May 12, 2022

The Lennart Meri Conference Will Focus on the Global Impact of the War in Ukraine

Illustration: Eiko Ojala
Illustration: Eiko Ojala

Tomorrow, in the afternoon of 13 May, eminent foreign and security policy experts will arrive in Tallinn for the 15th Lennart Meri Conference to analyse the global impact of the war in Ukraine and discuss how the West can put further pressure on Russia to withdraw from Ukraine and take responsibility for war crimes.

The motto of this year’s conference is “Time flies”—a reference to the Roman poet Virgil’s description of how time escapes irretrievably. There are times when action must be taken here and now. Here and now, the nations espousing Western values must resolutely stand up to Russia’s imperialist war in Ukraine and threat against Georgia, Moldova and other countries. “This is not a time for strategic patience,” says Eeva Eek-Pajuste, director of the Lennart Meri Conference. “A millennium ago, the state of Kievan Rus’ was born in Ukraine. Now it is the site where the future of Europe will be determined.”

The impact of Russia’s hostilities extends far beyond the military theatre. The European Union, NATO and other international organisations failed to prevent the war, atrocities and crimes against humanity. The conference will discuss the first conclusions to be drawn from this failure and what needs to be changed. What should be done in the realms of cyber and information space, intelligence, energy security, arms control and other areas? How has the Kremlin’s propaganda and restrictions on freedoms affected the mindset of Russians, and what can opposition forces exiled from Russia and Belarus do?

In the years following the restoration of Estonia’s independence, President Lennart Meri emphasised that time is short and waits for no one—it is crucial to take advantage of the opportunities that open only for a brief moment. The time window is now open for Finland and Sweden to join NATO and for Ukraine to move towards the European Union.

The speakers at the Lennart Meri Conference include President Alar Karis and Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment Camille Grand, Deputy Prime Minister and Integration Secretary of Moldova Oleg Serebrian, US Department of Defense Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Celeste Wallander, US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, Bellingcat Executive Director Christo Grozev, and Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies philosopher Ivan Krastev. The foreign and defence ministers from several countries are also taking part in the discussions.

The Lennart Meri Conference will take place from 13 to 15 May at the Radisson Collection Hotel in Tallinn and the working language will be English. Only invited guests will be able to enter the conference area, but public discussions will be live streamed on the conference website at lmc.icds.ee/livestream/.

More details about the conference and speakers as well as the schedule are available at lmc.icds.ee/.

The Lennart Meri Conference is organised by the International Centre for Defence and Security in cooperation with the Lennart Meri European Foundation. The 2022 conference is supported by the Estonian Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government Office, NATO Public Diplomacy Division, Elering, the National Endowment for Democracy, Swedbank, Jaan Tõnisson Postimees Foundation, Baltic-American Freedom Foundation, US Embassy in Estonia, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, City of Tallinn, European Commission Representation in Estonia, BLRT Group, Infortar AS, Saab, BAE Systems, Tallinn Airport, Møller Baltic Import SE, Hyundai and Iris Janvier.

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