“So far, the reaction of [the international community] has been too slow and too timid and too little,” Arnoldas Pranckevicius ’02 asserted in his lecture “Ukrainian Crisis: A Key Challenge to the European Security Order.”
Pranckevicius, who is external policies adviser to European Parliament President Martin Schulz, spoke March 24 in Persson Auditorium.
Noting the quick progression of the crisis in Ukraine, Pranckevicius said, “All of these things were just imaginary a month ago and today they are a reality.” For the past two years, he has been working on a special mediation mission launched by Schulz in the hopes of improving relations between Ukraine and the European Union.
“How do we show Russia that what it has done is not only unacceptable, but also that it cannot be repeated?” posed Pranckevicius.
He then launched into a detailed case study that addressed the origins, causes, and repercussions of the Crimean crisis. However, “sometimes people forget to look at the positive consequences despite the negative consequences,” Pranckevicius added. For example, he said, “Paradoxically, what Putin has done for Ukraine is unite the east and west in a way that it has never done before.”
Michael Callesen ’17 said that the talk gave him a new interest in the conflict. “What struck me most was Mr. Pranckevicius’s mention of what could result from more Russian imperialism,” Callesen reflected.
Pranckevicius ultimately stressed that the current state of affairs is not just the responsibility of Russia or the European Union, but also the international community.
“His talk connected many of the bits and pieces of the whole incident, providing a context and cohesiveness to the situation,” remarked Anan Hossain ’17.
In addition to providing his perspective on the Ukrainian crisis, Pranckevicius discussed the demanding commitment his advising job requires.
An international relations major at Colgate, Pranckevicius was named one of 70 worldwide Rotary World Peace Scholars, which funded his graduate work at the Paris Institute of Political Studies. After finishing his master’s degree, he fulfilled his dream of working to improve the state of affairs in Lithuania — Pranckevicius’s native country — by serving as domestic policy adviser to Lithuania’s president. Since 2006, he’s been in his current role, which he landed after winning an open competition to work in the European Parliament.