ICEUR Master Class with Olga Romanova, 31.10. 2016, 6:30 PM, Möllwaldplatz 5, 1040 Vienna - 'Civil society in the Russian Federation?'

Welcome to ICEUR!

ICEUR-Vienna in brief

ICEUR-Vienna is an independent and non-partisan think tank which elaborates policy-relevant analytical materials and provides strategic intelligence for business, politics and science. Founded as a brain trust for strategic research in 2008 by prominent Austrian and Russian personalities from the academia, the foreign politics and business communities, it was mandated to improve the relations between the EU and the New Independent States. ICEUR – Vienna has pursued its mission by building its reputation as a forum for the business-like exchange of ideas and the elaboration of policy recommendations as well as providing a meeting place for business people, experts and policy makers bent on achieving concrete outcomes.


It is committed to the paramount goal of promoting mutual understanding and rapprochement of people on both sides of fences and dividing lines in Europe and beyond.

ICEUR´s network includes personalities and institutions across a wide range of countries, entities and organizations and is not associated with any political faction. This attitude has greatly contributed to the fact that ICEUR-Vienna has become a brand name which stands for a dynamically developing venture with a track record and with great potential for future ambitious ventures. ICEUR publications and memorandums generated at its expert meetings are closely followed by political and economic decision makers. Our organization is considered a channel of interaction that complements existing official diplomatic and economic institutions as well as other settings. For ICEUR, trust building and a responsible treatment of sensitive information is a key priority. Due to its rapid reaction capacities and its privileged access to expert resources, ICEUR-Vienna can offer real-time and in-depth analysis and intelligence as well as efficient fast-track solutions to complex problems.

Our network:

ICEUR disposes of a network
of experts and contacts which has grown and expanded over the years of its operation. Our core geographic area is the Ex-USSR, but we are also well connected in the CEE area and the Western Balkan. The excellence of our local expertise may be gathered from the list of personalities who have delivered master classes or have participated in other ICEUR events. Not all experts wish to be listed explicitly, since they prefer to be independent of any institutional affiliation.

ICEUR is a non-profit organization, but receives no government subsidies and is not dependent on permanent sponsors. The costs for the maintenance of its infrastructure and its activities are covered by
- The sale of customized analytical material on request as well as regular reports via subscription
- Consulting and trouble- shooting for corporate members and other individual business clients
- Membership fees
- Targeted sponsorship for events

Catering to business needs-the ICEUR Business Community

Our core capacity,
the retrieval, processing and structuring of strategic intelligence, translates into customized service offerings for business, which are not easily available in the respective markets. Such special offers include
- Market analysis and monitoring
- Trouble shooting and facilitation services concerning concrete business projects
- Customized status and credit inquiries concerning potential and actual partner companies
- Medium- and long-time expert forecasts and trend analysis
- Organized exchange of business-relevant information

To facilitate relevant communication, we have established the ICEUR Business Community (IBC). This is a loosely institutionalized business meeting taking place at regular intervals, where members and prospective clients get together to discuss new ideas and opportunities, are provided with updates on important developments and enjoy our hospitality in an enabling environment.

The IBC is membership-based. Our policy on membership is to invite interested corporations and other companies to join ICEUR-Vienna on the terms specified in individualized corporate membership contracts. The contract ensures immediate direct access to expert resources and the services listed above at significantly reduced fees.


Strategic information-tailored to your needs:

Be the first to know what is relevant. You can select from our info menu or order specific in-depth analyses:

- Background reports on the domestic political situation in the post-Soviet area and Eastern Europe

- Changes in the composition of political and business elites

- Military and security country reports

- Financial and commodity market dynamics

Periodic monthly reports may be subscribed to at the following rates
- € 200 / month
- € 540 /3 months
- € 2,000 / year

Prices for special in- depth analyses ordered by individual clients are calculated on a time/person basis

Strategic information-tailored to your needs:

- Successful business is knowing the right people: In case you are interested in expanding your business abroad, we can provide the necessary local contacts and know-how. We can assign one of our local managers to your project, who “knows the ropes“ and can chaperon you through the business meetings, administrative procedures, and contacts with decision-makers. He/she will also assist you to find suitable and trustworthy local partner companies.

- In case you feel you need a European partner company to manage a joint project, we are ready to make relevant proposals. At this point, we are responding to requests and demand arising in the food and construction branches.

- Problem shooting: Misfortune happens, projects may go wrong. For such cases, our local partners can try to find smart solutions for your problem. Since business operates in a political environment, our political contacts have often proved helpful and decisive. For our problem-shooting clients we offer a step-by-step approach in lieu of a package deal in order to minimize their financial risk.

- Seminars and training events covering various topics can be organized on request

- Crowd intelligence: Nobody has all the answers at all time. Join our business community, where ideas are hatched, discussed and planned.




ICEUR Master Class with Olga Romanova
Civil society in the Russian Federation?
Co-hosted by International Institute for Peace, Vienna

In all countries, civil society is hallmarked by the specific structural and cultural properties of politics and society at large. Russian human rights activist and chairperson of “Russia behind bars”, Olga Romanova, presents her account of the sui generis civil society in Russia, taking the prison world as a point of departure.

Introduction: Hans-Georg Heinrich, Vice President, ICEUR
Lecturer: Olga Romanova
Time: 31 October 2016, 6:30 PM
Language: Russian with German translation
Venue: International Institute for Peace
Möllwaldplatz 5, 1040 Vienna
Please register: ICEUR Vienna

See program


Russia-EU: resetting the relationship?

