World in Transition

  • Russia, Ukraine and the Chance for a Global Democratic Future
  • Conference, Lecture

The current world order is being massively challenged right now. This day conference looks at Putin’s Russia and its war of aggression, at inert narratives and fuzzy analyses that have left us relatively unprepared to lurch into the current situation. What does a possible peace look like and what role will the West play in it? We also look at the importance of disinformation in guiding political interests.

Program and guests:

10:00 Uhr
Gesine Dornblüth
What makes Russian society tick?

When Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24, 2022, most of Russian society didn’t seem to care. This is not surprising. For years, Russian expansionism has been guided by the conviction that, socially, it is the law of the strongest. Violence is accepted by many as a means of politics. For decades, nationalist forces have prevailed over advocates of democratic values. Only if we understand and assess Russia’s society correctly and act accordingly will we have a chance of peace in Europe in the future.

Gesine Dornblüth, born in 1969, holds a doctorate in Slavic studies and is a radio journalist. She was Deutschlandfunk correspondent in Moscow for 5 years. Since the early 1990s, she has made numerous research trips to Russia and the entire post-Soviet region. Most recently, she co-authored with Thomas Franke the book Jenseits von Putin. Russia’s Toxic Society (2023).

Roger Cohen

Putin’s Ongoing War

The war in Ukraine is barely felt in Moscow, but it is felt all the more in the country’s poorest regions and on its borders. How long the toll can be obscured could determine the fate of the Russian leader and his country.

British-American journalist Roger Cohen, born in London in 1955, has traveled from Moscow to Siberia and the Ukrainian border to speak with the people there. Cohen has been the Paris bureau chief of The New York Times since 2020. In 2023, he and his team were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for their Ukraine coverage.

13:00-14:00 Break

Katja Gloger
Communication as a weapon

In addition to conventional weapons, Russia uses a wide range of hybrid threats, including disinformation. The distortion of facts as well as distraction and uncertainty are recurring patterns – this goes both against its own population as well as against the people in Ukraine and their supporters. At the same time, freedom of the press within the country has been increasingly restricted for many years, and critical journalists have been murdered in several cases. Can social media counteract this and what does this issue mean for the chance of a democratic future in Russia?

Katja Gloger, born in 1960, is a historian of Eastern Europe and was Russia correspondent for Stern, where she witnessed the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of the new Russia. She was the first Western correspondent to accompany Putin for months. In 2010, she received the Henri Nannen Award in the “Documentary” category. Today Gloger works as a freelance journalist and author focusing on Russia and security policy and is a board member of Reporters Without Borders.

Nico Lange
Turn of the times

As early as the fall of 2020, the Munich Security Conference predicted that German foreign and security policy was in danger of being unable to keep up with the pace of global change. Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s speech to the German Bundestag at the end of February 2022 set out new options to counter this forecast, and a change of direction seemed within reach. In many respects, however, implementation has yet to take place. What is the current status of the “special case Germany” and how can we send stronger signals without giving the Russian elite an excuse for further escalation?

Nico Lange, is a political scientist and communications scholar and has been Senior Fellow for the Zeitenwende Initiative at the Munich Security Conference since July 2022. For the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, he headed the Ukraine Foreign Office in Kiev and later the USA Foreign Office in Washington. He was deputy federal executive director of the CDU and head of the management staff at the Federal Ministry of Defense until 2022.

Stefanie Babst
The West under pressure

The West was unable to prevent Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which violated international law. The consequences of the war will shake Europe and the world for years to come. Not only Russia, but also its close partner China poses enormous strategic challenges for NATO. NATO expert Stefanie Babst provides insights into the inner workings of the alliance. Her gripping analysis not only shows how we are being steered into disaster with our eyes wide open, but also opens our eyes to a necessary change of course: the West must finally develop a clear stance of its own – and summon up the courage to confront Russia and its supporters with unity and strength.

Dr. Stefanie Babst worked for 22 years in leadership positions in NATO, including as Deputy Assistant Secretary General. At that time, she was considered the highest-ranking German in the NATO General Secretariat. Most recently, she was responsible for global communications and crisis foresight. Since 2020, she has been a strategic advisor and supports the European Leadership Network in London.


Please note: Fortunately, we have found more great speakers who will shed light on the topic “Welt im Umbruch” from different perspectives. As a result, there will now be a full day conference on Saturday, October 07, 2023 starting at 10 a.m. Catherine Belton will be a guest speaker at a later date.


Ticket Prices (plus fees)

Regular price 24,90 €
Reduced price 19,90 €
Member price 14,90 €

Box Office at a premium