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 800 representatives of the international scholarly community from almost 50 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.
Instead of an energy dialogue, EU and Russia have two energy monologues. Europe is afraid of serious conversations, but we need to talk and get our message across. There is still space to negotiate, but it is shrinking.
Dmitry Medvedev’s recent visit to Vietnam and Thailand is important not only for the countries' bilateral relations but also as a way to join integration processes in the Asia-Pacific Region, which has been steadily asserting itself as a new global economic center.
The risk to Europe’s energy supplies: If it bends to US wishes to disdain the offer of West Siberian plentiful supply, it may find that the Iraqi–Iranian huge reserves have been scooped up by Pakistan, India and China. The differing internal dynamics within the EU are incapacitating any EU decision-making in respect to its longer term relationship with Russia.