On 13 May, the Politics and the Estonian Societies hosted Dr Ainus Lasas, Lecturer at the University of Bath in European Politics. Dr Lasas talked about security in the Baltic Sea region and after Russia’s occupation in Crimea.
More than 100 people from different backgrounds and nationalities attended the talk contributing positively to the discussion, posing interesting and challenging questions.
Dr Lasas talked about security in the traditional realist view of securing the state against any attacks and the systematic changes, or in other words the changes in relationships between actors and states.
The talk underlined the limited economic impact on the Baltic Sea following the Russian intervention and the militarisation of the region. Nato has increased its presence from four to twelve jets, while it also plans to create an air base in Estonia for air policing. At the same time Sweden is said to increase its defence budget from £7.1 bn in 2014 to almost £8.2 bn by 2024.
According to Dr Lasas the most important systemic shift comes from Finland and Sweden which during the Cold War regarded neutrality as a key concept for surving, and now view Nato’s as the right policy for the future. This can be regarded as a response to the perceived threating regional Cold War, or a growing mutual distrust. On the one hand Russia views the EU as an economic expansion of the Nato, while on the other hand the West and the Baltic states see any Russian movement with suspicion.
The lecturer in one of his answers, during the questions and answers session, said that the future of Ukraine is not clear. He argued that it is not easy to say how Russia will react. In an answer concerning indiviadual action, he suggested to people to write to newspaper and let the rest of the world listen to their voices.
The Chair of the Estonian Society, Kadi Tamjarv, agreed with the President of the Politics society, that “it was a great opportunity to have Dr Lasas at our university to talk about security in the Baltic sea, especially at this period of time when the future of the region is at stake”. “We would like to thank all the people who attended the event. We hope that they found it both enlightening and intellectually inspiring”.
For the video of the talk visit the Politics Society’s website.