Russia Seminar

National Defence University 8.2.2019 15.27 | Published in English on 8.2.2019 at 15.44
Press release

The National Defence University's Russia Seminar will be organised in the Santahamina Building on 25 April 2019. The seminar is open to the public. The seminar discusses Russian security policy and the research development in that field. The National Defence University organises the seminar in cooperation with the University of Helsinki and the Hybrid Centre of Excellence. The Mannerheim Foundation has granted financial support that enables the organising of the seminar.

Themes of the seminar are Russia’s security policy, as well as cyber security. The presentations and discussions will highlight both Finnish and international research. The main organisers of the event ate Military Professor, Lieutenant Colonel Petteri Lalu from the National Defence University, and Assistant Professor Katri Pynnöniemi from the Aleksanteri Institute of the University of Helsinki.

This year's main speakers, Michael Kofman are Kati Parppei, are the foremost experts in their field. The two speakers will bring different perspectives to the conversation: one focuses on contemporary issues, the other concentrating on the historical backgrounds of security policy ideas-.

– Michael Kofman is currently one of the most well-known researchers in the field of Russian Armed Forces analysis. His estimates are usually very current and realistic. As an American he often has a perspective that is refreshingly different from the Finnish ones. The subject of Kati Parppei’s research is using historical narratives in building a nation and how to ground its policies. The use of historical metaphors and images as means in politics has increased in Russia since the early 2000s. We wanted to bring out the fact that also research in this area increases out understanding of the world around us, and might even challenge us to evaluate the objectivity of our own nation’s historical narratives, Lalu says.

The seminar will have concurrent session, so you can choose which to participate in according to your on interest. The Cyber and Security policy -themed sessions provide you with the opportunity to delve deeper into interesting topics and to network with other experts in the field.

– With these concurrent sessions we want to expand the seminar, and to offer both the speakers and the audience more opportunities to interact with one another more . One large lecture hall does not easily offer that possibility. I believe that the good presentations alone will act as conversation starters, Lalu surmises.

The seminar will be more international compared to last year. Whereas the previous seminar was mainly in Finnish, this year the presentations are in English, and we hope that international guests will attend the seminar.

– This year’s seminar is also directed at an international audience, and it may thus enable the networking of researchers with international projects and discussions. The seminars have an annual theme. This year’s presentations bring forth the latest Finnish and international research on Russian enemy representations, cyber, and information influence, Pynnöniemi says.

Auxiliary events:

This year also sees the original idea of hosting auxiliary events related to the Russia Seminar at the University of Helsinki. A panel discussion on Russian security policy is held at the University’s Think Corner, right after the actual seminar day, on Friday 26 April at 10.30–12.00. Additionally, on Wednesday 24 April at 14.00 the Aleksanteri Institute is having a discussion session based on the newest book of Chatham House’s well-known Russia expert, Keir Gilles.

In addition to the two universities, also other actors are involved in organising the seminar. With us, organising this seminar, are the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, and the Mannerheim Foundation that supported the seminar also last year. The cooperation of many actors describes the true scientific community very well, Lalu thinks.

– The seminar cooperation serves as a reminder to all of us, that research results do not just come forth in the lonely researcher rooms and that you cannot create the knowledge base relating to developing security or defence within one research field, Lalu adds.

– With these slightly different types of functions we are able to extensively present the research pertaining to Russian foreign and military policy, and make the research data better available for students, public officials and the public at large. Perhaps through this, we can contribute a positive note to the way researched information is appreciated, Pynnöniemi adds.

The National Defence University’s Russia Seminar 2019 will be held in the Santahamina Building on 25 April 2019. Further information about registering for the seminar, its speakers and programme can be found on the website of the National Defence University. Seminar registration: