November 24-25 III Odessa NATO Academy "Shaping the right Euroatlantic strategy for a safer tomorrow" took place at Odessa I.I. Mechnikov National University. The event was carried out by Center for International Studies, Odessa I.I. Mechnikov National University with support of the NATO Center for Information and Documentation (Kyiv).

60 students and postgraduate students from different Ukraine's universities from Vinnytsa, Ivano-Frankovsk, Kyiv, Lvov, Mykolaiv, Odessa, Sumy, Uzhgorod, Kharkov, Chernovtsy - participated at Academy.

The journalists worked during the Academy, and the event was shown in Odessa TV: TV Channel Glas and Tretiy TV.

The experts argued the role of NATO, security and democracy, interests and values, new trends and threats to Euroatlantic security, challenges in information sphere in Ukraine and beyond.

Petr Lunak hasaddressed the question of whether the current state of international relations can be characterized as “The New Cold War”. He comes to conclusion that analysis of contemporary situation definitely does not allow us to use this term. One of the reasons - the international arena is full of various actors – so called “multi-polarity” doesn’t give us the right to use that term for present-day IR. But the speaker also stressed out that current international affairs and the Cold War Era have several obvious points in common. We can make a parallel between the nowadaysrelations and the early years of the Cold War, when the rules of “game”have just began to be formed by some players. “Russian Federation does not shy of breaking rules that were formed along with European Union security system and during the post-Cold War Era”. And “NATO tries to build strategic security system within past twenty years and now this process continues”.

P. Lunak claimed the necessity of all international actors, including Russia, to remember that we are all part of unified globalized world. P. Lunak had quite an open dialogue with the audience and pointed out that Ukrainians should know that “the current crisis is about Ukraine but not only about Ukraine”. He mentioned that Western states agree: prosperous and sovereign Ukraine is one of major issues within the existing security system. It means that Ukraine is still in “everyone’s interest”. And NATO will support the state politically, provide technical assistance, helptrain the military. P. Lunak stressed out the necessity of corruption elimination as one of the primary goals for Ukrainian civil society and the government. “The reform agenda should be on your mind” - the expert stressed .

Angre Hartel pointed out that there are several trends of the Post-Cold War Era, and first of all, the switch to multi-polarity. The speaker supported the idea expressed by Petr Lunak that the current international situation should not called “The New Cold War” because “the danger is not the same as the tension during the Cold War period”.

Speaking about NATO he had emphasized the idea that this structure has to maintain a capability for “an effective security response”. Andre Hartel said that now NATO is in search for new tasks, new identities and that this internal process also influences Ukraine-NATO relations. These relations face various problems, including those that deal with effectiveness of internal Ukrainian reforms.

Andre Hartel considers NATO to be a value community, and within the framework of that criteria, he emphasized that the West is now facing the so called “value crisis”, which connected with the problem of differences in approaches to definition of categories. “Human rights, democracy are much discussed”. In that case A. Hartel recommends focusing on common interests.

Brian Whitmore has agreed with others in that “we are not in the Cold War”. The contemporary system as he insisted consists of two different types of governance which try to spread its influence on the rest of the world. The difference between them is connected with the tools of their operation. B. Whitmore pointed out that the Western system tries to appeal to “inspiration” whether the Russian type of governance appeals to “greed”. The Russia’s approach is based on corruption and weapons. B. Whitmore further insisted that all Western states should be unified by the necessity to fight corruption because it is the national security matter or the point of concern of every government.

He also pointed out that, of course, the Western system is able to survive without Ukraine but it will be much stronger with this state to be sustainable, democratic, sovereign and wealthy within all the spheres. He goes back to early 1990s when both Ukraine and Russia has their ‘identity crises”. But these two states coped with this situation in qualitatively different ways: Russia has created system that is based on succession to Soviet past whether in Ukraine there was a genuine attempt to break away from this. Despite the fact that Ukraine instinctively gravitates towards the Western system, this state is “deeply corrupted” – that is the greatest problem to his mind. B. Whitmore associates the greatest insecurity with the level of corruption in Ukraine.

Ihor Todorov pointed out that the current situation over Ukraine marks the destruction of international law and security systems. Despite its imperfection, NATO, as he mentioned, is the only effective structure of collective security that exists nowadays.

As the speaker stated, first signs of the “Russian revanchism” have appeared long before the aggression itself (as an example, he mentioned its desire to play a particular role in the fate of the Balkan states, the claims regarding Tuzla, and Putin's speech in Munich, aggression against Georgia in 2008). He stressed out that Ukraine, as well as other states, face now“the second edition of the Brezhnev doctrine of limited sovereignty that was transformed V. Putin”. I. Todorov has posted that the current talks about antiterrorist coalition in Syriaemanating from Moscow is simply an effort to distract attention from its aggression against Ukraine. He also stressed out that contemporary Ukraine has no internal conflict. Now we do have external aggression from particular state against “our sovereignty and freedom”. But the internal problem of Ukraine is connected with the lack of political will of the authorities.

