The Cambridge University Baltic Geopolitics Programme is hosting a symposium to mark the 30th Anniversary of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It is of particular significance in light of recent events in Ukraine.

It will focus upon the contribution of events in the Baltic to this enormous geopolitical change. This in-person event was planned to mark the first anniversary of the launch of the Baltic Geopolitics Programme and celebrate a successful first year of online events.


0915 – 0945

Tea, Coffee etc

0945 – 1000

Welcome by Professor Brendan Simms and Rt Hon Charles Clarke

1000 – 1030

Keynote: The Baltic context in 1991 and its Significance

Professor Kristina Spohr, Professor of International History at the London School of Economics. Her recent books include Post Wall, Post Square and Germany and The Baltic problem after the Cold War

1030 – 1130

The international preconditions for the freedom of the Baltic States and the collapse of the Soviet Union

Professor Jonathan Haslam FBA, Emeritus Professor in the History of International Relations, Cambridge University and author: The Spectre of War: International Communism and the Origins of World War II

Doctor Mart Kuldkepp, Associate Professor School for European Languages Culture and Society at University College London, author: Baltic Crisis: Nordic and Baltic countries during the end stage of the Cold War

1130 – 1200

Tea, coffee and biscuits

1200 – 1300

The contribution of the independence campaigns in the Baltic states

Professor Stefan Hedlund, Professor at the Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University and author: The Baltic States and the End of the Soviet Empire

Professor Kaarel Piirimae, Associate Professor of Contemporary History, University of Tartu and Project Researcher at Helsinki University, articles include Gorbachev’s new thinking and Estonia has no time

1300 – 1400

Buffet lunch

1400 – 1500

Responses in Moscow to events in the Baltic

Professor Archie Brown FBA, Emeritus Professor of Politics, Oxford University and author of The Human Factor: Gorbachev, Reagan, and Thatcher, and the end of the Cold War

Professor Vladislav Zubok, Professor of International History, LSE and author: Collapse: the fall of the Soviet Union

1500 – 1520

Tea, coffee and biscuits

1520 – 1615

How Britain dealt with events in the Baltic at this time

Sir Rodric Braithwaite, British Ambassador to the Soviet Union 1988-1991 and to Russia 1991-2, Author Across the Moscow River: the world turned upside down

Patrick Salmon, Chief historian at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and an expert on Britain’s relationship with the Baltic and the Nordic countries.

Bridget Kendall, Master of Peterhouse Cambridge. BBC Moscow correspondent 1989-1994

1615  – 1700

Contemporary implications of interpretations of the history of 1991

Dr Inga Zakšauskienė, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of History, University of Vilnius, Author Discovering the Secret Listener: Western Radio Broadcasts to Soviet Lithuania

Professor Andrew Wilson, University College London, Author Ukraine Crisis: What the West Needs to Know

1700 – 1715

Concluding remarks

Professor Brendan Simms, Director, Centre for Geopolitics

Dr Donatas Kupciunas, Research Associate, Baltic Geopolitics Programme

Rt Hon Charles Clarke, Joint Leader, Baltic Geopolitics Programme

1745 – 1915

Drinks reception at the Graduate Hotel