As the stalemate in official relations
Ambassador Entin´s presentation was a skillfully designed attempt at couching cautious overtures into official boilerplate language. While putting the blame for the present standstill in EU-Russian relations on the Western side, he nevertheless indicated that there was wriggle space, especially when it comes to business projects.


ICEUR Master Class with Tinatin Khidasheli:
Contemporary Security Challenges in the Caucasus

Georgia´s former Minister
of Defense and one of the prominent representatives of the Republican Party of Georgia, Tinatin Khidasheli, impressed an audience of diplomats and experts by her sweeping optimism and her clear-cut authentic stances. She considers NATO membership for Georgia the only viable security option and is adamant in her belief that Russia would not risk a war in the event. When it comes to the separatists regions she feels that as Georgia will become more attractive the Abkhazians and South Ossetians will return to the fold. Future will show whether this Georgian dream is a pipe dream or preempted reality.


ICEUR Master Class :: Whither Moldova?

Mr. Popov´s master class
turned out to be a full-blown analysis of and a farewell to what he called the “Plakhotniuk system” – in his description, a system of elaborate controls over key government agencies facilitated by rampant corruption. His bold step to renounce his diplomatic career, he announced,signifies the departure for his political struggle to build a better Moldova.


ICEUR convenes experts from oil-producing countries

Responding to suggestions and requests
from various Austrian and international communities, ICEUR invited top-level economists from Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan to discuss the impact of low energy prices on the post-Soviet economies. The two Russian panelists, Mr. Inozemtsev and Mr. Tabakh, agreed that the outlook was gloomy, but that coping strategies are in place and major social upheavals are unlikely. Mr. Inozemtsev predicted a period of 2 years until reserves would be depleted. Ms. Mamutova drew the attention to the fact that the situation in Kazakhstan is somewhat volatile, but the Kazakh economy is heavily dependent on the Russian market and to a certain extent follows its trajectory. Ms. Rzanova painted a more optimistic picture of the Azerbaijan economy. According to her analysis, the country´s leadership is well aware of the situation and is working toward diversification and other counter-strategies to cope with the crisis

See Tabakh's Presentation
See Makhmutova's Presentation


Round Table: Crisis in Moldova – Searching for Ways Out

On 25-02-2016 ICEUR and its cooperation partner,
the Renner Institut, hosted two high-level insiders of Moldavian politics (Mr. Vladimir Batrincea, Executive Secretary of the Moldavian Socialist Party and Mr. Valeriu Chiveri, until recently Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs), who shared their views of the situation. The parties which they represent or they refer to are opposed to the present government, but they were split concerning the strategy toward the EU and Russia. The Socialists would prefer a full integration into the Moscow-backed Eurasian Union and a return to the status prior to the association agreement with the EU, while the pro-Europeans would like to see fuller EU integration culminating in membership. This illustrates the ephemeral character of the present tactical cooperation between various opposition groups. Mr. Wojahn, the representative of the EU Commission in Austria, highlighted the critical stance of the EU toward the government in office and expressed the readiness of the Union to work with all legitimate political forces.


ICEUR continues dialogue program

The most recent event in the dialogue program, which featured the newly appointed ambassador of the RF, Mr. Dmitriy Lyubinskiy ,and the former Austrian ambassador to the RF, Franz Cede, was testament to the importance of providing a neutral and informal platform for the exchange of opinions. The Russian ambassador highlighted the traditional good relations with Austria and the need for deeper international co-operation, particularly in Syria, where according to him, chances to achieve a solution had been missed in the past. He also argued, that the incomplete fulfillment of the Minsk agreements by the authorities in Donetsk and Luhansk was a result of a failure of the Ukrainian side to meet its obligations to change the constitution and electoral legislation.


Master Class with Ekaterina Schulmann
Russian Elites: The Impact of the Ukrainian and Syrian Crises

ICEUR – Vienna hosted Ms. Ekaterina Schulmann, the rising star of the Russian community of political scientists and analysts for a Master class organized jointly with the Renner Institut. Ms. Shulmann pointed out that she is studying systemic processes, an approach that makes reference to inside information (“gossip”) superfluous. In her view, Russia´ s “hybrid” system is geared toward survival. Although Russian elites subscribe to wild conspiracy theories about sinister outside forces uniting to destroy Russia, she thinks that the country is entangled with Western society and world markets to a degree which makes complete isolation and a relapse to totalitarianism impossible.


ICEUR Master Class with Vladislav Inozemtsev

Will economic decline in Russia affect the sustainability of the political system?

Mr. Inozemtsev delivered
a pungent analysis of the resilience of the Russian economy and its capacity to stabilize the political system. His conclusion was that despite unfavorable conditions the present regime will be sustained for years to come.

Audio interview


ICEUR hosts Ukrainian visitorse

The Institute for World Politics (Kiev)
is touring Europe to meet with decision makers and experts and discuss with them issues of the relations between Ukraine and the EU. Vienna was one important station on their circular trip which was to ensure that Ukraine would not be forgotten as a result of such events as the Russian intervention in Syria or the refugee crisis. While the Ukrainian panelists demonstrated that the country is aware of the need for political and economic reform, the Austrian experts produced massive evidence that Ukraine was still high on Brussel´s and Austria´s agenda.

See Presentation


ICEUR Master Class with Anton Tabakh

Mr. Tabakh diagnosed a slowly progressing crisis of the Russian economy,
which set in already before the sanctions came into force. Investments are down and consumer demand is weak. The reserve funds are depleted and social security appropriations are being slashed. Nevertheless, he expects stabilization already by the 3rd quarter of 2015. A return to robust growth is contingent on high energy prices.

See Presentation of Mr. Tabakh


ICEUR Master Class with Arseni Sivitskiy
Belarus: a new foreign policy deal?

ICEUR-Vienna has hosted Mr. Arseni Sivitsky,
the director of the Minsk-based brain trust Center for Strategic and Foreign Policy Studies for a master class. Mr. Sivitsky´s major message was that under the impact of the Ukrainian crisis, Belarus is currently repositioning itself toward the Western World and toward Russia. His analysis impressed the audience through the business-like and relaxed style and the openness in which he dealt with such delicate subjects as political prisoners in Belarus.


ICEUR panel discussion
In cooperation with Renner Institute, Vienna

The Conflict in Eastern Ukraine, Regional Perspectives,
Consequences for Transnistria?

The panel was formed of political analysts and peace building experts who looked into the wider implications of the current standoff in Ukraine. The speakers drew the attention to the fact that Russia tries to press its strategic priorities in both Ukraine and Transnistria and that similar tendencies can be observed in those two regions as well as in Russia itself. Nevertheless, the scenario of a further Russian – sponsored military advance toward Mariupol´ and Odessa was considered hardly likely, since Russia´s main strategic objectives have already been reached.


ICEUR Master Class with Danylo Lubkivsky

Ukrainian government optimistic despite unfavorable situation
In his talk to a select audience, Mr. Lubkivsky
gave an overview about the mileage covered by the new government in terms of shoring up business regulations and anti-corruption measures. He pointed out that Ukrainians are confident to reach the targets earmarked for the coming years despite what he termed Russian aggression and the heavy economic losses ensuing from it.


ICEUR Master Class with Aleksey Malashenko
In cooperation with Renner Institute, Vienna

The Challenge of Radical Islam: Echoes of Paris

Radical Islam has been identified
as a major threat for Western lifestyles. The media focus on terrorism in Europe and the Near East obfuscates the fact that Russia has been confronted with a similar threat for a long time. Despite the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, there are common security concerns which call for concerted joint efforts by Russia and the EU

Aleksey Malashenko chairs the Carnegie Moscow Center’s Religion, Society, and Security Program and Russia´s most well known expert on Muslim affairs.


ICEUR continues dialogue program 29.01.2015
The second ICEUR Dialogue was,
for obvious reasons, dedicated to the Ukrainian tragedy. The recently appointed Ukrainian ambassador, Mr. Oleksander Scherba and the head of the Eastern Europe department of the Austrian Foreign Office, Ms. Heidmaria Gürer, gave insightful talks on the origins of the crisis and the current situation. The ensuing discussion addressed such controversial points as Ukraine´s bid for NATO membership, draft evasion in Western Ukraine and EU policies toward Russia. The ICEUR team feels, that its objective to provide a neutral discussion platform has been fully met.


ICEUR Master Class with Olga Romanova
Russia: Civil Society Behind Bars?

Olga Romanova,
the president of „Russia Behind Bars“, an NGO which monitors the conditions in Russian prisons and extends concrete support to prison inmates and their families, put the current situation into a broader historical perspective. She described Tsarist Russia, the Soviet Union and the new Russia as prison-happy systems, which regularly engulf a sizeable proportion of the population, either as inmates or guards. In contrast to other societies, the Russian prison world has become part and parcel of society at large. This is evidenced by the ubiquity of prison slang in everyday life.

Despite her critical attitude, Ms. Romanova does not consider herself, her organization and the thousands of volunteers to be in political opposition. Rather, the movement is a response of civil society to an issue which is not taken up by official politics.


ICEUR initiates dialogue program
In response to suggestions
of our presidency and to the foot-dragging in conflict resolution, ICEUR has started a new format of public discussions. The first event in this framework consisted in a live discussion between Mr. Nechaev, ambassador of Russia in Austria and our co-president, Mr. Swoboda, who has been involved in high-profile conflict management missions. The two speakers presented their views on the origins, the status quo and the future of the Ukrainian crisis in a controversial, but professional and pragmatic manner. Ambassador Nechaev pointed out that Russia is used as a convenient scapegoat and denied any breaches of international law by the Russian side. Mr. Swoboda conceded inconsistencies and shortfalls in Brussel´s policies toward Ukraine, but maintained that Russia had also contributed to the escalation. Both protagonists agreed that there is no alternative to continuing the dialogue using such existing mechanisms as OSCE monitoring or reviving successful past ventures such as the Helsinki process.
For our part, ICEUR feels that new dialogue channels should be opened to complement high-level negotiations from a bottom-up vantage point.

Listen to the Ö1-Mittagsjournal
Watch Full report
Read Der Standard
Read Contra Magazin


ICEUR Business Seminar 11.11.2014
In his analysis
of the origins of the Ukrainian conflict, ICEUR co-president Hannes Swoboda identified the deficiencies of the EU approach, while underlining at the same time that Russia´s conduct in the Crimean issue as well as in Eastern Ukraine had changed the standard rules of international interaction. Nevertheless, he came out strongly for a continued dialogue as the only alternative for a settlement of the conflict.

