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The EU and Russia's shared neighbourhood

A Note by the Director (Ditchley 2010/08)

14 - 16 October 2010

Ditchley looks at a topic of particular relevance to the European Union once a year. For this conference, the issue was the relationship between the EU and Russia and how this plays out in their shared neighbourhood, focussing particularly on the three immediate neighbours of Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, and the wider neighbours in the Caucasus: Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.  The basic question was whether the EU and Russia could improve their own patchy and often difficult relationship, and at the same time find common ground in dealing with the aspirations of these countries. As one participant put it:  ‘If the EU and Russia have so many interests in common, as we are always being told, why do we find it so difficult to get on?’  Part of this was whether the EU had to choose between good relations with Russia and strong support for European integration for neighbours.  Conference discussion was not helped by a high Russian participant drop-out rate, for a variety of reasons, but debate was nevertheless lively, under authoritative and disciplined chairmanship.

We started from the EU/Russia relationship itself.  There was agreement that it was unsatisfactory, in many ways stalled, and even, in the view of a few participants, in danger of going backwards; but less agreement on the reasons for this or on whether and if so how the relationship could effectively be “reset”.

An early attempt to agree on the history of the 1990s, in order to remove this as a source of continuing suspicion and misunderstanding, failed.  Perceptions that the West had deliberately tried to weaken Russia in that period persisted on the Russian side, while some participants saw Russia as still operating partly from nostalgia for lost empire and a desire to control erstwhile parts of it.  These perceptions continued to burden relationships, even if  many in Russia and elsewhere wanted to move on and have Russia treated as a ‘normal’ country trying to exercise a role in the world and the neighbourhood consistent with her size and political/economic power.  If recent history could not be forgotten, or forgiven by some, it should at least not be manipulated to maintain divisions.  We needed to get away from the ‘cold war still in our heads’.

It was argued that, since both the EU and Russia were in relative decline in economic and political terms, they were therefore each less attractive and interesting to the other than in the past – though this could also on the contrary be said to increase the need to get on, given the external challenges to both. Some even claimed that Russia now had a viable ‘Eastern/Chinese option’, given the increasing Chinese presence in Russia and the attractions of China as an economic development model, compared to Europe.  Others thought this was an illusion, even in economic terms, and that Russia was ‘stuck’ with Europe as its major trade and investment partner for the foreseeable future, even if it did not want to emulate European attitudes to human rights and democracy.  Moreover Europe was not really declining as claimed.  For the European side, Russia was not modernising either politically or economically in the way that had been hoped, and its chances of effective diversification away from being mainly a supplier of energy and other raw materials looked slim in the short term, however desirable that might be. Initiatives such as the Skolkovo ’silicon valley’ looked unrealistically ambitious at Russia’s current stage of development.  Nevertheless Russia’s size, geographic location and energy resources made it an indispensable partner for the EU.  And while it was reasonable for at least some countries in Eastern Europe to worry about excessive dependence on Russian energy supplies, the dependence was two-way, with Europe representing for example 70% of Gazprom’s profits, while other developments were reducing the salience of this issue.  Meanwhile neither the EU nor Russia was factoring in properly the rise in Turkish influence and their likely future role.

Debate on how to change the EU/Russia relationship revealed significant differences of analysis.  Some on the EU side argued that, while progress was painfully slow, in practice the relationship was constantly thickening because of intensive contacts in different areas, and it would inevitably continue to move forward – a process labelled “socialisation” by some.  The glass was therefore half full.  Others, particularly on the Russian side, were more inclined to see it the other way round:  the ‘four spaces’ had proved to be empty boxes, negotiations on a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement were going nowhere fast, and Partnership for Modernisation was also little more than a slogan.  Russian leaders certainly had little interest in the formal relationship with the EU, and preferred to deal with EU countries bilaterally.  ‘Co-development’, mentioned by some as a way forward, sounded attractive but it was less clear what it meant in practice.

