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Eastern Circles is a French think tank with a mission to shed light on the geopolitics of energy and defense in Eastern Europe, focusing on Ukraine since the full-scale invasion.

Our mission is to explain to policy and business decision-makers the changing nature of regional geopolitics and their impact on the future of European defense and energy security, and on the global system of alliances.

We fulfill it through analytical writing, discussion series on how Ukraine war changed the world, and applied projects building people-to-people contacts for an in-depth understanding on Ukraine and the nature of this war.

cross-section of three approaches
of countries which use businesses for political aims
geopolitical strategy analysis
regulatory analysis
the micro-economic analysis
of companies to understand their position and strategy in a competitive landscape
the micro-economic analysis 
of companies to understand their position and strategy in a competitive landscape
regulatory analysis
geopolitical strategy analysis 
of countries which use businesses for political aims

Industries in focus
  • Anastasiya Shapochkina
    Founder and president of Eastern Circles, she has 11 years of experience in consulting and energy industry, where she worked on companies, technologies and market analysis in the renewable energy, utilities, nuclear energy, and e-mobility. She led development of international cross-industry partnership research projects on these subjects and represented business in European industrial and research associations. Anastasiya is a lecturer on geopolitics in Sciences Po Paris since 2012, focusing on the role of business in the EU-Russia relations. Author of articles on the geopolitics and geoeconomics in the Former Soviet Union, she has regular TV and radio appearances. Anastasiya graduated from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, German and European Studies Program.
  • Rodolphe Oberle
    Secretary General
    Rodolphe Oberle studied international relations at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Strasbourg and the Business School where he earned a Master. He is also followed the Military Staff Command course from the Paris Military School. After a short military experience as officer specialised in former Soviet Union and information operations marked by several deployments, moved to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Occupied politico-military functions in several field missions:  Chechen Border Monitoring Team Leader and Planning Officer, Parliamentary Advisor for Defence Reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Project Manager for Central Asia border security and engagement with Afghanistan, Monitor Coordinator an Operations Officer in Donbas. Taking part in various long term monitoring missions of OSCE'S Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.
  • Daryna-Maryna Patiuk
    Director of Communications
    As a part of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academt sociologic community, Daryna has conducted in-depth research on the intricacies of societal dynamics within Ukraine, exploring the role of various actors in shaping the country's civil society landscape. In the position of Strategic Communication Manager at MSA, a Ukrainian think and action tank, the primary objective was to foster cohesion among institution leaders in Ukraine's Defense Sector, as well as the public and private sectors and conduct relative research. By employing strategic communication strategies, Daryna was working towards enhancing collaboration and cooperation among key stakeholders, contributing to the overall development and effectiveness of these institutions. Also Daryna is a member of the Paris School of International Affairs at Sciences Po Paris community with an academic focus on International Development, Social Innovation, and European Studies.
  • Elitsa Gadeva
    Podcast Producer, Journalist
    Elitsa Gadeva is a freelance journalist, with a taste for reporting on Eastern Europe and the post-Soviet space. With headlines in Reuters, France 24 and Bulgarian media, Elitsa produces multimedia content in English, French and Bulgarian. She has worked on various projects, from long-form reporting to podcasts and social media videos. Elitsa has a Joint Master's degree in Journalism and International Security from Sciences Po Paris.
  • Elina Sverdlova
    Chief Content Editor, International Health and Development Expert, Ukraine-Africa
    Elina Sverdlova is a global health and international security policy expert with 15 years of experience in development and conflict zones.
  • Sebastian Linke
    Sebastian Linke is a graduate student pursuing a master’s in European Affairs at the Sciences Po School of Public Affairs and a master’s in international Affairs and Governance at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. Sebastian is particularly interested in the geopolitics of the European Union as well as security and defense issues. Besides his studies, Sebastian has gained professional experience working for a public affairs firm in Switzerland. He speaks German, English and French.
  • Tetyana Ogarkova
    Ukrainian literary scholar, journalist, essayist, she graduated from Kyiv-Mohyla Academy National University. In 2002 she received a scholarship from the French government to study at the Paris XII Val-de-Marne University, and in 2007 she defended her dissertation and acquired PhD in Literary Studies at the same university. Since 2006 she has been teaching History of French Literature, Theory of Literature and History of European Literary Avant Garde in Kyiv Mohyla Academy. In 2013-2013 she actively supported events on the Maidan. Since then, apart from academia and teaching, she is engaged in public and journalistic activity: in 2014-2015 she wrote a series of publications for The Ukrainian Pravda; since 2015 she has been coordinating the international department of the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center, where she prepares texts about Ukraine for the foreign audience.Since the full-scale invasion, Tetyana has travelled Ukraine extensively with PEN Ukraine and led Ukraine on Fire podcast in FR and EN.

