Negotiating a Resolution of the Russian-Ukrainian War

Wars pose terrible moral negotiating dilemmas that this panel of Robert H. Mnookin, Alain Lempereur, and Eugene B. Kogan expose and explore.

In an unprovoked war of aggression, Ukraine faced a giant foe with the capacity to inflict catastrophic damage on its civilian population. What role could negotiating play in ending this war, or mitigating its effects? It is easy to imagine the elements of a negotiated deal that might save thousands of lives: in exchange for Russian troops withdrawal, in addition to removing the economic sanctions imposed on Russia, Ukraine would pledge never to join NATO and remain a “neutral nation,” aligned neither with the West nor Russia. The deal could even cede Crimea, and possibly the eastern provinces to Russia.

Would it be proper to promote such a deal, or like Munich, would this be what Professor Avishai Margalit, might properly characterize as “a rotten compromise,” that is immoral? Would it not reward Russian aggression? Quite apart from negotiations to end entirely the bloodshed, what role might negotiating play to mitigate the costs of war, especially for noncombatants? To what extent might deals that provide safe passage and humanitarian aid during a war save lives? Wars pose terrible negotiation dilemmas that this panel will expose and explore.

The panelists for this discussion are Robert H. Mnookin, Alain Lempereur, and Eugene B. Kogan.

Robert H. Mnookin is the Samuel Williston Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and for twenty-five years served as the Chair of the Program on Negotiation. He directs the Harvard Negotiation Research Project. A leading scholar in the field of conflict resolution, Professor Mnookin has applied his interdisciplinary approach to negotiation and conflict resolution to a wide range of problems, both public and private.

Alain Lempereur is the Alan B. Slifka Professor of Conflict Resolution at Brandeis University. He serves as an executive committee member and an affiliate faculty of the Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School, and as an affiliate expert of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. He has facilitated reconciliation programs in the African Great Lake through the Negotiators of the World project and meetings for Israeli and Palestinian leaders through the PON-supported Negotiation Strategies Institute. He led the Conflict Resolution Program at Brandeis and the European negotiation institute Essec Irene. He also supports negotiation programs at the European University Institute School of Transnational Governance.

Eugene B. Kogan is an expert in the power dynamics of negotiation. He’s also a first-generation immigrant from Russia, Kogan has lived overseas for 17 years, developing the cultural acumen, relationships, and experience to coach diverse teams. Hundreds of private- and public-sector executives from Europe, Middle East, Asia, and North America have benefitted from his dynamic lectures.


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