Research Director, German-Russian Forum. Member of the Valdai Discussion Club Advisory Board.
He studied at the Munich State University and gained an MA in History and Political Sciences (1988). His academic career involved work as project researcher for the Federal Institute for East European and International Studies, Cologne (1978-90); senior analyst at the Research Institute of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Munich (1982-94); program director for Russia and Eurasia at the German Council on Foreign Relations, Bonn/Berlin (1994-2012).
Since 2012 he serves as Senior Advisor Russia for Wintershall Holding and as consultant for the President of the German-Russian Chamber of Foreign Commerce.
He was awarded with the German Federal Cross of Merit (2003) and he holds honorary professorships at the Moscow State Institute for International Relations and Higher School of Economics, Moscow.
He is board member of the Petersburg Dialogue (German-Russian civil society forum); board member of Yalta European Strategy; member of the Advisory Council of the Valdai Club, Russia; and cofounder of the Berlin Eurasian Club (Kazakhstan). He published several books. He frequently serves as commentator for international media.
The current dilemma in Ukraine-European Union relations reveals serious shortcomings in the EU’s Eastern Partnership. Ukraine should base its decisions on the domestic economy’s mid-term potential. Russia should not get involved in European geopolitics and, then take credit for Ukraine’s decision, as if it was a Russian geopolitical achievement.
EU does not lose hope that Azerbaijan would some day sign an agreement with Turkmenistan, and maybe even with Kazakhstan, to build the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline to add a new meaning to the idea of Nabucco. But it is certainly a topic for a very distant future.
The Valdai experts believe that President Putin is trying to pinpoint a new political tradition in Russia, where demand is growing for a European identity that differs from a Western identity. Most Russians support the idea of a “conservative revolution” as a means of standing separate from the West while remaining a European nation.
Russia is searching for a path into the modern world because it wants to be a modern state and to play a leading role in the global economy. On the one hand, Russia is looking for the goals and ways to become a modern and strong state, economically strong. But on the other hand, it does not want to become part of the West.
Russia should consider coming up with a western policy concept using the old ideas of Germany’s eastern policy. A “conservative revolution” is unfolding in Russia as a response to the western postmodern mindset, but there are a lot of conservatives and traditionalists in the West as well. Russia should renew its dialogue with the EU on the creation of a free-trade zone, and could get there by accelerating the adoption of WTO rules.
According to Valdai Club experts, the search of President Evo Morales’ plane at a Vienna airport was not so much a violation of international law as it was a breach of international norms. The Europeans demonstrated to the Bolivian president that his country, like other countries of Latin America, has peripheral status.