Maria Lipman, Journalist and author
Dr. Hans-Peter Hinrichsen, Head of divicion for Russia, Belarus, Moldova and Eastern partnership, Federal Foreign Office
Gustav Gressel, Visiting Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations
The ECFR Berlin Office invited to discuss Russias relations to Europe. Focus point was how domestic realtiies in Russia reflect on foreign relations. Despite hikups, Russia's society continues to accept the status quo as the risk of changing are perceived as too high.
Putin takes advantage of existing self-perception in terms of a special and great Russia and uses this atmosphere to propagate a difference to the rest of the world. State dominance over regions, elites and businesses remains.
The situation in Ukraine was commented as not successful for Putin due to a misscalculation from Putin's side.
In result it was agreed that Russia still depends on good relations to Europe eventhough it has suffered recently. This builds on close existing cultural links and good experiences in economic trade.