Did the EU actually have a common policy towards Russia, as opposed to EU countries pursuing their individual trade or other interests (Germany was most often mentioned in this category) without regard for a collective approach?  Again, opinions were divided.  Some thought policy was becoming less common, thus allowing Russia to play divide and rule at will.  Against this, it was argued that the EU had successfully agreed a comprehensive mandate for the new PCA negotiations, and had an effective framework, including for energy, under which individual countries could pursue their own concerns in a way which did not damage the collective interest.  Indeed the EU/Russia relationship should be viewed as the sum of both the overall and the individual country relationships.  They complemented each other, which for example allowed cooperation in some sensitive areas (crime, drugs, immigration) to be pursued bilaterally when it could not easily be pursued collectively.  This represented valuable diversity, not division. It was normal for Russia to play EU countries off against each other tactically if it could – the US and others did the same after all – but it did not mean that Russia was against a stronger and more united Europe.

However, even on this relatively positive reading, there were still very difficult areas.  For example the ‘value gap’ between the EU and Russia was still too wide, and the difference between law enforcement cultures too great, to allow effective pursuit of cooperation in areas such as Justice and Home Affairs.  The only real Russian interest was in visa liberalisation, and this would be a long, hard slog at best, not least because of wider European concerns about immigration.  On security, Russian opposition to NATO expansion remained fierce, while some countries in Europe were still inclined to see Russia as a security threat.  This made collaboration difficult, to put it no higher, despite the obvious common interest in avoiding security problems.  Little hope was placed by conference participants on the NATO/Russian Council or the OSCE for the time being, though it was acknowledged that the forthcoming Astana OSCE Summit could still be useful. CFE seemed irrecoverably stuck, and Missile Defence more likely to remain a bone of contention than an area for cooperation, though talking to the Russians about it more made obvious sense. And most participants saw little prospect for agreement on ideas such as those put forward by President Medvedev for a new European security architecture, which had been an unsuccessfully-pursued Russian objective for many years. 

Energy was naturally another area of vigorous debate, including on the extent to which individual companies or countries on the European Union side were pushing their own interests in a collectively damaging way.  The absence of EU energy competence was seen as partly responsible for this situation, but it was strongly argued by some that, once the overall regulatory framework was set, as it had been, energy should not be and was not subject to excessive political interference.  Others, particularly US participants, thought that this was dangerously naïve.  Energy supplies were inevitably an intensely political issue for any country.  The lack of transparency in most gas deals was an inevitable source of suspicion, as was the view that there could be no level playing field with Gazprom.  It was agreed that in any case it would be good to find some areas of mutually beneficial cooperation in this area, such as energy efficiency, where Russian and neighbourhood needs were huge.  On pipelines, Nord Stream was definitely going ahead, the general sentiment was that Nabucco might go ahead sooner than expected, and South Stream might also happen in 2024 if Gazprom had the cash.  Overall, the gradual diversification of routes, increased interconnections, and the good prospects for shale gas in some European countries should help to desensitize/depoliticise the gas issue over time, though Russia would remain a hugely important supplier for Europe, and Europe a hugely important market for Russia.

On economic cooperation more widely, both partners faced serious demographic issues, but this should not be seen as entirely bad news.  Russian workers were gradually becoming healthier, compared to the turbulent 1990s, and would live longer; and on the EU side, well-qualified people would be working longer if current turbulence in eg France could be overcome.  Nevertheless both partners would need considerable immigration over the coming years to meet labour force needs, and India could be an important source of labour for both in the future.  As a general point, there were obvious common interests in better economic and commercial cooperation, and many EU-based companies were trading and investing very successfully in Russia.  But in the absence of significant Russian modernisation, including in areas such as rule of law and sanctity of contract, there were limits to how far this process could go.  WTO accession was widely seen as the way to give future economic ties – and therefore EU-Russia relations - a major boost.  The battle in Moscow between protectionists and internationalists needed to be resolved.  But there were doubts over the degree to which the Russian elite really wanted to see success in the WTO negotiations, given the constraints on rent-seeking this might bring, and how far Russia would stick to WTO rules it had not made even if it did join (on the model of China).