  • Dominique Menu
    Dominique MENU is Supervisory Board member of UKREXIMBANK since June 2019. He worked for almost thirty years for BNP Paribas based in Moscow, Zagreb, Belgrade and Kiev. Before leaving for Moscow in 1991, he had been responsible for project finance, maritime and aviation sectors at Crédit Lyonnais, Indosuez, Worms and BNP. Mr. Menu holds diplomas from ICN and Languages’O, is a 1980 DEA USSR & Eastern Europe Fellow in Sciences Po, and a holds a master’s in International Relations from Yale University.
  • Velina Tchakarova
    Velina Tchakarova is an expert in Russia-China relations and runs a geopolitics consultancy. Before that, she was Director of the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy (AIES) and Peer Board Member of the Defence Horizon Journal. She is a lecturer at the Real World Risk Institute led by the best-selling author Nassim Taleb and a Member of the Strategic and Security Policy Advisory Board of the Science Commission at the Austrian Federal Ministry of Defence.

    Velina Tchakarova holds a M.A. from Heidelberg University, Germany, and BA from the University for World and National Economy, Bulgaria.

    Velina is invested in many Global South fora in India, China and in Africa, and has advised EC on the Global South Fellowship, in addition to editing Russia-China relations report for MinArm.

  • Tomas Simovic
    Tomas is a graduate of Ecole Nationale Supperieure des Techniques Avancees (ENTSTA) in Paris and holds an MSc. in Technical Cybernetics from Czech Technical University. He spent 7 years at EDF R&D in Paris working on mathematical models for power planning, trading, risk and valuation. Subsequently he worked as a subject matter expert in mathematical optimization at Sapient Global Markets based in London, working for energy trading clients in Switzerland and the US. He was also part of a proprietary trading team of the Slovak gas incumbent, SPP. In his current role, Tomas initiates, coordinates and leads various strategic initiatives at Slovenske Elektrarne ranging from asset backed trading enhancements, investment projects in new flexibility with a budget of 200+ m EUR and company strategy. Tomas also coordinates the response for strategic planning documents such the TYNDP, NDP, INECP, European energy such legislation as market design and is a member of working groups at Eurelectric and Nuclear Europe.

  • Dounia Ayadi
    Dounia Ayadi is a French entrepreneur specializing in property insurance. After graduating with a degree in Business & Management from MiddleSex University in London, Dounia AYADI set up ADB RISK, an insurance brokerage firm specializing in property insurance, in 2016. After the ADB RISK firm has experienced growth thanks to business conquest methods based on prospecting and creating partnerships, Dounia sold it and is now running a medical start-up. Dounia has followed Eastern Circles development from the early days and has advised on reach-out, communications strategies and pricing.

  • Florent Parmentier
    Florent Parmentier (@florentparmenti) is a professor strategic foresight at Sciences-Po and is Secretary General of CEVIPOF. He holds a PhD in political science and is a research associate at the HEC Center for Geopolitics. He is a regular speaker on national and international media, radio and television.
  • Regis Genté

    French journalist based in Tbilisi for the past 21 years, covering extensively the region for Le Figaro and other French media, co-author of the Wagner report

  • Antti Hartikainen
    Finnish public official, Head of EU Mission to Ukraine till May 2023

  • Olena Tregub
    Secretary-General of NAKO, or the Independent Anti-Corruption Commission, Ukrainian NGO created by Transparency International in 2017; Member of the Anti-Corruption Council of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry; she used to hold a director position in Ukraine’s Ministry of Economic Development and Trade
  • Hennadiy Maksak

    One of the founders and executive director of the Ukrainian think-tank “Foreign Policy Council “Ukrainian Prism”. Founded in 2015 Ukrainian Prism is a leading non-governmental research and advocacy institution in field of foreign policy of
    Ukraine and international security. Maksak is also a part of the Ukraine and Eastern Europe Programme at GLOBSEC Policy Institute in Bratislava, Slovakia.
    Fields of expertise: International relations and foreign policy of Ukraine, security in Eastern Europe, Eastern partnership policy, European and Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine, diplomatic service, expert diplomacy, economic diplomacy.
  • Elsa Vidal
    Radio France Internationale
  • Yves Bourdillon
    Les Echos
  • Marion Van Renterghem
  • Samantha de Bendern
  • Isabelle Labeyrie
    Radio France
  • Alexander Malyarenko

    Master of Economic Sciences. Graduated from BNTU (Belarus,2010), The Academy of Public Administration (Belarus,2015), VDU (Lithuania, 2022). Alumni: School of Young Managers of Public Administration, East-European School of Political Studies, International School of Eurasian Integration, WEASA. Researcher in the scientific organization, data analyst at NGOs, lecturer. Participated in the development of investment programs, programs for the development of foreign economic activities, sectoral development programs and structural reforms programs, feasibility studies for the establishment of integrated structures (holdings). Participated in international projects on the development of social accountability. Author and co-author of more than sixty publications in collections of reports, articles in scientific and specialized publications of Belarus, Russia, Poland, Ukraine, France, Lithuania. Research interests: foreign economic activity, transformation processes in the economy, structural reforms. Languages: Russian, Belarusian, English.