See Program
See Summary
See Presentation of Sergey Afontsev
See Presentation of Natalia Akindinova
See Presentation of Natalia Zubarevich


ICEUR Master Class with Alexander Morozov
The Ukrainian crisis and Russian domestic politics
Mr. Morozov
had been asked to analyze the impact of the Ukrainian crisis on domestic politics in Russia itself. Quoting inside information, he identified a clear realignment among Russian elites in that the military as well as personalities who had won merits in connection with the Crimean issue and operations in Donbass had gained considerable political weight. He also observed a strong solidarity with Putin´s political course. From the Russian perspective, the sanctions become increasingly unpopular among Europeans and there is growing understanding for the Russian position.


ICEUR – Vienna provides support for security-related event
The Embassy of the Russian Federation in Austria organizes a talk given by Nikolay Burdyuzha, the General Secretary of the Collective Security Treaty Organization on 21 October, 2014. This theme ties in with our intention to look closer into security affairs and to start a series of relevant seminars and master classes. We would therefore like to welcome and support the embassy´s initiative and invite you to this interesting event.
See Program
Please register:


ICEUR Master Class with Valeriy Kalnysh
Ukraine in turmoil – news & analysis from the ground
Our speaker
analyzed the situation in the runup to parliamentary elections and specifically, the partisan realignments. He expects a strong Rada under presidential leadership, which, as he pointed out, would be a legitimate representation of the Ukrainian voters despite the fact that the regions held by the separatist forces (around 1/3 of the territory of Lugansk and Donetsk regions) will not vote.


ICEUR stars top Ukrainian pundit
Kostiantyn Bondarenko, the director of the renowned Institute for Ukrainian politics in Kiev, described the major challenges for the newly elected president in terms of a catch-22 situation: In order to pass a new constitution and reform laws, the Rada has to be re-elected before Mr. Poroshenko´s ratings start their expected decline. Meaningful elections, however, are contingent on resolving the enduring conflict in the Southeast, where about 20% of the electorate live. Talks must be held with the rebels, although it is impossible to identify generally accepted leaders. The question of the Crimean deputies poses an additional problem. Regarding the Crimean issue, Mr. Bondarenko thinks, that a condominium with Russia would be an acceptable compromise. When it comes to the Rada elections, he recommends to hold elections in the fall of 2014, even at the risk of producing a parliament with an oppositional defiant majority. Our speaker holds that Putin is ready to trade economic concessions for political influence, a strategy that according to him has worked in the case of Kazakhstan. To what extent the EU and the World Bank will be ready to support Ukraine is an open question.


ICEUR Master Class with Sergei Medvedev
ICEUR-Vienna´s major
objective is to provide a neutral platform for the exchange of ideas. Professor Sergei Medvedev had been invited to assess the impact of the Crimean and Ukrainian crises on Russia itself. Our guest, who has felt the Kremlin´s heat after his dissenting comments on the Arctic, presented an in-depth analysis of the present Russian power system. Paying homage to the genius loci, he employed Freudian terminology to capture the three-tiered architecture of the present political setup. In the unconscious layers of the Russian mind, he identifies a deep-seated wrath, which spills over into resentment (e.g. against “democracy”), proto-fascist sentiments, a conservative drift coupled with a revival of traditional “Russian values”, (which, among other things explains the somewhat exotic merger between the intelligence services and the Orthodox Church) as well as contempt for the law, which makes breaking the law a national pastime. According to Professor Medvedev, Putin, who is acting on the “ego” level, embodies and reflects popular sentiments perfectly. Russia´s rich resources permit him to pursue his goal to be respected by the West (the “Superego”).
The Crimean issue has exposed all these features in miniature: In Prof. Medvedev´s analysis, the peninsula stands for traditional Russian values, the annexation was booked as a victory after a long series of strategic retreats and it forced the West to recognize Russia´s might. In this sense, the Crimea, in Sergei Medvedev´s words, is certainly no butterfly, it is a veritable “dinosaur”.
See Wirtschaftsblatt


"Ukraine-A new departure?"
A Touch of High Politics: The ICEUR Round Table on Ukraine
ICEUR-Vienna´s statutory mission is to support and promote the dialogue between the post-Soviet area and the other European states. The rapidly escalating Ukrainian crisis has clearly evidenced the need for an institution that provides a meeting place for the business-like discussion of relevant issues. For the Ukrainian Round Table, we had deliberately invited panelists with different backgrounds and political convictions. Events in the Crimea loomed large over the agenda, which made diversity management difficult, but feasible. Despite the sharp conflict lines and the emotions generated by the recent tragic events (one speaker was a participant at the Maidan demonstrations, another had, among other things, consulted past presidents), the outlines of a common ground became visible. All panelists agreed on the goal of a future civilized Ukraine, preferably in a federal format. When it comes to issues of state and nation building, opinions diverged: Mr. Pogrebinskyyi came out strongly against presidential elections in May. He argued that such a move would polarize the nation and went with the hazard of re- introducing presidential authoritarianism through the back door. According to him, parliamentary elections should take precedence, and the new constitution should drastically curb the powers of the president. Mr. Vysotskiy supported the views of groups represented by the Maidan. They pursue a different strategy and believe that a strong elected president would guarantee stability. Mr. Fesenko, who is an advisor of the government in power, pleaded for fair elections that would reproduce a representation of the major political forces and reduce the political weight of marginal groups Unsurprisingly, the panelists as well as the discussants (among them members of the Russian Embassy) had widely divergent views about who was to blame for the violence in Kiev and elsewhere. Yet, they agreed that the truth could not be established at this point. It was also pleasant to hear that the discussants felt a follow-up to be held in Vienna would yield even more concrete and tangible results. ICEUR stands ready to act as a focal point for such initiatives. Panelists from Ukraine:
Mikhail B. Pogrebinskiy,
Director, Kiev Center for Political and Conflict Research. Analyst, advisor of all Ukrainian presidents since 1991

