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.
As the Holiday Season is upon us, we find ourselves reflecting on the past year and on those who have helped to strengthen the Club. We value our relationship with you and I would like to thank you all for your interest and your contribution to the Valdai Club’s development.
NATO is now tasked with reassurance and deterrence in the Baltic region and eastern Europe. But what is the nature of the threat? And how certain are NATO governments that the threat is real? If indeed there are new or evolving approaches to operational and tactical Russian military operations, this must be seen in its context: Russia has acted, whether we like it or not, in its own national security interests.
A quarter century after the German reunification, the united Europe under Berlin’s leadership and Washington’s military and political patronage has become Russia’s ideological opponent and geopolitical rival in addition to being its economic partner. Thus, the anti-Russian economic sanctions did not just appear accidentally or result from external conditions like the pressure from Washington or the Malaysian Boeing disaster.