The Baltic Defence College’s international conference on Russian ‘power projection’

The Baltic Defence College’s international conference on Russian ‘power projection’

On 24th-26th November, the Baltic Defence College hosted a large international conference with eight different partner organisations, including the Swedish National Defence College (Stockholm), which provided significant financial backing to help make the conference possible; the Centre for East European Policy Studies (Riga); Centre for EU-Russia Studies at the University of Tartu; the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Russian Studies at the University of Helsinki; the International Centre for Defence Studies (Tallinn); the NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence (Vilnius); and the OSW – Centre for Eastern Studies (Warsaw).

The Commandant’s address

Over 180 people, coming from across the Euro-Atlantic region, attended the event, which was kicked off with an Icebreaker Reception on the first evening and the following day formally opened by the Conference Convener, Dr. Asta Maskaliunaite.

The Commandant of the Baltic Defence College, Maj. Gen. Vitalijus Vaikšnoras, welcomed the delegates, asking questions to provide thinking points for further elaboration and discussion.

The keynote speakers, Mr. Audrius Kubilius and Mr. Edward Lucas

The welcome addresses were followed by the keynote speakers, Mr. Audrius Kubilius, former Prime Minister of Lithuania and Mr. Edward Lucas, Senior Editor of The Economist, who engaged each other in an extensive interview covering all angles of Russia’s ability to project power, both regionally and overseas.

Delegates listening to the discussions and debates

The conference then broke up into eight different panels, covering Russian military modernisation, societal modernisation, energy policy, information projection, security policy, cultural influence, the sustainability of Mr. Putin’s political agenda and whether or not Russia should be considered as a global or regional power.

A panel from the International Centre for Defence and Security

Maj. Gen. Vaikšnoras hosted the conference’s formal dinner, where Mr. Ian Bond CVO, the former Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Latvia, and H.E. Mr. Ilgvars Klava, the Latvian Ambassador to Poland, gave ‘Night Owl’ speeches under the Chatham House rule. This was followed the next morning by additional panel discussions and a provocative closing speech delivered by Prof. Brendan Simms, Professor of the History of European International Relations at Peterhouse, University of Cambridge.

Prof. Brendan Simms summarising and closing the conference

The Baltic Defence College intends to host a similar international conference in 2015/2016. In addition, the proceedings of the conference will be published in a forthcoming volume of the college’s new journal, the Journal on Baltic Security.


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Visit by the Czech Ambassador H.E. Mr Richard Kadlčák



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