Sergey Vysotskiy,
journalist, LIGABusinessinform, participant in the Maidan demonstrations

Vladimir Fesenko,
analyst, director, Center for Applied Political Research “Penta”, advisor of the present Ukrainian government


Business Seminar in Vienna "The Russian Economy After Sochi"

Summary of findings of the ICEUR Business Seminar, 3 March 2014-03-10
The two speakers, Mikhail Dmitriev and Segey Afontsev, dealt with the dynamic of the Russian economy from different perspectives, but arrived at more or less the same conclusions. They both presented a gloomy outlook for the near future. The period of high growth rates is over and recession may be around the corner. The impact of the Ukrainian crisis can be felt already, particularly in the ballooning exchange rate and the rapid decay of the securities market. Yet, they maintain that the downslide of the Russian economy has structural causes which are merely reinforced by the Ukrainian conflict. Mr. Dmitriev predicts the stalling of growth figures because of the fact that a relatively high level of consumer saturation has been reached and income growth has ground to a halt. In fact, consumption growth has outdistanced income growth during the boom years. The shrinking of the working age populations worldwide is bound to hobble productivity and economic growth. Mr. Afontsev drew the attention to the fact that since 2009, outward FDI has surpassed inward FDI. Almost 40% of the capital leaving Russia is invested in EU countries (as opposed to 9% in Ukraine). Conversely, most investment capital coming to Russia originates in Cyprus and the Netherlands (together, 36% of total FDI). This ties in with the observation that the share of energy carriers in total exports has been growing in recent years (from a low of 37% in 1994 to almost 68% in 2013). The speaker was also skeptical about the economic benefits of megaprojects: As a rule, they drain important reserve funds, stimulate corruption and are not sustainable. Both speakers agreed that in order to preserve and improve the achievements of the boom years and to avoid wide-spread dissatisfaction and protests, the Russian economy must be radically modernized. There is no other option than the dehabituation from the addiction to oil and gas.
M. Dmitriev. The new Russian consumer: Preferences, socio-economic situation, consumption patterns (Power Point)
S. Afontsev. The Russian Economy: Situation and Outlook (Power Point)


Upcoming ICEUR publications: articles by Mikhail KRASNOV and Michael GEISTLINGER.
ICEUR publishes 2 articles which have been written for us in the framework of requests for political analysis by several institutions interested in the development of Russian constitutional law. The authors are internationally renowned constitutionalists: Prof. Mikhail Krasnov, dubbed “the father of the Russian constitution” holds a chair at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow and is the lead figure of a group of Russian lawyers who advocate an in-depth reform of the constitutional system. Prof. Michael Geistlinger is an Austrian constitutionalist with a track record of research on the Soviet Union and Russia. ICEUR is aware of the high political salience of this debate and is confident that this is one of the topics of future cooperation and dialogue between the EU Russia.
Read Mikhail KRASNOV


ICEUR Master Class with Simon Kordonsky
On 10 December 2013, ICEUR hosted Russia’s leading sociologist and former consultant of the Russian government Simon Kordonsky, for a lecture in the Renner Institute.
Departing from a comparison of Soviet and contemporary Russian administrative structures, Mr. Kordonsky made the point that group interests are not advocated and harmonized by institutions, but through exaggerated or bogus threats which put pressure on decision makers to allot additional funds. This mechanism has become hard-wired in the minds of political players, it works and leaves most participants of the political process satisfied. As a result, the present Russian system of distribution and re- distribution can be classified as ultra-stable.
See Der Standard


"Modern Kazakhstan - Image and Realities".
Book presentation at the Federal Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth on 28 November 2013.
On the occasion of the 5th session of the Austrian-Kazakh Joint Commission for Economic, Agricultural, Ecological, Industrial and Technological Relations ICEUR – Vienna has been invited by the Kazakh and Austrian sides to present its recent publication on Kazakh economy, society and politics, for which both Kazakh and Austrian authors wrote contributions. The Joint Commission is co-chaired by Director General for Foreign Economic Relations Mr. Franz Wessig and Mr. Alexei Yurevich Volkov, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs. During the plenary session the following topics will be addressed: Energy and Mining, Environmental Protection and Environmental Technology, Transport and Infrastructure, Tourism, Agriculture, Finance and Banking, Healthcare and Medical Technology, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, E-Government and Standardization.
Read preface... See cover...