Where would Russian policy go in the coming years?  Some thought Russian moves to settle the dispute with Poland over Katyn marked a significant change towards a more flexible approach, as did the cautious Russian welcome for the US “reset” policy and the progress on START.  Others were less convinced that these moves represented a real shift, as opposed to tactical adjustments.  It remained extremely hard to get inside the heads of the Russian leadership to see how far they now wanted more effective and positive partnerships with others, or a continuation of hard-nosed power politics.  This brought us squarely to the main issue of the conference:  the scope for cooperation over the six focus countries in the neighbourhood. 

The first question was whether it made any sense to treat these countries as a group, to which the general answer was no.  They were very diverse in many respects, including their stages of political and economic development, and had very different views of their own interests and futures.  They did not see themselves as a group or even talk to each other much. While it might seem neater for the EU to have an Eastern Neighbourhood Policy which embraced them all, in practice each country should be treated individually.  Nevertheless some smaller groupings could be identified:  Ukraine (despite the recent election outcome), Moldova and Georgia were in different degrees explicitly aiming for European integration and eventual EU membership, and saw it as in their interests to move in this direction, even if EU membership was not on offer for the time being.  Belarus might eventually move in that direction but was stuck for now on a different track.  Armenia was also interested in moving towards Europe but concern over Nagorno-Karabakh and the value of Russian military support seemed to dominate in present circumstances.  Azerbaijan was on a more authoritarian track and apparently uninterested in a different kind of relationship with Europe.

For its part, the European Union wanted to influence these countries in its direction, in terms of helping create open democratic societies, with the rule of law respected and regulatory and trade structures moving in the direction of European norms.  However, given current internal EU attitudes to further enlargement, and financial restrictions, EU membership would not be on offer for some years, at best, and the current 600 million euro support package under the Framework Agreement, regarded by the countries concerned as seriously inadequate, was unlikely to be increased significantly in the short term.  How realistic could EU conditionality be in such circumstances?  Free trade looked a long way away. So what was the EU actually offering or seeking?  There was a lot of support, including from EU participants, for the idea that the EU needed to go back to the drawing board for its Eastern Neighbourhood Policy, to work out a more differentiated, more strategic, and more potentially attractive approach.  And the EU should set its own policy without waiting for US leadership, while making a fresh effort to persuade Russia that its Eastern policy was in no way against Russia’s interests.

What did Russia want from its neighbours?  The Russians wanted security on their borders, no risk of contagion from Islamic fundamentalism or what they saw as undesirable developments such as the Orange revolution, and the ability to influence choices made by neighbouring states, as well as greater trade and economic cooperation.  They did not want to be ‘left alone’.  There was discussion but no agreement about how far these were ‘legitimate’ interests, and how far an unreasonable and unacceptable desire to dictate the destiny of other sovereign states.  Some participants made a distinction between legitimate interests and illegitimate methods of pursuing them.  Some suggested that Russia needed to come to see that its own security and other interests would be best secured by democracies and open societies on its borders, even if it did not choose to go in that direction itself.  Meanwhile, if Russia was not seen by its neighbours as offering much in the way of a model to follow, it could provide them with significant bilateral trade, investment, transport and infrastructure benefits if it chose to do so. Its influence could be said to be growing in most of the countries in these terms.

From the point of view of outsiders, how far did a policy of friendship and partnership with Russia have to be in conflict with a desire to promote European integration?  Polish policy provided an interesting example of evolution from a past choice of helping Russia’s neighbours keep away from Russia to today’s approach of finding a balance between the two.  This was more in line with the EU mainstream,  and an example of European policy convergence over Russia, but was it also weakening Poland’s ability to promote the integration into Europe of countries like Ukraine and Moldova?  While there was no agreement on how far Russia could be brought to engage in constructive discussion on these issues, it was clear to all that the policies of the EU and others had to take into account Russia’s interests and attitudes, and that leaving Russia out of the discussion was not an option. Greater respect for Russia was key here, as elsewhere.

Meanwhile there were some worrying developments, in the Caucasus in particular.  The wounds of the Georgia/Russia war were still fresh, and emotions correspondingly near the surface, as was evident at times during the conference.  It was hard to see how to make progress over this conflict in present circumstances.  Georgia was insisting on recognition that parts of its territories were occupied and that past Russian commitments be honoured before any further steps forward could be taken.  Russia was consolidating its grip on Abkhazia and south Ossetia, and in no mood to soften its approach.  But, it was argued by some, was Georgia not the sad exception, the result of miscalculation by both sides, rather than the rule?  Elsewhere, Russia was using different, softer methods to promote its influence – trade, investment, transport links, cultural diplomacy – and having significant success.

There were also fears that the Nagorno-Karabakh stalemate was increasingly unstable, as violent border incidents multiplied.  There seemed little prospect of effective outside mediation: the Minsk group had failed, Turkish-Armenian rapprochement had gone backwards, the EU seemed sadly unwilling or unable to take an active role, like the US, and Russia was also taking a back seat.  There was a real danger of renewed fighting.

These reflections tended to push us towards gloomy conclusions about the likelihood of improved EU/Russia relations in the short term, or of greater cooperation in the shared neighbourhood.  The search for shared objectives was doomed as long as our perceived interests were pushing us in different directions. Some therefore feared that we were condemned to continue going round in the same unsatisfactory and unproductive circles, short of a radical change of attitude on either side, particularly from Russia.  However others believed that progress could still be made through plugging away at deepening and thickening links, looking for common ground wherever possible, and meanwhile doing everything possible to raise trust and lower suspicion, including through a reduction in moralising about situations where no-one had behaved particularly well.  Outsiders might long to see a change in Russian behaviour and Russian modernisation, but they could not bring this about.  Such change had to come from within, and lecturing by others did not help – rather the reverse.  For its part, the EU should not be ‘scared off’ pursuing its aims in the neighbourhood by Russian pressure or threats (which paradoxically in any case pushed some of the neighbours more towards the EU).

We therefore kept coming back to the central importance of the EU/Russia relationship and the West/Russia relationship more widely (since the US was still a major player, though not much discussed on this occasion).  Without improvement here, the common neighbourhood would continue to be a source of divisions, rather than an area of cooperation and shared responsibility.  The predominant sentiment was that, in the likely absence of major change in Russia, a multitude of small practical steps should be pursued to improve the relationship, which would prepare the way for more dramatic leaps forward in the future: bottom-up, people to people, not top down.  ‘Modernisation by stealth’.  A minority but strongly held view, from both sides of the relationship, was that small steps would never be enough; a major conceptual/architectural leap, or at least a new overall umbrella/framework - a new paradigm - was still needed if distrust was to be overcome, and Russian leadership interest in the EU reignited.  Psychology was important. So top down had to be there too.  This debate was left unresolved, unsurprisingly, since it is a recurring theme in the relationship and there is no obvious new initiative to try.  There was more support for trying new formats/fora eg a revived and enlarged Weimar triangle (but not Russia/France/Germany), and for using the new two-way-facing government in Ukraine as a basis on which to start to build bridges.  Many participants believed that we faced a chicken and egg situation:  how could we seriously improve the relationship without serious change in Russian policies and democratic attitudes?  But could we realistically expect to see change in Russian policies and attitudes without a significant improvement in our relationship?