Tetyana Matychak spoke on the role of mass media and information within the context of current Ukrainian crisis and its relations with the West and Russia through the dimension of facing challenges in information sphere. She stressed out that the psychological factor plays huge role in formation and spreading of information. Since we live in the information world, our vision and reaction is usually determined by the content of the information we receive. As she stated, if something is represented all day long in a proper way with use of specific type of communication tools and also supported by suitable pictures people start believing in what they see and hear, no matter how “fake” it is.

She pointed out the ways to create fakes: photo fakes, video fakes, investigative “evidences”, fictional eyewitness accounts,false information,processed information and distorted information. T. Matychak allowed that it is difficult to identify fake news and information but possible. To her mind, it is important to analyze who gains benefits from information that is delivered to audience.

She gave wide range of vivid examples of such fakes in news, and underlined that Russian propaganda has complicated networking system which take on the role of powerful “information warfare”. It shows various events that have taken place in Ukraine in distorted way and often without any bit of reality.

Sergii Dzherdzh has said that after the “hybrid war” began, Ukraine was caught not aware. However, despite all the aspirations of Russian sidethey were unable to get complete victory in information dimension. And, partly, the cause of this is connected with Ukraine-NATO cooperation that positively enhances security.

Russian mass media are trying to manipulate the consciousness of not only its own citizens but also to impact the world community and of course Ukrainians. “Russia forms particular images that have not even existed, negativepictures against Ukraine”. “Words form the image, the image forms stereotypes of perception”. He mentioned very important fact that “Russian propaganda is the successor of the Soviet propaganda”, but also emphasized the idea that the alternative way for Ukraine to succeed in that war is “openness and the truth”.In accordance with his opinion with regard to Ukraine-West relations, there are several possibilities for the Western states to assist us. “The continuation of sanctions,financialsupport of Ukrainian economy and aid to it’s defense industry”.

Sergii Glebov stressed that NATO was introduced into Wider Black Sea region as an internal actor from the very beginning, having just Turkey and Greece in, and only strengthened its presence with Bulgaria and Romania inside since 2007. That was not a secret, according to the Foreign Policy Concept of The Russian Federation as of 12 July 2008 that Russia maintained ‘its negative attitude towards the expansion of NATO, notably to the plans of admitting Ukraine and Georgia to the membership in the alliance, as well as to bringing the NATO military infrastructure closer to the Russian borders on the whole…"

As far as Russia preferred to call widely-accepted outside Russia more common term “the enlargement” of NATO instead of “the expansion” of NATO as it appears in the official documents on the Russian foreign policy (what makes a huge meaning difference in Russian language) there is a direct link between “the NATO syndrome” which had been chasing Russian Federation since 1991 until annexation of Crimea in 2014. As it turned out, the annexation of Crimea was partly justified by Russian President Putin when introducing NATO as a direct at the same time threat and motivation to act. In this respect, more important is that Russia according to its current Military Doctrine as of 25 December 2014 directly suspects NATO in aggressive intentions. They could also arise from the Black Sea region as far as NATO’s zone of responsibility stretches towards this region "near the borders of the Russian Federation".

Tetyana Chernenko pointed out peculiarities of the Russian propaganda, its varieties and opportunities of resistance. In particular, much attention was paid to opportunities and the urgent need for our state to act effectively not only within our own media space, but also all around the world actively using civil society support. T. Chernenko also covered the experience of other states’ actions in information sector in order to protect their own national interests.

Marta Dyczok highlighted that Ukraine was all over the international headlines from the end of 2013 through summer 2014. Yet international public opinion was divided over the causes and consequences of events, the character of the Maidan protests, Putin’s sending Russian troops into Crimea, and the nature of the military conflict in eastern areas of Ukraine. This is partly due to the fact a variety of representations were visible in media reports, which can be explained by the nature of how global media organizations function, the initial effectiveness of Russia’s information machine, and that media messages coming out of Ukraine were sometimes mixed, or belated. What this story shows is that normative rules of objective reporting, presenting all sides of the story, presenting only information that can be indisputably verified, have worked against the larger goal of providing an accurate picture of what is really going on in a situation where information is being used as a weapon.

Volodymyr Boyko and Iryna Maksymenko carried out the simulation game with the students where all participants discussed the advantages and disadvantages of Ukraine's accession to NATO within the group. Frank laughter and lively discussions as well as the final high quality presentation of students proved the importance of such activities to better understanding of the problematic aspects of international and national security.