Relations

Dr. Leonid Karabeshkin (RUS)


Assoc. Prof. Rene Värk (EST), University of Tartu

5:30 pm - 6:15 pm

Presentation of Conference Papers: Panel Discussion with Authors

Presentation of Conference Papers, Panel Discussion with Authors



9:00 am - 10:30 am

2nd Plenary Session ‘What is Hungary, Poland and Italy Perspective toward Russia. Between being Russophile and Russophobe?’

AMB Grzegorz Kozłowski, Assoc. Prof. Stefano Braghiroli; Dr. András Rácz, Moderated by COL (ret.) Dr. hab. Zdzislaw Sliwa

While sanctions towards Russia on the European level have remained at least for the time being, not every single member state or political actor voices an uncritical support of this status quo. This panel will therefore explore the nuances of European attitudes toward the Kremlin, showing the intricacies and inherent problems in characterizing a country’s policy as either Russophobic or Russophilic.


Assoc. Prof. Stefano Braghiroli (ITA), University of Tartu Skytte Institute

AMB Grzegorz Kozłowski (POL), Ambassador of Poland to Estonia

Dr. András Rácz (HUN), ICDS, International Centre for Defence and Security


COL (ret.) Dr. hab. Zdzislaw Sliwa (POL), Baltic Defence College

10:35 am - 12:05 pm

2nd Specialized Session ‘Is being Eurosceptical Related with Being Pro-Russian?’

Assoc. Prof. Dimitry Lanko, Prof. Dovilė Jakniūnaitė, AMB Shota Gvineria, Ms. Oudekki Loone, Moderated by Dr. Asta Maskaliūnaitė

From 2015 onward, support for radical nationalist and populist attitudes have continued to rise in Europe and beyond. In Eastern Europe for the past several decades, Euroscepticism has been generally and traditionally linked to receptivity of pro-Russian narratives. However, with shifting strategic stances, policy goals, and ideological alliances, is this still the reality?


AMB Shota Gvineria (GEO), Baltic Defence College

Assoc. Prof. Dimitry Lanko (RUS), St Petersburg University

Prof. Dovilė Jakniūnaitė (LTU), Vilnius University Institute of International Relations and Political Science

Ms. Oudekki Loone (EST), Member of Estonian Parliament


Dr. Asta Maskaliūnaitė (LTU), Baltic Defence College


12:20 pm - 1:20 pm

BALTDEFCOL Panel ‘Russia’s Strategic Aims vs Liberal Democratic Values’

LTC Janno Märk, MAJ Haroldas Čižauskas, MAJ Matthew Kristopher Fryer, Mr. Taras Ivanec, Moderated by Dr. Christopher Murray

While previous panels hint at the perceived mutually exclusive dichotomy between the liberal rules-based world order and the interest-based alternative order proposed by Moscow, this session will focus directly on how this division in perceptions functions in practice. How do such interests interact with the current rule-based order, does this necessarily mean conflict, and is there the possibility of any sort of cooperation going forward?


LTC Janno Märk (EST), Baltic Defence College

MAJ Haroldas Čižauskas (LTU), Baltic Defence College

MAJ Matthew Kristopher Fryer (USA), Baltic Defence College

Mr. Taras Ivanec (LTU), Baltic Defence College


Dr. Christopher Murray (CAN), Baltic Defence College

1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

3rd Specialized Session ‘Hunting down Russian Hostile Narratives’

Dr. Renata Matkevičiūtė; Prof. Nikita Lomagin, PhD cand. Martins Hirss; Dr. Viljar Veebel, Moderated by Dr. Ivo Juurvee.

In this session, Dr. Hirss and Dr. Matkeviciute will present the results of extensive empirical work conducted in Baltic States and Moldova on the topic of Russian disinformation and misinformation campaigns. In response, Professor Lomagin will provide a reply and reaction to the findings, framing them in the context of wider strategies coming from the Kremlin.


PhD cand. Martins Hirss (LAT), Centre for European Policy Analysis

Dr. Renata Matkevičiūtė (LTU), Vilnius University

Prof. Nikita Lomagin (RUS), European University at St. Petersburg

Dr. Viljar Veebel (EST), Baltic Defence College


 Dr. Ivo Juurvee (EST), ICDS – International Centre for Defence and Security

3:10 pm - 4:40 pm

Concluding session ‘Russia, COVID-19 and West’

Mr. Keir Giles, Ms. Kadri Liik, Prof. Andrey Makarychev, Mr. James Apparthurai, Moderated by COL Dzintars Roga

It has already become a cliché that COVID-19 has realigned traditional understandings of the inherent paradigms of 21st century international relations. Russian military planes landed in Italy, invited in by a pro-EU government, in order to help combat the first wave of the virus. Now, health and vaccine diplomacy dominate the international arena, ranging from policies of cooperation to competition. As such, what lessons can be learned from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic regarding Russia-Western relations?


Mr. Keir Giles (UK), Chatham House

Ms. Kadri Liik (EST), European Council on Foreign Relations

Prof. Andrey Makarychev (RUS), University of Tartu Skytte Institute

Mr. James Apparthurai, Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy and the Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia


COL Dzintars Roga (LVA), Baltic Defence College



4:40 pm - 5:00 pm

Concluding Remarks

COL (ret.) Dr. hab. Zdzislaw Sliwa

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


Registration is closed



  • University of Tartu
  • Konrad Adenauer Stiftung
  • NATO Defense College
  • NATO Public Diplomacy Division


Conference Location


To follow the recommendations set by the Estonian Government and to stop the spread of COVID-19, The Annual Conference on Russia 2021 will be held online.
The Conference time zone is East European Time (Tallinn time) that is GMT/UTC+ 02:00


Additional details

Should you have any questions please contact Conferences Desk conferences@baltdefcol.org.