Estimated reading time 3 min

Concern for democracy – a unique series of dialogues provides a forum for constructive discussion on the crisis

Russian attack on Ukraine showed Europeans that living in democratic society should not to be taken for granted. In a series of constructive dialogues open for all in April and June, the participants have the opportunity for an in-depth conversation on defending democracy.


Ilari Lovio

Specialist, Communications and Public Affairs


The war in Ukraine initiated by Russia has raised democracy and security to the top of the most pressing topics in Europe at the moment. As a response to the ongoing crisis, a series of dialogues knows as the Democracy Defense Dialogues, which are discussions for the members of the public, decision-makers, government officials and experts. The dialogues offer a platform for an inclusive discussion on the current crisis, the deteriorating security situations, the significance of democracy and the tools available for defending democracy in local communities, nationally and in the international community.

“In the midst of a crisis, in particular, democracy needs active defending and actions that reinforce its core values. The changed security situation has ignited a lively public debate in Finland but there are only a limited number of forums where such debates can be held constructively,” says Veera Heinonen, Director of the Democracy and Participation theme at Sitra.

The Democracy Defence Dialogue are jointly co-ordinated by Dialogue AcademyTimeout Foundation, Sitra, Prime Minister’s Office and Ministry of Finance. The goal is to inspire active parties in great numbers throughout the country to organise dialogues in Finland and internationally. In addition to Finland, the dialogues are currently also taking place at least in Italy and Lithuania.

A summary compiled on the outcomes of the discussions will provide insights into how individuals and communities can strengthen democracy through their own actions and into how defending democracy on a local, national and international level are interlinked. The Ministry of Finance will produce a summary for the use of the general and local governments.

“Dialogues are in themselves a form of developing democracy. They promote participation and create multidimensional understanding of the challenges we are facing. An active civil society is part of our national resilience in crises,” says Katju Holkeri, Financial counsellor and Head of Unit for Governance Policy, Ministry of Finance.  

The Ministry of Finance has appointed a working group to prepare a model for national dialogues in the basis of the Lockdown Dialogues concept. The national model to be published in June will put forward proposals on a more systematic method of utilising the new information produced by the dialogues in government.

We are now calling for local governments, NGOs and companies to organise Democracy Defence Dialogues. Two Democracy Defence Dialogues are already scheduled for 28 April and from 9 June until 31st July. The June dialogues are Pan-European with Latvia, Lithuania and Italy having already signed up for the process.

Read more on Sitra’s events.

Further information:

Päivi Hirvola, Director, Societal Training, Sitra, tel. +(0)294 618 493,

Katju Holkeri, Financial Counsellor/Head of Unit for Governance Policy, Ministry of Finance, tel.  +358 (0)40 764 9880,

Veera Heinonen, Director, Democracy and Participation, Sitra, tel. +(0)294 618 505,

Janne Kareinen, Director, Dialogue Academy,

What's this about?