Oleg Lebedev* outlines future development of the Eurasian Union
Before a select audience of diplomats,
journalists and experts, the speaker concentrated on the economic aspects of the process designed to intensify and broaden the cooperation between present and future members of the Eurasian/Customs/ Union. He denied any Russian intentions to re-establish the Soviet Union and pointed out that a large part of the envisaged road map would follow the model of the European Union. A common legal framework, unified customs tariffs and procedures as well as institutions and regulations to safeguard a free and stable market system are in the pipeline
Questions from the audience queried the feasibility of this strategy and particularly addressed the Ukrainian bid for European integration. Mr. Lebedev argued that potential candidates were free to decide but that countries which depended on cheap Russian energy and on exports to Russia would lose enormous growth and development potential should they chose to stay outside.
*O. Lebedev is 1st deputy chairman of the Duma Committee for CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations to Russians Abroad. He replaced Vasiliy Likhachev, who could not come due to illness


ICEUR-Vienna represented at Baku Forum
The Baku Forum is organized on an annual basis by the government of Azerbaijan and convenes prominent personalities from science, politics, economic and arts to discuss major global issues. This year, over 700 participants from 70 nations were present including 15 Nobel Prize winners, former presidents, representatives of former royal families as well as of the major world religions.
ICEUR-Vienna used this important event to make new contacts and to conclude cooperation agreements with like-minded organizations and personalities around the world.


ICEUR supports Moscow investment seminar
On the request of the LPGroup (FACT Family Office), a Swiss-based global investment company, ICEUR extended organizational support and provided local know-how to organize a business workshop in Moscow. This seminar on "Global Economic turmoil and capital preservation: protect and invest with confidence in Europe" assembles participants from the local business community, the academia as well as experts in finance and investment. The discussion is moderated by ICEUR Vice President H.G. Heinrich.
See Program


ICEUR launches new series

Responding to numerous suggestions and questions Responding to numerous suggestions and questions posed by our members and clients, ICEUR-Vienna launches a new series of its Working Papers. The new series is event- and problem-driven and provides analytical background information on important and topical news items which permit a glance on long-term developments. Michael Dmitriev´s article is the first issue of this series.
See Russia’s social and political dynamic: a shaky new equilibrium.


Visit of a Polish delegation
On the occasion of a visit of a Polish delegation of specialists in vocational training in Vienna on 18 September 2013, ICEUR Vice President H.G. Heinrich delivered a lecture on vocational training in Austria and the Russian Federation.


Russia’s regional and local Elections, September 2013
In an ICEUR master class on 13 September 2013, Gleb Pavlovsky, the former political adviser to the Presidential Administration of Russia until April 2011 and president of the Foundation for Effective Politics (FEP) analyzed the results of Russia’s regional and local elections. Basing his conclusions on inside knowledge, as well as facts and figures, our expert exposed the factors for the somewhat surprising election results. His bottomline was that the ostensible stability of the Putin system is in jeopardy ad may turn out to be elusive.


Russia's Near East Policy
On 11 June 2013, Russia’s top expert and government advisor for Near Eastern Affairs Evgeny Y. Satanovskiy, was our guest in a master class on the policy of the Russian Federation in the Near East. He painted a gloomy picture of growing Islamization which according to him will receive a new momentum as a consequence of the pullout of ISAF Forces in the coming year. In his view, the Arab spring and the ongoing Turkish summer will eventually lead to the strengthening of Islamist tendencies.


ICEUR Master Class on Belarus
Belarus: Back from Gone?

In default of recent spectacular occurrences, Belarus has almost vanished from the media radar. Voices that predicted the collapse of the regime have been disproved by its capacity to slow its inexorable gravitation toward Moscow and making occasional gestures toward Brussels, between reformism and conservatism and carrots and sticks in domestic policies. Belarus soldiers on as an outlier in the European landscape.
See interview


ICEUR – Vienna boosts EU-Russian business relations
Despite the gloomy economic outlook and the political hiccups in EU-Russian relations, the 6th meeting of the Vienna Process yielded mileage in both fields. In a frank and lively discussion, the major stumbling blocks preventing tangible progress were addressed and explained against the backdrop of diverging interests.
See Below Zero PDF-Presentation, Tosoni PDF-Presentation,
M. Dmitriev. What is new on the business climate in Russia (Power Point),
M. Kaykov. Social and economic development of the Far East and Baikal region (Power Point),
Meinl Bank. Presentation (Power Point), The Sverdlovsk region. PDF-Presentation
S. Afontsev. Towards a New EU-Russia Agreement: Key Challenges (Power Point).


ICEUR Master class presents surprising results on Russian socio-economic development

On 3 December 2012, Russia´s top analyst Mikhail DMITRIEV gave his master class on the relationship between socio-economic development and political trends in Russia. His compelling and penetrating analysis showed that the middle class has become the dominant layer of Russian society and that it has begun to demand a higher and different quality of public services and democratic institutions. Russia is no longer a poverty-stricken country, he maintained, but its citizens are in a process of emancipating themselves from the role of passive bystanders. This contrasts sharply with a pervasive lack of economic and political modernization. Mr. Dmitriev, whose forecasts proved to be accurate in most cases, predicted a turbulent political year of 2013.
See REPORT Of the Experts of the Center for Strategic Research to the Committee of Civic Initiatives.
See Presentation as Microsoft Office Power Point Presentation (PPSX) or as PDF File.


