The Risks in CEE’s 2023 Security Landscape

Embracing a volatile and uncertain world

19 January 2023

Matej Kandrík

Marcin Król Fellow

In the opaque security terrain of 2023, there are many concerning elements from Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine to adverse market trends. However, the inherent risks also have embedded opportunities for the West and Europe if they are capable of capitalising on unfavourable environments.

VUCA is an acronym for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. It can be traced back to US Army War College leadership development curriculum materials from 1987 and can be useful in determining security risks as VUCA was coined to describe defining conditions of the environment and critical challenges for successful leadership.

Looking back to the events of 2022 (and 2021- 2020), it seems wise to internalise living with volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity on a personal level, as it might help ease the fear and anxiety of facing the future.

The following text attempts to capture opportunities, risks and challenges Central and Eastern Europe might face in 2023. With a deep appreciation that we truly live in the VUCA world, these lines have no ambition to predict, just to offer structured thinking about developments likely affecting our lives.


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Matej Kandrík

Marcin Król Fellow

Matej Kandrík is a Marcin Król Fellow 2022/2023 and a cofounder of Adapt Institute and a PhD candidate in Political Science with a specialisation in Security and Strategic Studies at Masaryk University in Brno, Czechia. In 2016 he did a research stay at the National Defence University of Poland. He collaborated as a research fellow with the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the International Republican Institute as a Transatlantic Initiative fellow. Currently, he is participating in CEU Democratic Institute Leadership Academy. His research interests include comprehensive defence, paramilitarism in Central Eastern Europe and strategic communication.


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