  • Stanislas de Bourmont
    Stanislas de Bourmont holds a degree in History and Geography from the Institut Catholique de Paris (ICP). He is currently studying for a Master's degree in Geopolitics at the Institut Français de Géopolitique (Université Paris VIII). Passionate about energy, he wrote his master’s thesis on the geopolitics of oil in Kazakhstan. Since 2021, he is also a junior expert associated with Eastern Circles, for which he continues to focus on regional energy issues (Central Asia, Caspian Sea and Caucasus).
    • Charlotte Souyris
      Charlotte Souyris is currently a master student at the Paris School of International Affairs in Sciences Po Paris, focusing on international relations in the post-Soviet space. Having travelled in the Caucasus and Central Asia, she has experienced working in both the cultural and business sectors, at the French institute and the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Georgia. Being specialized in economics since her bachelor, she has been a visiting student at the Higher School of Economics (HSE) in Moscow in 2020-2021
    • Alexandre Foskett
      Alexandre Foskett is a master's degree student at the Sciences Po School of Public Affairs, specializing in security and defense issues as well as economics.
      He has experience in both the public and private sectors having worked for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Kyiv and for an M&A boutique in London.
      His languages are English, French and Russian.
    • Gabrielle Valli
      Former co-founder and vice-president of Eastern Circles, Gabrielle has spent several years in the post-Soviet region where she has worked for the French Ministry of Armed Forces and the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs. Enjoying a strong understanding of the relationship between the public and private sectors, her fields of interest include security issues on the region, defense economics, frozen conflicts, energy and digitalisation.
      With a strong academic background in social sciences and methodology of research, she has been a visiting student at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) before graduating from Sciences Po Paris – Master in Public Affairs, with a major in Security and Defense Policies
    • Dylan van de Ven
      Former Secretary, Dylan has five years of experience as a strategy consultant for international financial institutions, international organizations, and the private sector. He is a Fellow at the Caucasus-Asia Center, focusing on the Greater Caucasus economic region. His expertise includes strategy development, project management, financial modelling, and economics in the energy, mobility, infrastructure, digital, and tourism sectors. Editor and author of articles on the post-Soviet space and geoeconomics, Dylan has degrees in applied economics, corporate finance, and international management from the University of Ghent, Vienna WU University, and the Graduate School of Management in St. Petersburg.
    • Zhasmin Avetisyan
      Having worked in the field of Research and Communication of Eastern Circles, Zhasmin Avetisyan is currently a postgraduate student in European Affairs with a policy stream “Europe in the World” at Sciences Po Paris. She has worked as a research assistant at the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD), where she built experience on corruption practices in Eastern Europe. Her interest in the post-Soviet region is based on both personal experience and the focus of her undergraduate degree at University College London (UCL), which combined training in politics, international relations, and sociology with specialist modules on Russia and Eastern Europe.
    • Dimitar Dermendzhiev
      Former expert, he is an international professional with experience in EU civilian crisis management, government, NGO focusing on diplomacy (conflict prevention, dialogue, mediation), programme management, governance, and engaging with conflict-affected population. Trak II peacebuilding experience in international NGO focusing on exploring entry points for dialogue through trust and relationship building activities to prevent and resolve conflicts. Managed conflict prevention and mediation projects supporting European peace-making in the Middle East (Syria, Lebanon, Turkey), Eastern Europe (Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia).
      Dimitar graduated from Sciences Po Paris and the College of Europe in Bruges. In addition to English and French, he speaks Russian, Spanish, and Bulgarian.
    • Eléonore Garnier
      Former expert, Eleonore has worked as a consultant to the French government. She has experience working for the French diplomatic mission to the South-Caucasus, where she built expertise on Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Her work expertise includes human capital development, European technical assistance to public administrations, and military-industrial cooperation in the Black Sea region. European Neighborhood Policy expert, Eleonore graduated from the College of Europe and the University of Geneva in European affairs.
    • Irene Sciurpa
      Irene has worked as an expert for Eastern Circles. After a three-year degree in Philosophy at the University of Perugia, Irene participated in several international experiences in the field of human rights protection. During her master’s degree in International Cooperation and Human Rights Protection (unibo), she spent about two years in Tbilisi, Georgia, where she studied and researched at Tbilisi State University.
      In the latest years, she has studied politics and conflicts of the South Caucasus, with a focus on the integration of the ethnic minorities in Georgia, the main subject of her thesis work.
      Since September 2020 she has been working at Civil Forum which deals with peace building and post conflict reconstruction.
      She has a strong interest in the issues related to post-Soviet politics, which she tries to enrich as much as possible. For Eastern Circles, she is also graphic designer. 

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