Europe and Russia in times of the Ukrainian crisis. KFG and MAXCAP at the Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften. Part 1: MAXCAP student debate

Aug 05, 2015

Students debating the Ukrainian  crisis

Students debating the Ukrainian crisis
Image Credit: Bettina Volke

Students debating the Ukrainian crisis

Lena Leisten
Image Credit: Bettina Volke

Pirin Marinov

Pirin Marinov
Image Credit: Bettina Volke

Students debating the Ukrainian crisis

Elisabeth Gniodorosch
Image Credit: Bettina Volke

Students debating the Ukrainian crisis

Katalin Kristof
Image Credit: Bettina Volke

Report 1: MAXCAP Student Debate on Ukraine: Discussions on how to Enhance Peace

The crisis in Ukraine has been on the pages of newspapers and on the agenda of world leaders for more than a year. Yet, a solution is no way near despite several high level meetings and roadmaps developed during negotiations in Minsk. To provide a fresh viewpoint on the crisis and its possible solutions, Nelli Babayan and Julia Langbein organized a student debate on the topic as part of the Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften on 13 June 2015 at Freie Universität Berlin.

Four teams of students represented the different negotiation parties in the Ukrainian crisis – Ukraine, Russia, the European Union, and the United States – and presented to the audience scenarios and strategies for the resolution of the conflict. Thus, they had the opportunity of reimagining official rhetoric and proposing creative solutions. The audience decided the winners of each round by cheerful applause after listening to the teams presenting the following proposals:

The team representing the European Union emphasized the importance of further support for economic and civil society development in Ukraine and pressure on Russia, while maintaining a close dialogue between all parties at stake. The team supported upholding sanctions, called to avoid deeper militarization of the conflict, and rejected propositions of arms delivery to Ukraine as well as the latter’s NATO membership.

Underlining the shared history, culture and religion, the team representing Russia emphasized Russia’s role as a loyal and stable partner for Ukraine. The team argued that Russia should not be seen as an aggressor but rather as protecting suppressed minorities. It advanced the federalist option for Ukraine, arguing that it would allow representation for all groups in the country, and restore Ukraine’s position as an intermediary between Russia and the West.

In order to stabilize the situation in Ukraine and to ensure long-term peace within the boundaries of Europe, the team “Ukraine” urged the European Union to acknowledge Ukraine as an essential part of Europe and to integrate it further into the European network. Moreover, the team’s main goal was to end the war with Russia. The team stressed the need to defend the Ukrainian population and prevent any further losses – if necessary with the help of arms supplies.

The team “USA” called for Russia’s complete withdrawal from Ukraine and effective termination of military actions. It called upon Russia to repeal the annexation of Crimea and to respect Ukraine’s decision for a closer partnership with the European Union. In the case of non-compliance by Russia, team “USA” threatened to apply further sanctions, whereas in the case of cooperation, it emphasized its willingness to negotiate a solution and alleviate the sanctions.