Wrocław Global Forum: Day 2

On the same day that Ukraine swore in President Petro Poroshenko, attention at the Wrocław Global Forum turned to concrete proposals for the transatlantic community to support Ukraine’s new government and deter further aggression by Russian President Vladimir Putin.


Sikorski and Hadley: The Transatlantic Partnership and Ukraine’s Destiny

The day began with an address by Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, who outlined Russia’s drift from aspiring European partner to Western antagonist. “At some point, Russia ceased to be a candidate member of the West,” said Sikorski, adding that with its actions in Ukraine, “Russia has ended the illusion that the world can be managed to everyone’s advantage.” Sikorski outlined the stark choice before Ukraine’s new leadership in the face of Russian intimidation, warning, “You either start fighting corruption or enjoy the fruits of kleptocracy: You can’t have it both ways.” Joining Sikorski onstage was former National Security Advisor to George W. Bush Stephen Hadley and Atlantic Council President and CEO Frederick Kempe. Hadley affirmed Sikorski’s assessment, warning, “If we don’t take action to change the strategic landscape we will be faced with recurrent crisis.” He offered three policy prescriptions to undermine Putin’s strategy to destabilize Ukraine: combat Russian propaganda more aggressively; enact stricter sanctions against Russia while providing financial support for Ukraine; and offer stronger military support to Ukraine in order to change Putin’s strategic calculus.


Can there be a Europe Whole and Free?

The day’s second panel focused in on the propaganda war Russia is waging in Ukraine, a campaign described by moderator Anne Applebaum, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist, as “an assault on reality.” Joined by Voice of America Director David Ensor and US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Tom Malinowski, Applebaum led a discussion on the ways the United States and Europe can combat Russia’s potent blend of authoritarian propaganda tactics and modern media strategy. Malinowski stressed the need to improve outreach to and protection for Russian dissident journalists who have been censored and even jailed by Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian regime in order to provide trustworthy, independent media coverage to areas of Eastern Europe where Russian networks predominate. Ensor touted the success of Voice of America’s efforts to establish independent media in areas like Iran where press freedom is restricted and pointed to the network’s early successes providing a Russian-language service to Eastern Ukraine as a way to undercut Russia’s control over the media landscape.


Building a New Ukraine

The final plenary session examined challenges facing Ukraine’s new leadership, with an emphasis on rooting out corruption, establishing responsive government institutions, and ensuring Russia’s interference does not disrupt the country’s hard-won progress. Panelists Paula Dobriansky, former undersecretary of state for global affairs, Member of the European Parliament Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, Polish Institute for International Affairs Analyst Ievgen Vorobiov, and National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman highlighted the need to promote democracy and stability in Ukraine, an effort that could lead to spillover effects in Russia. “If I were Vladimir Putin,” said Gershman, “I’d be scared of people like [Ukrainian activist and former Eurovision winner] Ruslana.”

The Forum’s Conclusion

Marcin Zaborowski, Director of the Polish Institute of International Affairs and Frances G. Burwell, Vice President and Director of the Atlantic Council’s Transatlantic Relations Program delivered closing remarks for the Wroclaw Global Forum. In keeping with the theme of partnership, Zaborowski was magnanimous in his praise of the organizers and partners. Burwell concluded the Forum with the hope and optimism that the transatlantic partners would one day “welcome a new Ukraine as a free, whole, and fair nation.”


Top Tweets

Kateryna Kruk @Kateryna_Kruk
I can sum up @WGForum in one word: Inspiration. #WGF14 @PISM_Poland

Embassy of Poland US @PolishEmbassyUS
#Poland’s FM @sikorskiradek with US Senators @SenJohnMcCain, @SenRonJohnson and @ChrisMurphyCT at #WGF14 in #Wroclaw 

Wroclaw Global Forum ‏@WGForum
Quote of the day goes to @NEDemocracy’s Gershman: “If I were Putin I’d be afraid of @RuslanaOfficial” #Ukraine #WGF14