Russia’s all-out invasion of Ukraine has thrust the world into a dangerous and volatile era. Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to undo Europe’s post-Cold War settlement, control his neighborhood, and disrupt the influence of open democratic societies, not because of what they do but because of who they are. He is determined to use military force and coercion to change Europe’s map. The implications are profound for the future of Russia, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe. I offer regular commentary on the issues.  

In recent years I have partnered with my colleague Stefan Meister, head of the Robert Bosch Center at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), and the Robert Bosch Stiftung to explore Russia-European-American dynamics in a turbulent time.

During the initial phase of our project in 2015-2016 we focused on the need to identify common elements of a Western strategy towards eastern Europe and Russia, via a Transatlantic Strategy Group of eminent persons. That phase resulted in a book entitled The Eastern Question: Russia, the West and Europe’s Grey Zone.

During 2016-2017 we focused on perspectives from east European and Russian experts and opinion leaders, who offered a reality check for the recommendations we made in The Eastern Question. This phase resulted in two publications. The first, entitled Eastern Voices: Europe’s East faces an Unsettled West, features east European authors. The second, entitled The Russia File, features Russian authors representing a range of perspectives on future relations.

In 2018 we have generated a number of scenarios — narratives of alternative futures – that can enable decision-makers to play out the potential ramifications of choices they face today. These scenarios are not about linear extrapolations of trends, they are about making connections among different trends in ways that stretch our thinking, enable us to think beyond “business as usual,” and allow us to include black and white swans as we look to the future. In Brussels and in Washington, DC we conducted the scenarios with high level U.S., east/west European and Russian participants.

Read the results of the scenario building in our Russia and the West 2028.

We also moderated a virtual scenario exercise in June 2018 in cooperation with Friends of Europe as part of their annual Debating Security Plus exercise.

For more, the project description on the Robert Bosch Stiftung website and the DGAP website.


What does the future hold for relations among Russia, Europe and the United States? I have worked with my colleague Stefan Meister at DGAP, with support from the Robert Bosch Stiftung, to construct a series on future scenarios. In cooperation with Riddle we have asked next-generation authors from Russia and eastern Europe to comment on these scenarios:

Pavel Luzin: Scenario 2028: Russia’s Foreign Policy
Павел Лузин: Сценарий 2028: Внешняя политика России

Yuri Tsarik: Belarus and Russia: On the Evolution of a “Hybrid Union”
Юрий Царик: Беларусь-Россия: сценарии эволюции «гибридного союза»

Leonid Isaev: The Middle East after the U.S. Withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal
Леонид Исаев: Ближний Восток после выхода США из СВДП

Igor Gretsky: Poland and Russia: A Conflict of Incompatible Identities
Игорь Грецкий: Польша-Россия: конфликт несовместимых идентичностей

Stepan Goncharov: Russians’ Changing Attitudes to the USA
Степан Гончаров: Как будет меняться отношение россиян к США? идентичностей

 What are the consequences of Prague’s friendship with the Kremlin?
Иван Преображенский: К чему приведет дружба Пражского града с Кремлем?

Julia Petrovskaya: Russia and the West in a Balkan Deadlock
Юлия Петровская: Балканы: противостояние с ограниченным эффектом

Kirill Shamiev: Hungary and Russia in the (post) Putin Era
Кирилл Шамиев: Венгерско-российские отношения в эпоху (после) Путина

Anton Barbashin: Russia-West in 2028: Counter Terrorism as a Path to Rapprochement?
Антон Барбашин: Сценарий 2028: общая угроза терроризма как плацдарм для сближения России и Запада

Olga Irisova: If You Want Peace, Prepare for Peace
Ольга Ирисова: Хочешь мира – готовься к миру