New publications. ICEUR Insight Studies Vol.1.
Modern Kazakhstan. Image and Realities

Against the backdrop of its mineral wealth, Kazakhstan has been touted a Central Asian tiger state. In contrast to most other Central Asian countries, it was able to evade civil war and large-scale bloodshed and to assume a leadership position which won international recognition and respect. At the same time, the country could not evade the global financial crisis and its human rights record is far from being immaculate. This volume analyses the economic, political and social dynamic of modern Kazakhstan as seen by insiders and Western experts. Their opinions converge on the assumption that there are hard times ahead but that Kazakhstan has the potential to weather the storm


New publications. ICEUR Insight Studies Vol.2.
Post-Soviet Conflicts Revisited

Despite the efforts of the international community, most of the armed conflicts triggered by the breakup of the Soviet Union have not been resolved. This volume strives to cast a fresh look at the protracted conflicts and to identify factors promoting or preventing their settlement or transformation. The authors analyze the conflicts from the vantage point of critical citizens of their home countries and draw on their experience as participants in the peace process. The lessons learned from successes and failures of the international community are galvanized into a package of policy recommendations that heed the specific character of each conflict.


ICEUR hosts Italian-Russian business meeting

On 5-7 November 2012 ICEUR organized a meeting between our permanent Russian partners and Italian companies interested in expanding their business activities and entering the Russian market. Our Russian partners presented a package of projects across the board including building and transfer of technical know-how. The discussion of these projects resulted in defining the second step in terms of a follow-up meeting in Moscow at the end of November where the signing of concrete project agreements is expected.
Since the Vienna meeting was confidential, no details can be divulged at this point


The new dynamic of Russian politics: the ascent of civil society

On 29 October, 2012, an ICEUR-Vienna Round Table addressed the topic The new dynamic of Russian politics :the ascent of civil society.

Participants: Gleb Pavlovski - Tikhon Dziadko - Sergei Parkhomenko
Olga Kryshtanovskaya - Olga Romanova - Konstantin von Eggert



Business Ventures: Azerbaijan - Austria

This unique business-to-business conference provided a platform for leading Azerbaijani and Austrian business representatives as well as high-ranking Azerbaijani government officials to facilitate the cooperation between Azerbaijani and Austrian business.


5th Vienna Process
Investment and capital movement after Russian elections

This special seminar for industrial and financial investors in cooperation with the Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IERAS), the Builders Association of Russia (ASR), Renner Institute (RI) and the Federation of Austrian Industries (IV)...


Mark Urnov.
Master Class.
Elections in Russia – Implications for economic and domestic politics

Listen to Ö1 Europa Journal
Read the exclusive Interview: Wirtschaftsblatt (Ger.)
Invitation: (PDF). Vita M. Urnov: (PDF).


Georgy Mirskiy and Andrey Ryabov
Round Table.
Change in Russia: Tectonic Slide or Tempest in a Teapot?

Listen to Ö1 Europa Journal


Simon Kordonsky. Master Class. Political Thaw in Russia
Venue: Palais Strudlhof, Sigmund Freud Saal, Pasteurgasse 1, 1090 Wien

Read the exclusive interview:
Der Standard (Ger.)
InoPressa (Rus.)
OÖNachrichten (Ger.)
Presentation (Microsoft Office PowerPoint (Rus.))


4th Vienna Process, Vienna Forum on EU-Russia Relations
The fourth meeting of Russian-EU experts in the framework of the Vienna Process took place between 2 and 4 November 2011. The agenda was dominated by questions of Russia’s WTO policy, EU and Russian Norms & Standards and economic cooperation...


Round Table. Gleb Pavlovsky and Konstantin von Eggert
Russia: Preparing for Elections

Read Welcome remarks by Dr. Fröschl and Dr. Lobova - Transcription excerpts (PDF, German)
Statement by Konstantin von Eggert (MP3, Russian)
Statement by Gleb Pavlovsky (MP3, Russian)


ICEUR cooperates with Russian regions
ICEUR supports the development strategy for the North Caucasus and has taken concrete steps to participate in its realization.


Gleb Pavlovsky. Master Class
Russian Modernization – The Kremlin escape artists


ICEUR strengthens regional ties
In response to invitations and initiatives launched by Russian regions, ICEUR has started to enter cooperative relationships with Stavropol´ Krai and the Dagestan Republic.


Alexey Malashenko. Master Class
incl. Book Presentation „Will Russia Become a Muslim Society”
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3rd Vienna Process. Vienna Forum on EU-Russia Relations.
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Visit of Kazakh Partners to Vienna. delegation of ICEUR´s Kazakh partners (Foundation of the First president, Almaty) is scheduled to arrive in Vienna on 13 December.
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Sergei Karaganov. Master class.
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Legal Cultures: Kick-off meeting in Vienna
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2nd Vienna Process. Vienna Forum on EU-Russia Relations.
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ICEUR Summer School “Russian Foreign and Domestic Politics Today” at the Faculty of Politology at Lomonosov Moscow State University (MGU)
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The ICEUR-Vienna team is very pleased to welcome our new members. To finde out how you can benefit from the ICEUR-Vienna membership and how to get a member of ICEUR-Vienna, please look here.


Yavlinskiy master class
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The ICEUR Dialogue: Studies in Euro-Russian Conceptual History
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The Vienna Process. Vienna Forum on EU-Russia Relations. Expert platform
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Archive 2009
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WTO Project: “Russia´s WTO policy: A moving target...”
“Post-Soviet Conflicts Revisited?..“
EURUS Project: “Legal Culture in the EPR Area...“
Kazakhstan Project: “Modern Kazakhstan – Images and...“
Islam Project: “Will Russia Become a Muslim Society?..“
Comparative Cultural Studies...

