The Valdai Discussion Club was established in 2004. It was named after Lake Valdai, which is located close to Veliky Novgorod, where the club’s first meeting took place. The club’s goal is to promote dialogue betweenRussian and international intellectual elite, and to make an independent,unbiased scientific analysis of political, economic and social events inRussia and the rest of the world.
Over 900 representatives of the international scholarly community from 62 countries have taken part in the club’s work. They include professors of major world universities, including Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown, Stanford, Carleton University, the University of London, Cairo University, the University of Teheran, East China University, the University of Tokyo, Tel Aviv University, the University of Messina, Johns Hopkins University, the London School of Economics, King’s College London, Sciences Po and the Sorbonne.
The intellectual potential of the Valdai Club is highly regarded both in Russia and abroad. The President and the Prime Minister of Russia meet with the club’s members, and politicians and public figures from Russia and other states take part in its work.
The club’s regional programs have drawn attention from the expert community, including the Eurasian dialogue, Asian dialogue, Euro-Atlantic dialogue, Mid-Eastern dialogue, the Russia Development Index and the Research Grant Program.
The club’s 10th annual meeting in September 2013 was a success, and opened new vistas for its activities. After observing its 10th anniversary, the club is continuing to develop. It is shifting from a format of telling the world about Russia to practical efforts to shape the global agenda. The Valdai Club has proved its worth as a discussion platform on Russian issues, and is aimed at consolidating the world intellectual elite to find ways of overcoming current global crises.
On the first anniversary of the referendum on independence of the Donetsk People's Republic, its officials claimed that they were fine with becoming an autonomy as a part of Ukraine. The problem of creating autonomous formations and their functioning can generally be solved under certain conditions. But it depends on who will manage the economic process.
Certain statements made by several NATO member states about strengthening of their military budget should be considered as purely cosmetic. Political statements are often very firm from the diplomatic point of view, but are not followed by concrete actions from the military point of view. Their effects do not constitute real threat to Russia.
According to a number of authoritative expert views on the matter, the genocide on the Armenians continued for a few decades in the Ottoman Empire. The Armenian people suffered the heaviest losses in the period 1894-1896, when about 300, 000 were exterminated.