GENEVA, October 13, 2014 - The crisis in Ukraine, which began with protests on the Maidan square in Kyiv late last year, has seen the Russian annexation of Crimea and persists with fighting in eastern Ukraine, has revived former Cold War tensions. But some think it also marks the beginning of a new epoch in
The situation in
The panel was chaired by Thomas J. Biersteker, Gasteyger Professor of International Security and Conflict Studies at the Graduate Institute, with the participation of Timothy Snyder, White Bird Housum Professor of History at Yale University, Peter Pomerantsev, TV producer and Russia expert, and Rasa Ostrauskaite, Deputy Director of the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre.
The panellists spoke of a new mode of warfare that is unfolding, in which goals and actors are undeclared and shifting and public confusion seems to be as much a weapon as armed combat. Pomerantsev pointed to the fact that the media is being used not to persuade, but to manipulate. The abuse of freedom of information to spread disinformation, the use of freedom of speech to destroy the very possibility of freedom of speech, concerns not only Russia and Ukraine, but is a technology that will be taken up by malign states and groups in the 21st century, he feared.
State sovereignty and human rights, two principles of the Helsinki Final Act, the OSCE’s founding document, have been fundamentally mutated in the course of the crisis, Snyder contended. He contrasted the traditional attitude towards human rights held by the protesters on the Maidan, where the death of one person – a non-Ukrainian in fact – was seen as an enormous violation and provoked the transformation of the movement into a revolution, with the insidious instrumentalization of human life later witnessed in the conflict in eastern
Snyder argued for an expansion of the catalogue of fundamental rights, to include, for instance, the individual right to not being deliberately surrounded by hate speech that incites you to beat and kill, or the collective right not to have one’s identity ethnicized from a distance by a foreign state.
The panel also informed on the OSCE’s response to the Ukrainian crisis. Debates within the security organization, which counts both
The OSCE, chaired in 2014 by
Still, there are obvious shortcomings: the OSCE has no presence in Crimea, is currently monitoring only
Horrifying as it is,
The roundtable, organized by the OSCE Communications and Media Relations Section, in co-operation with the Graduate Institute, was held at the Maison de
OSCE Communications and Media Relations Section/Geneva