On Wednesday, May 25 , 2016, The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) in Berlin held a discussion on relations with Russia in conjunction with the publication of the Transatlantic Academy’s 2015-2016 report, “Russia: A Test for Transatlantic Unity.” The Transatlantic Academy speakers were Angela Stent, director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European studies at Georgetown University; and Andrew Moravcsik, professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University. Knut Abraham, head of division for bilateral relations with the States of Central, Eastern, and South-Eastern Europe, as well as Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus at the German Federal Chancellery also joined the debate as a respondent. Opening remarks were made by Sudha David-Wilp, senior transatlantic fellow, and deputy director of GMF’s Berlin office; and the discussion was moderated by Stephen Szabo, executive director of the Transatlantic Academy.
Following the input from the speakers and respondent, the participants – among them entrepreneurs, civil society actors, academics, and politicians – discussed European and U.S. efforts to recast relations with Russia, and prospects for the future. A key subject of debate was the interaction between Russian and Western efforts in Ukraine, in particular the increasing value of political and geo-economic tools as opposed to military force. The effectiveness of both sanctions and of conditionality were explored, as well as the role of association agreements and prospects for EU accession in the Eastern Partnership countries. Alongside policymaking challenges, participants also considered the difficulties in bridging increasingly divergent narratives in Russia and the West.