On 13 October, the ICDS/EFPI hosted a delegation of Members of the Parliament from the United Kingdom.
ICDS Director Indrek Kannik opened the roundtable by presenting the esteemed guests with an overview of the think tank’s activities. His introduction was followed by Dr Kristi Raik, Director of the EFPI, who spoke about Russia’s shifting military objectives in the war in Ukraine. She briefed the distinguished participants on the reactions, including further escalation and nuclear blackmail, to expect from ever more desperate Russia as Ukraine continues to make gains. In the new strategic environment taking shape post 24 February, she stressed that no common security order in Europe with Russia as a contributor would be feasible in many years to come. What is needed instead is a broader transatlantic cooperation against aggressive Russia. In this context, Dr Raik recalled that in December 2021, Russia had been demanding to redraw the entire security map in Europe, emphasizing that its appetite extended far beyond Ukraine.
The discussion continued to explain the reasons behind modern Russia’s actions that are deeply rooted in its imperial past, with its historical ambition to control and dominate its neighbours already solidified in its security thinking. Russia’s failure to democratize in 30 years since collapse of the Soviet Union, combined with Russian people’s apathy and mistrustfulness of democratic countries and systems, warrants a revised approach — built on realistic analysis instead of wishful thinking — from the West of how it should view Russia’s future.
Speaking about NATO’s response to the evolving crisis, the psychological domain — and Russia’s attempt to exercise reflexive control in particular — was brought into focus. In this light, Article 5’s credibility is essential, with potential hybrid, grey zone attacks trying to test and undermine it.
The roundtable touched upon other issues, among which were:
- Russia’s state terrorism;
- risks of arms proliferation;
- China’s interests;
- projections about Russia’s future and isolation as a long-term vision;
- Russia’s role in the Global South;
- future of JEF and the UK military force’s presence in Estonia;
- a Baltic view on Finland and Sweden’s strategic culture and its evolution within NATO.
Concluding the visit to the ICDS, the honourable Members of Parliament MPs were eager to learn the regional perspectives to share them with the British Government and their constituents at home.