The post-Cold War international order continues to generate contradictions and vulnerabilities. Stability and predictability based on trust and effective institutions are being undermined by both old and new conflicts. Cooperation increasingly gives way to unilateral actions as states and societies face a broadening spectrum of security threats.

One of the epicenters of international tensions lies in Eastern Europe – a region marking a geopolitical fault line. Here, the status quo looks particularly perilous since the erosion of the rules of international conduct is taking place in the absence of a meaningful dialogue. Even expert forums, which are intended to seek solutions in the interests of peace and cooperation, have become part of the propaganda and information war. Essentially, existing expert platforms only generate more mutual accusations and thus further elevate international tensions. As a result, no real discussion about Eastern Europe’s present or future takes place.

Belarus is located at the heart of Eastern Europe. The country’s geographic position makes it particularly vulnerable to negative developments in the region. Escalating international tensions automatically amplify threats to Belarus’s security and complicate the country’s economic development. Moreover, historically, Belarus repeatedly fell victim to great power confrontation and became a battleground where rival armies clashed. Therefore, it has a strong “vested interest” in the prevention of major conflict in Eastern Europe.

Since the beginning of 2015, the Minsk Dialogue Track-II Initiative has provided an expert platform to explore ways of minimising regional tensions. Eleven international conferences and numerous thematic discussions have taken place and gathered representatives from various countries and international organisations. The Minsk Dialogue Forum will represent the next milestone in the initiative’s development. It will launch a large annual gathering of leading experts from Eastern Europe, the EU, Russia, the United States, and China. It will provide a prominent forum for discussions about present and future challenges to regional and international security.

 

Forum partners

Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung General partner
Compass Strategic partner
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
RAND Corporation
European Leadership Network
Austro-French Centre for Rapprochement in Europe (CFA)
Centre international de formation européenne (CIFE)
U.S. Embassy in Belarus
Belarusian State University
European Endowment For Democracy
SCHNEIDER GROUP
Minsk Marriott Hotel
Belteleradiocompany General media partner
International Politics and Society (IPS) Official media partner
Belapan Official media partner
Belarus 24 Official media partner
Current time Official media partner

Wednesday, May 23

14.00-15.00

Registration of the participants

15.00

Forum begins

15.00-15.30

Welcome remarks

Yauheni Preiherman

Head, Minsk Dialogue Track-II Initiative

Wolfgang Sender

Belarus Country Director, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Germany

Opening address

Vladimir Makei

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus

15.30-17.00

Inaugural plenary What Does the Changing World Order Hold for Eastern Europe?

The system of international relations faces its most dramatic challenge for decades. Geopolitical turbulence has spread to more and more parts of the world, which poses a question about whether the world order is undergoing a fundamental change and, if so, what this change is all about. The inaugural session will focus on the main trends in international affairs and their immediate and longer-term implications for Eastern Europe.

Sergey Glaziev

Advisor to the Russian President, Russia

Erkki Tuomioja

Member of the Parliament of Finland; Minister of Foreign Affairs of Finland (2000-2007; 2011-2015), Finland

Thomas Graham

Managing Director, Kissinger Associates, USA

Sun Zhuangzhi

Director, Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China

Knut Fleckenstein

Member of the European Parliament, Germany

Moderator

Jovan Kovačić

President, East-West Bridge, Serbia

17.00-17.30

Coffee break

17.30-19.00

Plenary session Looking inside the “Black Box” of East European Security

Whereas most international discussions about European security are dominated by great power narratives, little or no attention is paid to what smaller East European states think. In spite of multiple differences in threat perceptions and security narratives, these states are usually treated in security debates as “black boxes”. The session will examine the common and the divergent in how East European states feel about their own security and will look for common denominators in the region.

Oleg Kravchenko

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus

Volodymir Khandogyi

President, Ukrainian Foreign Policy Association; acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine (2009), Ukraine

Vladislav Kulminski

Executive Director, Institute for Strategic Initiatives; former Political Advisor to the Prime Minister of Moldova, Moldova

Gwendolyn Sasse

Director, Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOiS), Germany

Vyacheslav Kholodkov

Head, Centre for the Near Abroad Studies, Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, Russia

Eugene Rumer

Director and Senior Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, USA

Moderator

Wolfgang Sender

Belarus Country Director, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Germany

19.00-21.00

Reception

21.00-22.30

Parallel night-owl sessions (under the Chatham House Rule)

