Conference Programme

6th of June, Lecture Theatre 1, School of Divinity, St Mary’s College

9:00 – 9:30 Registration. Coffee, tea and biscuits will be served

09:30 – 09:45 Welcoming note

Prof. John Anderson, School of International Relations, University of St. Andrews

09:45 – 11:30 Panel 1. Contextualizing the Syrian conflict: Domestic historical trends, regional complexities and international dynamics

Chair and discussant: Dr. Fiona McCallum, School of International Relations, University of St. Andrews

The historical context of the Syrian conflict (1920-2011), Dr. Omar Imady, Deputy Director for Outreach & Information Dissemination and Managing Editor, Centre for Syrian Studies (CSS), University of St. Andrews

Dr. Imady examines the existing theories concerning the emergence of the Syrian uprising and the subsequent present-day conflict. He then demonstrates the shortcomings of the existing theories before presenting his alternative theory to explain the situation in Syria today.

Syria and Lebanon between the local and the regional: Weak sovereignties and the logic of armed action, Dr. Bashir Saade, Teaching Fellow, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh

Dr. Saade illuminates the dynamics between state and non-state (including Hizbullah) actors in Syria and Lebanon, particularly as it pertains to military intervention. In addition, he proposes new paradigms through which to understand the international relations of the Middle East.

Digital trends on the Syrian conflict: Framing a human crisis, fighting for history, spreading uncertainty among Western audiences, Dr. Giuliana Tiripelli, Department of Sociological Studies, University of Sheffield

Dr. Tiripelli investigates the digital media coverage of the Syrian conflict. In particular, she examines how coverage of the conflict creates a narrative that influences an audience’s understanding of the situation in Syria.

Syria’s Disruption to American Grand Strategy, Dr. Jasmine K. Gani, School of International Relations, Associate Director at the Centre for Syrian Studies (CSS), University of St. Andrews

Dr. Gani examines the US policy towards Syria in the context of the broader US grand strategy. This paper goes further to demonstrate the impact of the Syrian conflict on the balance of power in the international system.

11:30 – 12:00  Coffee break

12:00 – 13:45 Panel 2. The effects of the Ukrainian crisis: Economic, political and cultural transformations

Chair and discussant: Dr. Jasmine Gani, School of International Relations, Associate Director at the Centre for Syrian Studies (CSS), University of St. Andrews

The Ukrainian crisis and European Energy Security, Ioanna Mavromati, PhD Candidate, School of Politics and International Relations, University of Dundee

Ms. Mavromati explores the impact of the Ukrainian crisis on the energy partnership between Russia and the EU. This paper investigates why EU members previously avoided developing a common energy strategy.

Macroeconomic policy challenges in times of a military conflict: The case of Ukraine, Vasily Astrov, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies

Mr. Astrov examines the macroeconomic policy challenges faced in  Ukraine in the context of the ongoing conflict. In addition, this paper proposes policy options to address the economic issues present in the country.

The symbolic dimension of the Ukrainian conflict: from the politics of war memory to the politics of security choices, Dr. Natasha Danilova, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, University of Aberdeen

Dr. Danilova explores the narratives enacted through the official commemorative symbols and rituals in Ukraine and other post-Soviet states from 2014 onwards.

Tales of premonition and other stories in the narratives of internally displaced people from Donbas, Ukraine, Darya Tsymbalyuk, Erasmus Mundus Master program “Crossways in Cultural Narratives”, Department of Modern Languages, University of St. Andrews; Visual Artist, Kyiv

Darya will briefly present the art in public space project, which she did together with internally displaced people in Kyiv, Ukraine last year ( . She will then focus on the analysis of one of the interviews, which were conducted during the project.

13:45 – 14:45 Lunch break

14:45 – 16: 30 Panel 3. External Actors and the Two Conflicts: Domestic Causes and Foreign Policy

Chair and discussant: Prof. Sally N. Cummings, Founding Director, Institute of Middle Eastern, Central Asian and Caucasus Studies, School of International Relations, University of St. Andrews; 

Domestic causes of the Russian foreign policy towards Syria, Daria Vorobyeva, PhD Candidate, School of International Relations, University of St. Andrews

Miss Vorobyeva first explores what Russian economic, political and strategic interests in Syria are, what stands behind the relationship of the two regimes and then explains why Russian domestic concerns play a crucial role in the formation of the Kremlin’s policies towards Syria.

Getting Russia Right; Getting Russia Wrong – Perspectives on Russian foreign policy towards Ukraine, and Beyond, Prof. Rick Fawn, School of International Relations, University of St. Andrews

Rick Fawn is Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews and currently Director of its Institute of Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asia Studies (MECACS) and was previously Director of the Centre for Russian and East European Studies. Among a dozen books is International Organizations and Internal Conditionality: Making Norms Matter (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) and he co-runs European Commission FP7 and Horizon 2020 Marie Curie training grants on the post-Soviet space. He travels frequently to post-Soviet states and has delivered numerous invited briefings and contributions to national governments, NGOs and IOs.

Interdependent triangle: Kazakhstan-Russia-EU relations after the Ukrainian crisis, Aliya Tskhay, PhD Candidate, School of International Relations, University of St. Andrews

Miss Tskhay examines the interdependent relationship between Kazakhstan, Russia and the EU. In particular, this paper focuses on the impact of both the Ukrainian crisis and the current EU-Russian relations on the foreign policy of Kazakhstan.

Migration dimensions of the Syrian and Ukrainian conflicts: EU perspective, Dr. Ezel Tabur, Teaching Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Aberdeen

Dr. Ezel Tabur is Teaching Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Aberdeen. She gained her doctorate at the University of Sussex in 2012. Her doctoral thesis investigated the modes by which EU policy has been shaped against the backdrop of diverging EU level legislative and institutional frameworks and national preferences.

16:30 – 17:00 Coffee break

17:00 – 18:00 Keynote address

Russian “Adventurism” in Ukraine and Syria: A Great Power Once Again?, Sir Roderic Lyne, Deputy Chairman, Chatham House; Adviser, Russia and Eurasia Programme

Sir Roderic Lyne will explore, from the perspectives of a practitioner, Russia’s motives for the use of armed force in Ukraine and Syria, within the context of Russian and Soviet history and of Vladimir Putin’s 16 years in power.

Sir Roderic Lyne was a British diplomat from 1970 to 2004. He spent half of these 34 years working on or in the USSR and the Russian Federation, and was the British Ambassador at Moscow from 2000 to 2004. Prior to that he served as the foreign and security policy adviser to Prime Minister John Major from 1993-6, and the UK Permanent Representative to the WTO, UN and other international organisations in Geneva from 1997-2000. Since retiring from the Diplomatic Service he has worked as a non-executive director and business consultant, has paid over 50 visits to Russia, and has written and lectured extensively about Russia and the former Soviet Union.. He was a co-author of the 2006 Trilateral Commission report, “Engaging with Russia”; of “Russia – The Challenges of Transformation” (Social Science Research Council, 2011); and of “The Russian Challenge” (Chatham House, 2015). He has been the Deputy Chairman of the Council of the Royal Institute of International Affairs since 2009.

18:00 – 18:15 Concluding notes

Prof. Raymond Hinnebusch, Director of the Centre for Syrian Studies and Founding member, Institute of Middle Eastern, Central Asian and Caucasus Studies, School of International Relations, University of St. Andrews

18:15 End of the conference