Sign up here to be notified when registration opens

Russia’s antagonistic relations with the West have surged over time, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine causing a near complete rupture. In this year’s Annual Russia Conference, we examine the worsening spiral of relations since 2014.

What has been the impact of words and language use? Is political rhetoric merely propaganda or has official rhetoric mattered on a more fundamental level? More concretely and for the future, what are the trade-offs between threat of force and talk across the table in Russia-West relations? Finally, given Russia's war against Ukraine, what are the prospects for Russia–Europe relations?

This year’s conference is also the capstone conference for the NUPI led project When every act is war – post-Crimea conflict dynamics and Russian foreign policy (WARU).


08:30 Opening and welcome
  By NUPI Director Kari M. Osland
08:35 Opening speech
  By Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt
08:50 Introducing the conference
  By NUPI Research Professor Julie Wilhelmsen
09:00 Discussion I: Do words matter in Russia-West relations?
  This discussion will address how Russia and the West have related to each other in recent years, through the prism of their rhetoric about each other. Zooming in on Russian rhetoric and action, this panel will discuss Russia’s interpretation of colour revolutions, Western ‘double standards’, and specific foreign policy discourses and practices. What are the implications? How to distinguish between ‘propaganda’ and ‘worldview’? Does language use and rhetorical interaction matter?


  • Professor Viacheslav Morozov, University of Tartu (introduction)
  • Senior Research Fellow Kristian Lundby Gjerde, NUPI
  • PhD Fellow Anne Roth Hjermann, University of Cambridge
  • Assistant Professor Elizaveta Gaufman, University of Groningen
09:55 Coffee break
10:10 Discussion II: Confrontation and diplomacy in Russia-West relations
  This discussion will address strategies of force, support and diplomacy in Russia-West relations following Russia’s war on Ukraine from 2014. A downward spiral in Russia-West relations has resulted in a near total lack of trust and communication. Following Russia’s invasion in 2022, diplomacy seems to have become obsolete. Speakers will discuss the current US debate on how to deal with Russia and the war in Ukraine, whether Russia can compromise, and consider the scope and prospects for diplomacy within the current great power context.


  • Professor Gerard Toal, Virginia Tech (introduction)
  • Professor Karina Korostelina, George Mason University
  • Senior Consultant Anna Arutunyan, Mayak Intelligence
  • Research Professor Kristian Berg Harpviken, PRIO
  • Moderator: Deputy Director Marte Heian-Engdal, NOREF
11:15 Keynote speech: Is Ukraine part of Europe now, and could Russia accept it?
  ZOiS Director Gwendolyn Sasse delivers the keynote speech followed by a conversation with the moderator (TBC)
11:35 Discussion III: The Future of Russia-Europe relations
  This discussion develops Sasse’s keynote further by examining the issues and stakeholders that shape future Russia-Europe relations. How complete is the break in Russia-EU relations? How do young Russians and Europeans relate to each other? What role do civil society actors play in Russia-Europe relations? Will relations in the High North follow a different pattern from elsewhere along the new Russia-NATO border?


  • Associate Professor Sergey Utkin, University of Southern Denmark
  • Senior Research Fellow Félix Krawatzek, ZOiS
  • Department Manager Daria Korolenko, OVD-Info
  • Senior Research Fellow Kristin Haugevik, NUPI
  • Moderator: Journalist Sten Inge Jørgensen, Morgenbladet
12:25 Conclusion