Date: Tuesday 29 May 2018
Time: 09.00–12.00 (coffee and registration from 08.30, lunch from 12.00)
Venue: Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies, Kongens gate 4
08.30–09.00 Coffee and registration
09.00–09.05 Welcome by Prof. Kjell Inge Bjerga, Director IFS
09.05–09.10 Introduction by Dr Ingerid Opdahl, Head of Programme, IFS
Panel 1. Evolution or revolution in Russian security and defence?
Prof. Katarzyna Zysk, Director of Research, IFS
Security and defence in Putin’s Russia: Evolution or revolution?
Dr Ingerid Opdahl, associate professor and Head of Programme, IFS
Foreign economic policy in Russia’s great power project
Christopher Weidacher Hsiung, fellow, IFS
The China-Russia alignment: What does it mean and what are the implications for Europe?
Panel discussion with Q&A. Moderator: Prof. Rolf Tamnes, IFS
10.20–10.35 Coffee break
Panel 2. Russian security and defence – does the domestic base matter?10.35–10.50
Dr Håvard Bækken, senior fellow, IFS
The militarization of Russian society
Dr Jardar Østbø, associate professor, IFS
Is Russia really mobilizing its population?
Ingvill Moe Elgsaas, fellow, IFS
Security cooperation in the age of international terrorism: an Arctic refreeze?
Prof. Rolf Tamnes, IFS
Russia as a security actor – implications for Norway
Panel discussion with Q&A. Moderator: Dr Paal Sigurd Hilde, IFS
Closing remarks by Prof. Katarzyna Zysk, Director of Research, IFS
Military reform, modernisation and International relations
At the beginning of Vladimir Putin's fourth term, Russia's international position is qualitatively different from the situation six years ago. The ruling elite's prioritisation of the security and defence sector over the past decade led to comprehensive military reform and modernisation across all defence branches. This has significantly increased both strategic mobility and the capability to conduct joint operations, and shortened reaction time.
The new capabilities have also boosted the political leadership's confidence to use the military to shape the international environment, as the wars in Georgia (2008), Ukraine (2014–), and Syria (2015–) have demonstrated in practice. At the same time, the political and economic ripple effects of Russia's policy in Ukraine have further undermined the country's economic and international standing. Relations with the United States and the European Union have reached a low point.
Simultaneously, Russia has made efforts to strengthen relations with China, yet its weaker international position affects also this relationship. Domestically, Russian foreign policy enjoys widespread popular support. However, the use of it as a tool to mobilise support for the regime has profound implications for political stability.