Against this unpromising background, a number of specific recommendations to help move things along with the neighbours were put forward, mainly for the EU side. In no particular order:

-          Keep the NATO and EU doors open for new members (including eventually for Russia herself), without naming names or pushing.

-          Intensify the dialogue with Moscow, including on issues which were not about Russia herself.  Russia had to be part of the discussion on the future of her neighbours, even if she could not have a veto.

-          Take a radical new look at the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood Policy.  If membership was not on the table for now, what about a package on the lines of what used to be called ‘privileged partnership’ in the Turkish context?

-          Treat each neighbourhood country individually and on its merits.  Use conditionality more positively.

-          Individual EU countries to pursue dialogue with neighbours in different, smaller groups, sometimes including Russia.

-          Look harder at education as an area for productive EU/Russia cooperation.

-          Pursue visa liberalisation wherever possible (it would be the biggest single positive change by far for most), even if it would remain difficult with Russia herself, and meanwhile reduce/abolish visa fees.

-          Continue efforts to defuse energy as a source of division, including through use of the South Eastern Energy Community.

-          The EU to sell itself better and speak more about what it was doing eg in helping provide biometric passports for Moldova.

-          More EU focus on capacity- and institution-building in the neighbours.

-          The EU to work harder to play constructive roles vis-à-vis Georgia and Nagorno-Karabakh, to mediate/mitigate conflict.

-          The EU to be more active in promoting cultural ties with the neighbours, and giving symbolic support in other ways, including to civil society.

-          The EU to beef up its presence (delegations) in the neighbours who were interested.

-          Letting some of the neighbours join in CFSP activities more.

-          The OSCE to be reformed away from too much unproductive emphasis on elections, eg towards better early warning (and action) mechanisms.

The dominant argument in the end was that we simply could not afford to wait for a democratic Russia to arrive, and needed both to improve links now, and to enhance our ability to help those neighbours who wanted to move forward peacefully and prosperously.  The bear had to be embraced more, not poked with sticks. Russia might be part of the problem but it certainly had to be part of the solution.  So the most encouraging aspect of the at times impassioned discussions was that everyone was looking for ways forward, recognising that the EU and Russia had to live together and had to find ways of living together more productively;  that a zero sum game approach, especially towards the neighbours, was ultimately in no-one’s interest:  that the rest of the world, particularly Asia, was not standing still as the EU and Russia danced around each other, and we all risked losing out if we could not move forward;  and that we therefore had to find win-win ways of “managing the space between us sensibly” or risk the protracted conflicts poisoning everything. The Polish EU Presidency in the second half of 2011 would want to promote a fresh look at these issues. This was a great opportunity, even if the risks of failure were high.

This Note reflects the Director’s personal impressions of the conference.  No participant is in any way committed to its content or expression.

 

PARTICIPANTS

Chair  :  Sir Rodric Braithwaite GCMG
Chairman, International Advisory Council, Moscow School of Political Studies (1997-).  Formerly:  Senior Adviser and Managing Director, Deutsche Bank AG. London (1994-2002);   HM Diplomatic Service (1955-93);  Prime Minister’s Foreign Policy Adviser (1992-93);  Ambassador to Russia, Georgia and Armenia (1988-92).  Chairman of the Programme Committee and a Governor, The Ditchley Foundation.

ARMENIA
Mr Raffi Hovannisian
Founder and President, The Armenian Centre for National and International Studies, Yerevan (1993-);  Member of Parliament and Chair, Heritage Party.  Formerly:  Minister of Foreign Affairs (1991-92).

BELARUS
Dr Vitali Silitski
Academic Director, Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies.

BELGIUM/UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Dr Sabine Freizer

Europe Program Director, International Crisis Group, Istanbul.  Formerly:  Director, Caucasus Project, International Crisis Group (2004-07).

