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Centre for Geopolitics

Providing historically-grounded approaches to enduring geopolitical problems.
Baltic Symposium

With great regret, we have decided to postpone our planned Symposium on January 26th on ‘The Baltic contribution to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.'

We have considered the developing Omicron COVID situation, and looked at the UK government guidance, and come to the view that we have no practical alternative. Though it is possible that the guidance might allow the meeting itself to proceed, very many of our participants and speakers are travelling from abroad and we think it likely that the current situation may well force a significant number to drop out as we get nearer the date. And that would mean that we could not fulfil our ambition for the first major in-person event of our programme. So, sadly, we are postponing but intend to hold the same event in the first half of 2022. We were very pleased by the way that the Symposium was working out and in the middle of January we hope to fix another date. We greatly regret any inconvenience caused.


The Cambridge University Baltic Geopolitics Programme is hosting a symposium to mark the 30th Anniversary of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It will focus upon the contribution of events in the Baltic to this enormous geopolitical change. It will take place on Wednesday January 26th 2022 at Peterhouse Cambridge. This in-person event will also mark the first anniversary of the launch of the Baltic Geopolitics Programme and celebrate a successful first year of on-line events. The symposium will include the following sessions:

Welcome by Professor Brendan Simms and Rt Hon Charles Clarke

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

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 Una Bergmane, postdoctoral researcher at Helsinki University: author of the forthcoming book Politics of Uncertainty: the US, the Baltic Question and the Collapse of the USSR.

The contribution of the independence campaigns in the Baltic states

Professor Anatol Lieven, Georgetown University and Kings College London, Author: The Baltic Revolution: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Path to Independence

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

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

Conversation between contemporary participants

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

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

Baroness Meta Ramsey, Foreign Office Nordic Expert serving in the Helsinki Embassy 1980-1985

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.

Concluding session

Professor Brendan Simms, Director, Centre for Geopolitics

Rt Hon Charles Clarke, Joint Leader, Baltic Geopolitics Programme

Register to attend via Eventbrite


Wednesday, 26 January, 2022 - 09:00 to 18:00
Event location: 
Peterhouse Theatre, Trumpington Street, Cambridge, CB2 1RD