FLEET (Fresh Look at Eastern European Trends)

FLEET (Fresh Look at Eastern European Trends; English for “agile, nimble”) is a FES-initiated network of young, open-minded experts specialising in security and cooperation in wider Europe. Members of the network come from across the OSCE area and work in academia, think tanks, political institutions and business. Since 2015 the group regularly meets for intensive workshops to discuss current challenges to security and peace in Europe and develop joint policy proposals on how to resume cooperation in the current crisis in order to ultimately restore the indivisibility of security in Europe. The regional composition of FLEET reflects the necessity to jointly discuss those issues with the EU, Russia and the countries in the shared neighbourhood.

Each year FLEET focuses on a different topic within the broader thematic frame of security. In 2018 the topic was “Islands of Cooperation”. The idea behind this topic is simple: in the current deadlock we need to try cooperation in small steps. This approach presupposes that despite the crisis in relations and the lack of trust, there are certain shared interests among the states and societies. Such areas of shared interests and potential cooperation are called “islands of cooperation”. By jointly working on these “islands”, the network of cooperative relations will gradually grow denser and trust will increase as well, ideally spilling over into other areas. Once trust levels can be restored, the hope is that finding regional answers to the fundamental issues and challenges will become possible in the long run. In a series of workshops in Vienna, FLEET members identify concrete islands of cooperation – such as radicalisation prevention, joint threat perceptions or development of small businesses – and write policy papers.

Islands of Cooperation are essential for jump-starting cooperation. But where are the small steps supposed to lead? In 2019 FLEET focused on the broader picture and drafted “Responsible Europe as a practical roadmap towards a cooperative European security order that rebuilds trust, fosters common interests and provides sustainable peace. Responsible Europe is home to EU and non-EU citizens alike and is based on the mutual recognition of interests, a sense of responsibility towards own citizens and neighbouring states, and places Europe as a stable pillar of the wider international order.


Responsible Europe

Responsible Europe

Wien, 2020

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Islands of cooperation

Islands of cooperation

Wien, 2018

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FLEET Members

Mario Baumann · Germany

Mario Baumann holds an MLitt in International Security Studies from the University of St. Andrews. He is currently reading for his PhD at the University of Kent’s Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS). In his research, he focusses on the interaction of interpretations in Russia and the European Union. Before joining BSIS, he has worked as tutor and project manager for “German Studies Russia” at MGIMO in Moscow where he taught a seminar on research methods in political sciences.

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Charlotte Dietrich · Germany

Charlotte Dietrich is Project Manager for Democracy, Surveillance and Digital Rights at the German Think Tank Stiftung Neue Verantwortung where she is responsible for the European Intelligence Oversight Network (EION). Previously, she has worked as a Researcher focused on security and defence issues at M&C Saatchi, a strategic communications firm in London, and gained professional experience at the German Embassy in Kazakhstan, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Moscow and the German development bank KfW in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Charlotte has a background in International Relations and Security Studies. She has a strong regional specialisation on Russia and Central Asia, having studied and lived in the region for two years. 

Michelangelo Freyrie · Italy

Michelangelo Freyrie is a Junior Researcher in the Defence and Security Programmes at IAI. His main interests are German foreign policy and Euro-Russian relations. He previously worked at BwConsulting, an agency of the German Ministry of Defence (BMVg), and in the private sector, specialising in foresight and scenario planning. Michelangelo holds a MA in International Affairs from the Hertie School in Berlin and a BSc in International Politics from Bocconi University. He has written on European security for the daily newspapers DomaniDie Tageszeitung (TAZ), Tagesspiegel and the news.

Alexander Graef · Germany

Alexander Graef is a researcher in the project "Arms Control and Emerging Technologies" at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg (IFSH). He received his PhD in 2019 from the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland) for a thesis on the network of Russian foreign policy experts and think tanks. His current research focuses on conventional arms control and Russian security and defense policy.


Zachary Paikin · Canada

Zachary Paikin is a Researcher in EU Foreign Policy at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels (CEPS). He is also a Nonresident Research Fellow at the Institute for Peace & Diplomacy in Toronto and Senior Visiting Fellow at the Global Policy Institute in London. He holds additional affiliations with the Minsk Dialogue Council on International Relations and the Network for Strategic Analysis, funded by Canada's Ministry of National Defence. He is a member of FES ROCPE's "Fresh Look on Eastern European Trends" (FLEET) project as well as the European Leadership Network's YGLN contact group on Euro-Atlantic security. Paikin was named a GLOBSEC Young Leader in 2019 and holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Kent.


