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Russia Seminar will gather international experts to Santahamina

National Defence University
Publication date 8.2.2024 14.45
Press release

The National Defence University will hold its annual Russia Seminar in Santahamina, Helsinki from 14-15 February. The theme of this year’s seminar will be ”Russia's War Against Ukraine – Complexity of Contemporary Clausewitzian War”.

The Russia Seminar is a leading research forum on the Russian military domain. It has an aim of disseminating researched information on  Russian military and security policy and bringing together researchers experts on these subject matters.  The seminar strengthens the National Defence University’s role as a leading edge institute for research on Russia globally.  

“The goals also include maintaining awareness of where Russia is at, and obtaining researched information from the international research community for the National Defence University’s  instruction and research.  According to the National Defence University’s Strategy, the event is aimed at both strengthening existing connections and networks and creating new ones”, Senior Researcher at the NDU Pentti Forsström says. 

The seminar comprises more than 30 presentations by international experts covering Russia’s military policy, the Russian State, Armed Forces, relationships with the civilian society and, in particular, the ongoing war in Ukraine.  Forsström is confident that the presentations as a whole will serve the Defence Forces. 

Senior Researcher Pentti Forsström

“The presentations will not only generate researched information bound to support research and instruction at the NDU, but they will also be useful for the Defence Forces for defence system development, for example” Forsström says. 

Assistant Professor Katri Pynnöniemi emphasizes the importance of networks in the rapidly changing world: “The information obtained from the international researcher community helps us update and compare the bases of our analyses and thus keep involved in international dialogue that is more important than ever now that Finland has become a member of NATO.” 

NATO and Finland’s expertise on Russia

The 2024 Russia Seminar is the first one after Finland became a member of NATO. This event, which has been very international to start with, keeps attracting international attention due to our country's NATO membership.  The seminar is expecting representatives from a number of countries, but also from EU and NATO organisations.  

“We got a very good coverage from the international researcher community. In addition to Ukraine, Germany, France and Sweden, there will be representatives from the European Council on Foreign Relations think tank among others.  There will also be a representative from the Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum, which I think is a good indication of the fact that we have been recognized in the NATO structures as well, Forsström says. 

Finland’s expertise on Russia has been top level for a while now, but has there been a change in the level of expertise?

“Professor Bettina Renz stated in her recent Sotataidon ytimessä podcast that Finland has never lost its expertise on Russia “for self-evident reasons”.  We maintain military situation and research awareness, and I believe that our expertise on Russia will be in demand and a worthwhile contribution to NATO”, Forsström says. 

Assistant Professor Katri Pynnöniemi

“What is special about Finnish research on Russia compared to many other countries is that we work with all levels.  For example, we are able to work with analytic concepts regarding how changes in the Russian society impact the Russian Armed Forces.  Finland’s expertise on Russia, in other words, stands out because of being so versatile”, Pynnöniemi adds. 

More information:

Seminar website
Seminar programme
Podcast episode previewing the seminar

Seminar communications:

Public Affairs Officer Juho Autio
[email protected]
+358 299 530 123