In post-Maidan Ukraine, failing governmental action is substituted by voluntary work. While the Ukrainian state is failing in many aspects, Ukrainian society is very strong.
Senior Policy Fellow
Areas of expertise
Eastern Europe; Russia; armed conflict and military affairs; defence policy; missile defence; missile proliferation
German and English (fluent), Spanish and Polish (conversational)
Gustav Gressel is a senior policy fellow with the Wider Europe Programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations’ Berlin office. His topics of focus include Russia, Eastern Europe, and defense policy.
Before joining ECFR, Gressel worked as a desk officer for international security policy and strategy in the Bureau for Security Policy of the Austrian Ministry of Defence from 2006 to 2014, and as a research fellow of the Commissioner for Strategic Studies with the Austrian MoD from 2003 to 2006. He was also a research fellow with the International Institute for Liberal Politics in Vienna. Before his academic career he served five years in the Austrian Armed Forces.
Gressel holds a PhD in Strategic Studies at the Faculty of Military Sciences at the National University of Public Service, Budapest and a Masters Degree in political science from Salzburg University. He is the author of numerous publications regarding security policy and strategic affairs and a frequent commentator on international affairs. His opinions have appeared in media such as the New York Times, the Guardian, Die Welt, NZZ, Bild, the Diplomat, New Eastern Europe, Foreign Policy, Gazeta Prawna, Rzeczpospolita, Kyiv Post, the Moscow Times, Capital, the Telegraph, the Economist, Newsweek, Deutsche Welle, RTL, al Jazeera, TVP, TRT, Polskie Radio, RFI, FM4, Ukraine Today, and Radio Free Europe.
Ukraine has been an over-centralised state since its independence from the Soviet Union, but now the notion of “decentralisation” has taken hold in even tiny villages
Peace in Europe can be based only on equal rights to social, political, and economic development for all
Germany will probably try to hit all the brakes it can find at Riga
A resumption of Russian military provocations is likely, to keep Ukraine destabilised and maintain pressure on its government
Conservatives say Germany should pursue Bismarck’s policy of placating Russia, but a Bismarck of today would have a wholly different strategy
The European Council's recent declaration on the European energy market reflects to a large extent a compromise between the German position and the plans of Eastern European states
Austria is still sceptical about sanctions, but it will not challenge the bigger EU states without support
Germany needs to square the circle between domestic demands for restraint and isolationism and the increasing responsibilities of European leadership
There are more than a few reasons why the Minsk II might fail – and yet it’s still an outcome worth celebrating
The EU should conclude a security compact with Ukraine. Such an agreement would help the country defend itself against Russia and maximise the effectiveness of European military support.
To signal their commitment to Ukraine, Europeans should agree a ‘long-war plan’ of assistance against Russian aggression. This would include a ‘security compact,’ security assurances, and economic and energy support.
Russia’s capacity to carry out large-scale military operations against Black Sea states allows it to coerce and extort them
The EU’s work on its Strategic Compass should include debates on the special status states’ future role in European defence
The bloc should reframe how it speaks of human rights and democracy, while developing closer security and military links with select neighbours
The EU’s tendency to shy away from security issues has helped make covert operations and military threats Russia’s tools of choice in the region
If the EU is to be more geopolitically influential in its own neighbourhood, it needs to start developing strategic security partnerships with key neighbours to the east and the south
The EU, US, and NATO must ensure that these services remain high in the minds of the Zelensky administration and of Rada members
Europe should pursue a ‘dual track’ approach of confrontation followed by dialogue with unfriendly cyber powers
Introduction During the cold war, arms control and disarmament agreements helped create a stable equilibrium between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, reducing the…
European leaders must shift from supplying only short-term military support for Ukraine to providing long-term strategic assistance
Putin’s mobilisation is unlikely to change the direction of the war – if Ukraine’s Western allies remain steadfast in their support
Ukraine needs to move to a new phase of the war if it is to reclaim its territory occupied by Russia. A European plan to supply Leopard tanks should be at the heart of this effort.
Russia is the first state to use nuclear threats as part of a war of expansion. Unless it loses in Ukraine, the world will become a far more dangerous place.
Europeans should urgently increase Frontex assistance to Moldova, enhance intelligence cooperation, and consider positioning NATO units based in Romania closer to the country’s border
Russia is drawing on its Syria playbook and regrouping for a long war to seize the whole of Ukraine. The West needs to take action now to supply Ukraine with Western equipment.
Russia’s all-out war on Ukraine has convinced many European states to rebuild their militaries. In doing so, they should initially focus on readiness, capability gaps, and joint equipment procurement and research.
The Kremlin’s secrecy in waging war on Ukraine has created severe problems on the battlefield. Inadequate force generation seems responsible for many of these problems.
The coming days may determine whether Ukraine can preserve large parts of its army as a functional fighting force. In this crucial period, every shred of military support will count.
The Kremlin instrumentalises fear of nuclear war to make others bow to its ambitions. The West and Russia have often supported different factions in conflicts without sliding into a nuclear conflict.
Mark Leonard is joined by ECFR’s Piotr Buras, Gustav Gressel, Kadri Liik, and Jeremy Shapiro to describe and debate the potential military, security, and economic aspects of the long-war plan
How is Russia dealing with covid-19? What impact does the pandemic have on the other underlying political issues in Russia – such as the change…
It came as a surprise when Russia’s government resigned just hours after Putin’s announced his plans for a possible referendum of constitutional changes. Host Mark…
In this week’s podcast, Mark Leonard, Gustav Gressel and Kadri Liik analyse Macron’s plans and ideas for recreating the European security order, an initiative which…
ECFR’s director Mark Leonard speaks with ECFR Policy Fellows Stefan Soesanto, Kadri Liik and Gustav Gressel on Russia's interferences in Western politics. The podcast was…
What can the EU and NATO do to reduce the risk of escalation in the region?
What are the intentions behind the military build-up? How likely are the chances of escalation beyond the Donbas? How should the EU respond?