VIENNA PROCESS: Major results of the 4th expert meeting Read more

The Vienna Process is an NGO-based venture which draws on the professional knowledge of a pool of Russian and European experts with different backgrounds and institutional affiliations, who share the objective of improving the relations between Russia and the EU. Its format and working mode profits from the flexibility and independence of international civic initiatives which are not tied down by high-level politics and institutional constraints, but can also rely on their collective knowledge of relevant institutional practices. The Vienna Process will generate a series of policy recommendations focusing on feasibility and viable solutions.

EU-Russian relations are currently in a business-as-usual mode: A new Cold War which is sometimes conjured up is a distant bugbear and the post-1991 heyday a distant memory. The virtual standstill of the various dialogues, especially in the field of energy and security, is due to different priorities of both partners and to the habit of setting advance conditions in tit-for-tat deals: the energy dialogue is stalled because of the conditionality that Russia join the WTO first. The security dialogue is hobbled by the Russian priority to nest NATO into a new system of European security. In both cases, the preconditions are ultra vires for the other partner, at least for the time being.

The dialogues should be maintained, even if they do not yield immediate and tangible results. They imply permanent contacts and the opportunity to improve mutual understanding. However, it is equally important to support processes and initiatives which are under way in the wake of or independent of the official dialogue channels. They concern “hard” and “soft” areas such as

Security: Trust-building measures in terms of further joint peace-keeping missions or political support for civic initiatives in conflict areas (Caucasus, Moldova) are possible and important
Economy, business: More first-hand practical knowledge and know-how should be fed into the high-level dialogue
Education and human contacts: There is a multitude of grass root civic initiatives to make people from EU member states and Russia meet in the framework of joint educational or internship programs. These initiatives should be strengthened, particularly through facilitating visa procedures for students.

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Current projects

Legal Culture in the EPR Area: Realizing a priority of the Austrian Foreign Trade Concept
Adoption and Implementation of the European Charter of Basic Rights (ECBR) in Kazakhstan
Muslim identity in an open society: the case of Chechen refugees in Austria
Problems and practices in EU-Russian business
Russian concepts of state and law: As a first issue of the ICEUR Insight Studies

Projects under expert review

Kazakhstan in Flux: Chances for Europe
The Elites in Belarus and their Attitudes Towards Democratization, Economic Liberalization and Closer Relations With the EU
Totalitarianism, Populism and Democracy
The ICEUR Dialogue: Studies in Euro-Russian Conceptual History

ICEUR is committed to the organization of educational programs as a means to advance cross-cultural learning and understanding, mutual knowledge transfer and mobility. ICEUR seminars and training sessions address primarily students and academic staff and are held in both Austrian and Russian locations. They are organized jointly with such prestigious academic institutions as Moscow State University, the Higher School of Economics (Moscow) and the Russian State University of Humanities (RGGU). As a collateral effect of this co-operation, the exchange of research and teaching staff is promoted and joint research projects initiated. ICEUR training seminars address a wide range of interested groups and have a flexible and customized format. Specialized fact-finding seminars and on-site internships are offered to business people, journalists or administrators. Capacity building programs for professionals from NIS countries cover such issues as European legal and political standards or the European experience in building civil society. ICEUR has started its educational programs with two summer schools in Moscow held in July and September, 2009, in Moscow.
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Upcoming Publication:

In this new ICEUR-Volume leading experts and members of Kazakh civil society assess the prospects of modernization in contemporary Kazakhstan.

Legal Systems in Transition

New ICEUR publication

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ICEUR Studien #2-2011


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ICEUR Studien #1-2011


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Working Papers #4


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Will Russia Become a Muslim Society?

The somewhat provocative title of this volume relates to the lingering fears of Islamization which are widespread also in Russia.

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Working Papers #3


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Belarus: External Pressure, Internal Change

This volume is a synopsis of various perspectives as well as a trans-boundary and interdisciplinary analysis of the Belarusian model.

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Working Papers #2


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Working Papers #1


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ICEUR Team, FEP Team

Georgia & Russia: Contradictory
Media Coverage of the August War

As a first contribution to ICEUR’s media work stream, a joint ICEUR-FEP team has authored a research paper on “Contradictory Coverage of the August War” Read more



Apart from its publications, ICEUR´s information activities include spot analyses on current problems and hot issues in EU-NIS relations. Top experts from EU and NIS countries as well as ICEUR staff writers are among the contributors. The focus of these analyses is on structures and structural change as opposed to comments on current events.

Sergey Kulik. Institute of Modern Development (INSOR). Cooperation between Russia and the EU in the CIS economic space. The groundbreaking INSOR initiative: authorized abridged version. Read more as PDF

Andrey RYABOV. Russian Modernization Strategy: Political Goals, Realities and Constraints. Read more

Alexey MALASHENKO. Islam in Russia: Religion and Politics. Read more

Bernhard FELDERER. The Crisis of Financial Markets and the Real Economy. Read more

Sergej KARAGANOV. Russland im euro-atlantischen Raum (deu). Read more

  Regional coverage

IMPRESSUM: International Center for Advanced and Comparative EU-Russia (NIS) Research - ICEUR-Vienna Breitenseer Strasse 19/24-26 A-1140 Wien
Tel: +43 1 7863 144 • Fax: +43 17863 208 • Email: • ZVR-Zahl: 773960436 • © Stanislav Bobrov 2010-2015