Tadzio Schilling · Switzerland

Tadzio Schilling is CEO of the Association of European Businesses (AEB) in Moscow. He holds an MA in International Relations and an advanced MA in International History and Politics from the Graduate Institute Geneva, as well as an Executive MPA from the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. In his professional career he has worked in various finance, HR, and sales functions for companies such as Zurich Cantonal Bank, Dell Inc., Wesser & Partner, and FirstClimate. He has also worked as a researcher and lecturer in Russian Studies at the Humboldt University of Berlin. Before joining the AEB, he served as Deputy Head of Economic Affairs, Finance, and Science at the Swiss Embassy, then as Inbound Business Development Leader and Head of the German Business Center at EY. 

Aliya Tskhay · Kazakhstan

Aliya Tskhay has a PhD in International Relations from the University of St Andrews. Her research interests include international norms, energy policies and Central Asian politics. She has published extensively on these topics in academic and policy-oriented outlets, including a monograph ‘Global norm compliance: A Study on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative’.

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Lilybell Evergreen · United Kingdom

Lilybell Evergreen is an Expert at Demos Helsinki who helps governments to transform their governance approach to meet the challenges of the 21st century. She has worked on a range of governance issues but has a specific focus on climate governance. Before joining Demos Helsinki, Lilybell worked on various international cooperation and policymaking initiatives including on the topic of regional and European security and cooperation. She is originally from the UK and now lives in Finland.

Tamar Gamkrelidze · Georgia

Tamar Gamkrelidze is Invited Lecture at Ilia State University, where she obtained her doctoral degree in February 2020. Tamar is an alumna of Academic Swiss Caucasus Net, Erasmus Mundus EUROEAST, Latvian State Research Fellowship, DAAD, EUCACIS and Open Society Institute scholarship networks. In 2010 she obtained her master’s degree in European Studies from Maastricht University, Netherlands. Her research interests lie in the fields of identity studies, EU external affairs, EU integration, and discourse theory.

Anna Gussarova · Kazakhstan

Anna Gussarova is Director of the Central Asia Institute for Strategic Studies. She has served as adjunct professor at the George C. Marshall Center and the OSCE Academy in Bishkek. She has extensive research, policy and facilitation experience and expertise in counterterrorism, cybersecurity and information environment. Anna is a contributing author to the Eurasia Daily Monitor by the Jamestown Foundation (USA) and European Eye on Radicalisation (Brussels).

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Mykola Kapitonenko · Ukraine

Mykola Kapitonenko, PhD, is an Associate Professor at the Institute of International Relations of Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University. He’s also a Director to the Center of International Studies, an NGO, specializing at regional security studies and foreign policy of Ukraine. He has also been invited as a visiting professor to the University of Iowa, and was teaching at the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. His main research focus is in conflict studies and Ukrainian foreign policy.

Victoria Leukavets · Belarus

Victoria Leukavets is a post-doctoral fellow at J. Skytte Institute of Political Studies, University of Tartu. After studying law at the Belarusian State Economics University, she pursued an MA programme in Human Rights at the University of Manchester. She received her second MA degree in EU international relations from the College of Europe and did a PhD in political science at the Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences. Her research interests include foreign policy of Eastern Partnership countries, Eurasian integration and electoral studies.


Bartosz Rydliński · Poland

Bartosz M. Rydliński holds a doctorate in political science from Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw (2013). Rydlinski teaches at the Institute of Political Science at CSWU and works as a project manager and expert with the “Amicus Europae” Foundation of former Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski. Bartosz is a member of the Younger Generation Leaders Network on Euro-Atlantic Security (YGLN) and former EASI-Hurford Next Generation Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He was a visiting scholar at Georgetown University’s Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies (CERES) during 2014.

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Martin Tammik · Spain

Martin Tammik born in Malaga (Spain), got his MA in international security studies from the University of Reading, United Kingdom and in international relations from MGIMO, Russia. Currently a part-time free-lance international analyst specialized military and security affairs with particular focus on Russian military policies and security in Europe.

His previous experiences included several placements in the diplomatic sphere: Permanent representation of Estonia to the Council of Europe (Strasbourg), Embassy of Estonia in Madrid and Embassy of France in Moscow.

Lili Vessereau · France

Lili Vessereau works at the French Ministry of Economics, teaches Economics at Université Paris Cité and is a Fellow of the University Consortium between Harvard, Oxford, Columbia and Sciences Po. She previously worked at the UN, was an OSCE Perspective 2030 Academy Fellow and graduated from Sciences Po, HEC Paris and La Sorbonne.

Lili Vessereau is the the former Youth Delegate of France to the Council of Europe and the President of the French Junior Diplomat Initiative. Convinced that environmental and energetic issues are crucial to understand the future stakes of West-Russia , she held various positions within the French Ministry of Ecological Transition, in sustainable investment banking and participated in the French-Russian Summit on Climate Change.