1. How Deeply Frozen is Transnistria?

Dirk Schuebel

Head of Division, Eastern Partnership Bilateral, European External Action Service

Timur Onica

Programme Officer East, European Endowment for Democracy, Belgium-Moldova

Andrey Devyatkov

Senior Expert, Foreign Policy and Security Programme, Centre for Strategic Research, Russia

Tony van der Togt

Senior Research Fellow, Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations, Netherlands

Eugene Chausovsky

Senior Eurasia Analyst, Stratfor, USA

Jörg Radeke

Managing Economist, Berlin Economics, Germany

Moderator

Elena Korosteleva

Professor of International Politics, Director of the Global Europe Centre, University of Kent, UK

 

2. Minsk Accords and a Peacekeeping Mission in the Donbas: Mission (Im)Possible?

Hanna Shelest

Editor-in-Chief, UA: Ukraine Analytica, Ukraine

Sergey Markedonov

Associate Professor, Russian State University for the Humanities; Expert, Russian International Affairs Council, Russia

Jana Kobzova

Policy Director, Rasmussen Global, Slovakia

Andrew Wilson

Senior Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations, UK

Vladimir Socor

Senior Fellow, Jamestown Foundation, USA

Moderator

Balázs Jarábik

Nonresident Scholar, Russia and Eurasia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Russia and Eurasia Programme, Slovakia

 

3. What Can We Learn from Past Failures to Modernise European Security Arrangements?

Sir Roderic Lyne

Adviser, Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House; UK Ambassador to Russia (2000-2004), UK

Alexander Iskandaryan

Director, Caucasus Institute, Armenia

Andrey Sushentsov

Head, Analytical Agency “Foreign Policy”; Programme Director, Valdai Discussion Club, Russia

Valbona Zeneli

Director of the Black Sea and Eurasia Program, College of International and Security Studies at the George C. Marshall European Center, Germany-Albania

Paul Révay

Member of the Board of Trustees, “Friends of Europe” (Belgium), France

Moderator

Tatiana Romanova

Associate Professor, Jean Monnet Chair, School of International Relations, St. Petersburg University, Russia

Thursday, May 24

07.00-08.00

Breakfast for international participants

8.30

Transfer to the Exhibition Centre (14 Pobeditely Avenue)

10.00-12.30

Plenary session How to Make Eastern Europe an Area of Cooperation rather than Confrontation?

Alexander Lukashenko

President of the Republic of Belarus

Thomas Greminger

Secretary General, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe

James Appathurai

Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy, NATO

Nikolai Bordyuzha

Secretary General, Collective Security Treaty Organisation (2003-2017), Russia

Maira Mora

Director General, Council of the Baltic Sea States

Christine Muttonen

President of the Parliamentary Assembly, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (2016-2017), Austria

12.30

Transfer to Minsk Marriott Hotel (20 Pobeditely Avenue)

13.00-14.00

Lunch

14.00-16.00

Break-out interactive sessions organised by the Forum’s partners

Break-out session 1. Getting out from in-between

In partnership with the RAND Corporation (USA) and Friedrich Ebert Foundation (Germany)

Samuel Charap

Senior Political Scientist, RAND Corporation, USA

Andrey Zagorskiy

Head of Department of Arms Control and Conflict Resolution Studies, Institute of World Economy and International Relations; Professor, MGIMO-University, Russia

Oleksiy Semeniy

Director, Institute for Global Transformations, Ukraine

Commentator

Alexander Iskandaryan

Director, Caucasus Institute, Armenia

Moderator

Reinhard Krumm

Head of Office, FES Regional Office for Cooperation and Peace in Europe, Germany

 

Break-out session 2 Making Conventional Arms Control Fit for the XXI Century

In partnership with the European Leadership Network (UK)

Werner Fasslabend

President, Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy; Federal Minister of Defense of Austria (1990-2000), Austria 

Ruslan Pukhov (TBC)

Director, Centre for strategy and technologies; member of the public council at the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, Russia

Łukasz Kulesa

Research Director, European Leadership Network, UK-Poland

Moderator

Sir Adam Thomson

Director, European Leadership Network; UK Permanent Representative to NATO (2014-2016), UK

 

Break-out session 3. Roundtable reflection 10 Years of the Eastern Partnership: Shaping a More Strategic Approach Together

In partnership with the Austro-French Centre for Rapprochement in Europe (Austria-France) and Centre international de formation européenne (CIFE) (France-Germany)

Valery Varanetsky

Chairman, Standing Committee on International Affairs, House of Representatives of the National Assembly, Belarus

