On April 28, in Paris, Valdai Club together with IFRI held the second in a series of roundtables on the crisis in Ukraine. The roundtable brought together more than 80 Russian, Ukrainian, French and European experts and officials, members of the business community and the media.
On April 16, Berlin hosted the first in a series of roundtables initiated by the Valdai Discussion Club on the crisis in Ukraine. More than 30 experts from Austria, Germany, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine and the USA took part in the discussion of the causes of the crisis and future scenarios.
The Valdai Discussion Club presents its new paper, “National Identity and Russia’s Future,” based on the discussions at the club’s 10th anniversary conference in September 2013 and subsequent work of the expert groups. The paper attempts to answer the most fundamental of questions: Who are the Russians, and what does their future hold?
The report presented at the 11th Krasnoyarsk economic forum on the 27th of February 2014 is a follow-up to the report Toward the Great Ocean, or the New Globalization of Russia, published by the Valdai Discussion Club in July 2012, and is based on the conclusions drawn in that report.
Evaluating Russia’s development index during the annual poll this year, experts of the Valdai Discussion Club spoke positively about the country's growing role in national, regional and global security, foreign policy and soft power. Most negative assessment was given to performance of Russia’s political institutions, public confidence in them and the dynamics of economic development.
Oliver Bullough has visited Russia many times and lived in Russia for long stretches of time as a Reuters correspondent in Moscow and in other capacities. The author analyzes Russia’s national crisis through the lens of the life of dissident priest Dmitry Dudko and seeks to understand whether Russia has a future as a nation.
Morrison portraits Lina’s life with Prokofiev in the West and in Moscow against the backdrop of tragic political events, her unhappy marriage to the great composer and the horrors of her life in Stalin’s gulag camps, where she spent eight years after Prokofiev left her for another woman.
Released in 2013 by New York-based Regnery Publishing Inc., the book paints a rather gloomy picture of Russia’s future, claiming that in just a few decades, the nation as we know it today will cease to exist owing to a declining Slavic population, a growing and increasingly radicalized Muslim population, and an incremental invasion of eastern Russia by Chinese immigrants. As Newt Gingrich, Former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, argues in the book’s preface, “That reality should be the baseline for American thinking about strategic planning dealing with Russia.”
Russia is clearly still a long way from anything that we are used to seeing in the West, but the Moscow Mayoral election, bizarre as its circumstances are, show signs of a step in the right direction.
It is obvious that Russia and Vladimir Putin intend to build pragmatic cooperation with all those ready to build relations on equal and mutually beneficial terms. China is a very conven-ient partner in this regard. There is no need to remind of all the assessments made by leaders of both countries during the course of their high- and top-level meetings.
The self-defense forces in Donbass likely do not have the capability to win. Kiev will simply outlast the republic’s fighters. Ukraine still has many mobilization resources. The most important thing for self-defense fighters is not to win the war but rather not to lose it.
It is no longer the struggle for Ukraine, but a battle for Russia. If Vladimir Putin manages to keep the Russian people on his side, he will win it. If not, another geopolitical catastrophe might follow.
The Brest-Litovsk peace treaty that ended Russia’s part in the war has been the subject of heated debate from the moment it was signed in March 1918. To this day, scholars offer differing interpretations of the circumstances that led to the treaty and its domestic and foreign policy importance.
The hasty attempts by president Barak Obama, prime minister David Cameron and some of the leaders of the EU member countries to declare Russia guilty of the crash of the flight MH-17 (with anti-Poroshenko insurgents in Eastern Ukraine presented as mere “pawns of Kremlin”) was obvious.
One of the main achievements of the 6th BRICS Summit was the signing of an official document on establishing a New Development Bank with a declared capital of $100 billion. The creation of the bank is an important step towards institutionalizing BRICS and strengthening its positions in the world in the long run.
The key Russian speakers included Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov. The other speakers included Belarusian Defense Minister Yuri Zhadobin, Pakistan Defense Minister Asif Khawaja, Iranian Defense Minister Hossien Dehghan, CSTO Secretary General Nikolay Bordyuzha, the political commissioner of China’s Lanzhou Military District General Li Changcai, Egyptian Deputy Defense Minister Mohamed Said Elassar, and Indian Deputy Defense Minister Anuj Kumar Bishnoi.
Today, there is a need to take note that the Eurasian debate itself is not a monolithic on the whole and in its various forms serves distinct purposes. What seems to be emerging in multiple visions where each region has its own perspectives.
The world order laid down by the Atlantic Charter was based on U.S. military and economic dominance. To all intents and purposes, Washington will maintain its military dominance for the foreseeable future. Economic dominance is another matter.
The confrontation between the West and Russia is now at a turning point. Until now, Russian politicians have mockingly dismissed Western sanctions such as account freezes and travel bans. They were seen as trifles. Now, Europe is getting out the big guns and wants to use sanctions against Russian companies to force Moscow to leave Ukraine alone.
The United States has concluded that Russia violated a landmark arms control treaty by testing a prohibited ground-launched cruise missile, according to senior American officials, a finding that was conveyed by President Obama to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in a letter on Monday.
Moving beyond sanctions against Russia – and encouraging the European Union to go forward with tougher sanctions – to more direct military involvement on the side of the Ukrainian government is still a step Obama is unlikely to take, some foreign-policy analysts say.
Tightening the economic screws will hurt Russia's economy, but the consequences will also be felt by western companies – and not just the usual suspects of energy and arms companies that have made high-profile deals with the Kremlin. Germany, for example, has 6,000 companies doing business in Russia, mostly small and medium-sized enterprises. But large conglomerates will be the bellwethers, showing how serious the consequences will be.
The outrage at Russia is more than sufficient. What Washington needs is a policy. Particularly in the aftermath of the MH17 tragedy, the drive to punish Russia, to raise the costs of its aggression against Ukraine by levying harsher sanctions and seeking to isolate it internationally, is understandable; it might also meet a profound psychological need to demonstrate that we are not indifferent to the loss of nearly 300 innocent lives. But punishing Russia falls short of a credible policy.