In time for the OSCE Ministerial Council in Vienna, the OSCE Network of Think Tanks and Academic Institutions on 7 December 2017 published a report on “The Road to the Charter of Paris”. The 30-page report was written by Christian Nünlist (Center for Security Studies, ETH Zürich), Juhana Aunesluoma (University of Helsinki), and Benno Zogg (CSS/ETH). It is also based on two workshops bringing together 37 eyewitnesses and academics, including former CSCE ambassadors who had negotiated the Charter of Paris in 1990. The project was sponsored by the foreign ministries of Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Slovakia, Finland, Ireland, and Serbia.
The report reconstructs the historical root causes of today’s tensions between Russia and the West, based on archival sources and statements of eyewitnesses. It focuses on the period between the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 and the CSCE summit in Paris in November 1990. The main purpose of the project was to add the view of contemporary historians to a plurality of interpretations about the end of the Cold War in Europe and the beginning of a new European security architecture.
The report calls for mutual historical empathy and a frank and open discussion of contested narratives on European security after 1990, based on archival evidence and taken into account historical context. Such a “history dialogue” is in itself a much needed confidence-building measure in the current conflict between Russia and the West.