Omid Nouripour (TBC)

Member of the Bundestag, Germany

Thomas Buchsbaum

Special Envoy for the Eastern Partnership, Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, Austria

Ghia Nodia

Director, International School of Caucasus Studies; Minister of Education and Science of Georgia (2008), Georgia

Céline Marangé

Research Fellow, Institute of Strategic Research at the French Ministry of Defence (IRSEM), France

Hovhannes Nikoghosyan

Adjunct Lecturer, American University of Armenia, Armenia

Carmen Claudín

Associate Senior Research Fellow, Barcelona Centre for International Relations, Spain

Moderator

Florent Marciacq

Deputy Secretary General, Austro-French Centre for Rapprochement in Europe, Austria-France

16.00-16.30

Coffee break

16.30-18.00

Plenary session The Belt and Road Initiative in Eastern Europe: Towards New Economic and Security Synergies by Breaking Up with Old Geopolitics?

The Belt and Road Initiative raises extraordinary expectations but, at the same time, causes serious concerns in different parts of Eurasia. Some believe that China’s grand projects will alter the geopolitical map of the continent by embedding mutually beneficial cooperation beyond existing divides. Others worry that Beijing’s strategic ambitions will only add to present-day geopolitical tensions. This session will discuss the implications of the Belt and Road Initiative and other China-led cooperation projects for various aspects of security in Eastern Europe.

Muhammadyusuf Saydali (TBC)

Rector, Tajik National University, Tajikistan

Andrey Sushentsov

Head, Analytical Agency “Foreign Policy”; Programme Director, Valdai Discussion Club, Russia

Li Qinggong

Director, Centre for National Security, Eurasian System Science Research Association, China

Anar Valiyev

Associate Professor, ADA University, Azerbaijan

Trine Flockhart

Professor, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark

Suren Sargsyan

Co-founder, International and Comparative Law Centre of Armenia; former advisor to the Prime Minister of Armenia, Armenia

Moderator

Eugene Chausovsky

Senior Eurasia Analyst, Stratfor, USA

18.00-19.00

In conversation (Dis)Continuity in the EU’s Foreign and Security Policy?

Johannes Schraps

Member of Bundestag, Germany

Charles Grant

Director, Centre for European Reform, UK

Thomas Gomart (TBC)

Director, French Institute of International Affairs (IFRI), France

Hannes Swoboda

Director, International Institute for Peace; former Member of the European Parliament, Austria

Moderator

Tobias Flessenkemper

Programme Director and Senior Fellow, Centre international de formation européenne (CIFE), France-Germany

19.00-19.20

Presentation of the GCRF COMPASS Project implemented by the University of Kent and University of Cambridge in cooperation with the Belarusian State University, Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy, Dushanbe National University (Tajikistan), and the University of World Economy and Diplomacy (Uzbekistan).

Elena Korosteleva

Professor of International Politics, Director of the Global Europe Centre, University of Kent, UK

Siddharth Saxena

Director, Central Asia Programme, University of Cambridge, UK

19.20-21.00

Reception

Key-note address

Baroness Suttie 

Lords Spokesperson, House of Lords, UK

21.00-22.30

Parallel Night-Owl Sessions (under the Chatham House Rule)

Session 1. Implications of the Sanctions War between Russia and the West for Eastern Europe.

Valery Kantorov 

Advisor to the Executive Director, Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund, Russia

Volodymir Fesenko

Chairman of Board, Penta Centre, Ukraine

Joseph Vann

Director of the Counter Transnational Organised Crime Programme, George C. Marshall European Centre for Security Studies, USA

Ulf Schneider

Managing Partner, Schneider Group; Co-Chairman, Working group on the common economic space from Lisbon to Vladivostok, Germany

Jacek Giedrojć

Founding Partner, Warsaw Equity Group, Poland

Moderator

Daniel Krutzinna

Managing Partner, Civitta; Supervisory Board Member, Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus, Belarus

 

Session 2. NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence: Implications for Eastern Europe?