CANADA
Professor Margaret MacMillan OC
Warden, St Antony’s College, Oxford (2007-).  Formerly:  Provost, Trinity College, Toronto (2002 07);  Professor of History, University of Toronto (2002-07);  Editor, International Journal (1995-2003).  Author.
Mr Christopher Westdal
Consultant in international affairs.  Formerly:  Canadian Ambassador to Russia, Uzbekistan and Armenia (2003-06), to Ukraine (1995-98).

CANADA/UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Professor Juliet Johnson

McGill University, Montreal (2003-);  Associate Dean, Research and Graduate studies, Faculty of Arts (2010-) and Associate Professor, Department of Political Science (2003-).

ESTONIA
Mr Marko Mihkelson

Member of Parliament of Estonia (2003-);  Chairman, European Affairs Committee.  Formerly:  Director, Baltic Centre for Russian Studies (2000-03);  Moscow Correspondent (1994-97) then Editor-in-Chief (1997 2000), Postimees newspaper.

EUROPEAN COMMISSION/UNITED KINGDOM
Mr Michael Leigh
Director General for Enlargement, European Commission, Brussels (2006-).
Mr Richard Tibbels
External Relations Directorate General, European Commission:  Assistant to the Deputy Director General for Relations with Eastern Europe, Southern Caucasus, Central Asia, North Africa, Middle East, Gulf and the European Neighbourhood Policy (2007-).  Formerly:  Political Desk Officer for Russia (2005-07);  Desk Officer for Georgia and Armenia (2003-05).

EUROPEAN UNION/SWEDEN
Ambassador Peter Semneby

EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, The European Union (2005-).  Formerly:  Head, OSCE Mission to Croatia (2002-05);  Head, OSCE Mission to Latvia (2000-02);  Head, European Security and Defence Policy, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Sweden (1997-2000).
 
FRANCE
Ambassador Philippe de Suremain
Member, Scientific Council, Fondation Robert Schuman, Paris.  Formerly:  French Diplomatic Service (1964-07);  Ambassador to Ukraine (2002-05);  Co-Chair, Minsk Group (2001);  Ambassador to Tehran (1998-2001).
Professor Marie Mendras
Professor, Institute of Political Science (Sciences Po), Paris and Research Fellow, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris (1983-).  Formerly:  Professor, Department of Government, London School of Economics and Political Science
(2008-10).

GEORGIA
HE Ms Salome Samadashvili
Ambassador of Georgia to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union (2005-).  Formerly:  Member of the Georgian Parliament and Deputy Chair, Committee on Foreign Relations (2004-05).

GERMANY
Dr Hans-Dieter Lucas
German Federal Foreign Office, Representative of Germany to the Political and Security Committee of the European Union, Brussels (2010-).  Formerly:  Special Envoy for Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia.

HUNGARY
Dr Csaba Balogh
Deputy Head, Department of Eastern Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Hungary (MFA) (2009-).  Formerly:  Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Hungary, Sofia (2004-09).

MOLDOVA
Dr Stanislav Secrieru
Associate Researcher, Centre for East European and Asian Studies, Bucharest (2008-).  Formerly:  Research Fellow (Study Program on Security in Europe), Institute for European Politics, Berlin (2009-10).

POLAND
Dr Agnieszka Legucka

Lecturer, National Academy of Defence, Warsaw (2005-);  Institute of International Relations, University of Humanities and Sciences, Piotrkow Trybulnalski;  Instructor, SENSE Programme (Strategic Economic Needs and Security Exercise) (2007-), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Warsaw.

RUSSIA
Dr Alexey Gromyko

Deputy Director, Institute of Europe, Russian Academy of Sciences;  European Programmes Manager, Russkiy Mir Foundation;  President, The Association of European Studies, Russia;  and others.
Dr Sergey Karaganov
Dean, School of International Economics and Foreign Affairs, State University – Higher School of Economics, Moscow (2006-);  Chairman, Valdai International Discussion Club (2004-);  Chairman, Editorial Board, Russia in Global Affairs, Moscow (2002-).

