An image of a woman sitting in a public transport with a COVID-19 protection mask on the face representing the Covid-19 pandemic in Eastern Europe

Addressing the Covid-19 Pandemic in Eastern Europe: Policy Responses Across FREE Network Countries

The FREE Network is delighted to invite you to a webinar to share insights and knowledge about how countries around the Baltic Sea, in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus have fared in the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting everyone around the globe and leaves none of us untouched. However, much of the focus in international media has been on the most affected countries and richer countries in East Asia, the European Union and the United States with less attention given to countries around the Baltic Sea, in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. Since the FREE Network includes research and policy institutes in Belarus (BEROC), Latvia (BICEPS), Russia (CEFIR@NES), Poland (CenEA), Georgia (ISET), Ukraine (KSE) and Sweden (SITE), we are uniquely placed to provide a comprehensive regional perspective on the pandemic with examples of very different strategies implemented in the countries concerned.

Many of the countries in Eastern Europe and the Baltic region differ from Western Europe in terms of successfully limiting infections and deaths resulting from the pandemic so far. At the same time, the situation in Russia has worsened rapidly over the last few weeks, despite a lockdown having been imposed. The fatality rate and the number of infections have also been high in Sweden, where, in contrast to other Baltic countries, only relatively lenient restrictions have been imposed on the population. In the same vein, the Belarusian government has taken few, mild measures in response to the pandemic, but the mortality rate seems to have remained rather low.

This webinar will provide a first overview of how countries in the region have fared in the pandemic and allow for a better understanding of what governments have done, how people have responded, how other countries are being portrayed in the national media, and what the current discussions focus on.


  • 🇸🇪 Jesper Roine, Professor at the Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics (SITE / Sweden)
  • 🇱🇻 Sergejs Gubins, Research Fellow at the Baltic International Centre for Economic Policy Studies (BICEPS / Latvia)
  • 🇷🇺 Natalia Volchkova, Director of the Centre for Economic and Financial Research at New Economic School (CEFIR@NES / Russia)
  • 🇬🇪 Yaroslava V. Babych, Lead Economist at ISET Policy Institute (ISET / Georgia)
  • 🇺🇦 Tymofiy Mylovanov, President at the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE / Ukraine)
  • 🇧🇾 Lev Lvovskiy, Senior Research Fellow at the Belarusian Economic Research and Outreach Center (BEROC / Belarus)
  • 🇵🇱 Michal Myck, Director of the Centre for Economic Analysis (CenEA / Poland)


  • Torbjörn Becker, Director of the Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics (SITE / Sweden)

The webinar opens a series of online discussions aiming to provide a regional overview, updates as well as in-depth analysis of specific topics related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Follow-up webinars will focus on such topics as regional differentiation within countries, effects on the environment, the gender dimension of the pandemic, and the analytical aspects of Covid-19 statistics.

Date: Thursday, May 28th, 15.00-16:30 CET

Location: Zoom webinar, link to be provided for registered participants

RSVP: The number of participants for the webinar is limited, therefore we invite to register as soon as possible, but no later than May 25, 23:59 CET.

Registration link: Please click here to register.