Vladimir Senko

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus (1994-1997), Belarus

James Appathurai

Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy, NATO

Nadezhda Arbatova

Head, Department for European Political Studies, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia

Oleksiy Semeniy

Director, Institute for Global Transformations, Ukraine

Tobias Bunde

Head of Policy and Analysis, Munich Security Conference Foundation, Germany

Moderator

Anna Maria Dyner

Head of the Eastern Europe Programme, Polish Institute for International Affairs, Poland

 

Session 3. Belarus’s Foreign Policy in the Regional Context

Pyotr Krauchanka

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus (1991-1994)

Grigory Ioffe

Professor, Radford University, USA

Balázs Jarábik

Nonresident Scholar, Russia and Eurasia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Russia and Eurasia Programme

Kamil Kłysiński

Senior Fellow, Department for Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW), Poland

Andrey Kazakevich

Director, Institute of Political Studies “Political Sphere”, Belarus

Commentators

Paul Hansbury

Associate Fellow, Minsk Dialogue Track-II Initiative, UK

Andrey Vardomatsky

Founder, “NOVAK”, Belarus

Moderator

Wolfgang Sender

Belarus Country Director, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Germany

Friday, May 25

08.30-09.30

Working breakfast Common Economic Space from Lisbon to Vladivostok:  a Fantasy or a Future Reality? (in partnership with the Schneider Group)

Tony van der Togt

Senior Research Fellow, Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations, Netherlands

Bernhard Thies

President, European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC); Chairman of the Board of Directors, DKE, Germany

Kamil Kłysiński

Senior Fellow, Department for Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW), Poland

Commentators

Sergey Shukhno

Director, Department of Integration Development, Eurasian Economic Commission

Alexandra Dienes

Research Associate, Friedrich Ebert Regional Office for Cooperation and Peace in Europe, Austria

Moderator

Ulf Schneider

Managing Partner, Schneider Group; Co-Chairman, Working group on the common economic space from Lisbon to Vladivostok, Germany

9.30-10.30

Morning session The Eurasian Economic Union: Current and Future Trajectories

Sergey Shukhno

Director, Department of Integration Development, Eurasian Economic Commission

Aleksey Matsevilo

Head, General Department of Economic Integration, Ministry of Economy of Belarus

Michael Emerson

Associate Research Fellow, Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Belgium

Dmitry Chervyakov

Economist, German Economic Team Belarus, Germany

Kirill Entin

Counsellor, Court of the Eurasian Economic Union

Moderator

Viktor Shadurski

Dean, Faculty of International Relations, Belarusian State University, Belarus

10.30-12.00

Plenary session Gaps in Security Regimes and Institutional Lacunae in Eastern Europe: Can Regional and Sub-Regional Organisations Do More?

Existing security regimes have been highly instrumental in restraining provocative behaviour by state actors. Yet, they have obviously lagged behind today’s security environment. Growing military and political tensions point to the necessity to close multiple gaps and adapt security regimes to the needs of the present day. This, in turn, leads to the discussion about the relevance and effectiveness of regional and sub-regional international organisations in the realm of security. The session will explore Eastern Europe-specific gaps in security regimes and which institutional lacunae can be addressed as a matter of priority.

Joris Voorhoeve

Chair, Netherlands Advisory Commission on Peace and Security AIV; Minister of Defence of the Netherlands (1994-1998), Netherlands

Werner Fasslabend

President, Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy; Federal Minister of Defense of Austria (1990-2000), Austria

Ivan Antonovich

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus (1997-1998), Belarus

Tinatin Khidasheli

Minister of Defence of Georgia (2015-2016), Georgia

Andrey Zagorskiy

Head of Department of Arms Control and Conflict Resolution Studies, Institute of World Economy and International Relations; Professor, MGIMO-University, Russia

Bruce McClintock

CEO, Zenith Advisors Group; policy analyst, RAND Corporation; former defence attaché in the US Embassy in Russia, USA

Moderator

Dzianis Melyantsou

Belarus’s Foreign Policy Programme Coordinator, Minsk Dialogue Track-II Initiative

12.00-12.30

Coffee break

12.30-13.30

Plenary session The Old and the New in East European Security: Discussing Ways Forward

Sir Adam Thomson

Director, European Leadership Network; UK Permanent Representative to NATO (2014-2016), UK

Samuel Charap

Senior Political Scientist, RAND Corporation, USA

Sergey Markedonov

Associate Professor, Russian State University for the Humanities; Expert, Russian International Affairs Council, Russia

Volodymir Fesenko

Chairman of Board, Penta Centre, Ukraine

Reinhard Krumm

Head of Office, FES Regional Office for Cooperation and Peace in Europe, Germany

Moderator

Yauheni Preiherman

Head, Minsk Dialogue Track-II Initiative

13.30

Closing remarks

Forum adjourns

13.45-14.45

Lunch

Excursion to the Strochitsy village (optional)