UKRAINE
Mrs Yuliia Belinska
Counsellor, EU and bilateral political affairs, Embassy of Ukraine, London.  Formerly:  Head of Policy Analysis and Prognosis Unit, EU Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kyiv.
Mr Maxim Boroda
Head of Socio-Economic Program, International Centre for Policy Studies, Kyiv.

UNITED KINGDOM
Dr Laurie Bristow

HM Diplomatic Service (1990-);  Director, Russia, South Caucasus and Central Asia, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) (2010-).  Formerly:  Deputy Ambassador, British Embassy, Moscow (2007 10);  HM Ambassador to Azerbaijan (2004-07).
Dr Fraser Cameron
Director, EU-Russia Centre, Brussels;  Director, EuroFocus-Brussels;  Adjunct Professor, Hertie School of Governance, Berlin;  Senior Advisor to the European Policy Centre, Brussels.  Formerly:  Advisor, European Commission.
Mr Charles Grant
Co-Founder and Director, Centre for European Reform (1996-);  Board Member and Trustee, British Council (2002-);  Member, International Council, Terra Nova:  Advisory Board Member, Moscow School of Political Studies.  A Member of the Programme Committee and a Governor, The Ditchley Foundation.
Professor Philip Hanson
Associate Fellow, Chatham House Russia and Eurasia Programme, The Royal Institute of International Affairs;  Emeritus Professor of the Political Economy of Russia and Eastern Europe, Centre for Russian and Eastern European Studies, University of Birmingham. 
Mr James Nixey
Manager and Research Fellow, Russia and Eurasia, Chatham House, London
(2000-).  Formerly:  Goldman Sachs (1999-2000);  The Moscow Tribune (1997-).
Mr Jonathan Paris
Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council of the United States;  Associate Fellow, International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, King’s College London;  Consultant, US Government, Washington DC;  Political, Economic and National Security Analyst;  Member, International Institute for Strategic Studies and Council on Foreign Relations.
Dr Alex Pravda
Director, Russian and Eurasian Studies Centre, St Antony’s College, Oxford
(2008-);  Lecturer in Russian and East European Politics, Oxford University (1989-);  Associate Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House, London (2005-).

UNITED KINGDOM/GERMANY
Ms Katinka Barysch
Centre for European Reform:  Deputy Director (2007-).  Formerly:  Chief Economist (2001-07);  The Economist Intelligence Unit, London:  Eastern Europe Editor
(2000-02); Senior Editor/Analyst, Eastern Europe Department (1998-2000).

UNITED KINGDOM/RUSSIA
Ms Oksana Antonenko
International Institute for Strategic Studies, London (1996-):  Senior Fellow and Programme Director, Russia and Eurasia.  Formerly:  Director, research project on Shanghai Co-operation Organisation and Security Challenges in Central Asia
(2006-07).

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Dr Samuel Charap
Fellow, National Security and International Policy Program, Center for American Progress, Washington DC.  Formerly:  Visiting Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies (2008-09).
Ms Heather A Conley
Director and Senior Fellow, Europe Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington DC.  Formerly:  Senior Adviser, Center for European Policy Analysis;  Executive Director, Office of the Chairman of the Board, American National Red Cross (2005-08).
Dr Fiona Hill
Senior Fellow and Director, Center on the US and Europe, The Brookings Institution.  Formerly:  National Intelligence Officer for Russia and Eurasia, National Intelligence Council, Washington DC.
Mr Stephen Kaplan
Principal, Booz Allen Hamilton, McLean, Virginia (2010-).  Formerly:  Central Intelligence Agency (1980 10);  Vice Chairman, National Intelligence Council;  Director of the President’s Daily Briefing and Office of Policy Support, White House.
Mr Jeremy Shapiro
Senior Adviser, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, US Department of State (2009-).  Formerly:  Director of Research, Center on the United States and Europe, The Brookings Institution.