Valdai Academy

The Valdai Club Academy is the Award’s expert body. It consists of the most authoritative and prominent Club experts who took an active part in Club meetings six or more times and have publications in their name on the websites and print publications of the Club at the time of the Award's founding. The Valdai Club Academy is the Award's highest expert body

Valdai Academy Chair

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Timothy Colton
Professor of Government and Russian Studies, Harvard University

Professor of Government and Russian Studies, Harvard University 

Past director of Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies; Co-chair of Working Group on the Future of Russian-American Relations; Has participated in the Valdai Discussion Club meetings since 2004.

Research interests: national and international politics of Russia and Eurasia. Books and articles include Transitional Citizens: Voters and What Influences Them in the New Russia (2000); Popular Choice and Managed Democracy (with Michael McFaul, 2003); The State after Communism (with Stephen Holmes, 2006); Yeltsin: A Life (2008); Leadership and the Politics of Modernization in Russia: The Challenges of Transformation (ed. by Piotr Dutkiewicz and Dmitri Trenin, 2011); Russia: What Everyone Needs to Know (2016); Everyone Loses: The Ukraine Crisis and the Ruinous Contest for Post-Soviet Eurasia (with Samuel Charap, 2017).

Valdai Academy Council

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Andrey Bystritskiy
Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club, Professor, Dean of the Faculty of Communications, Media and Design at the National Research University – Higher School of Economics, member of the Union of Writers
Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club, Professor, Dean of the Faculty of Communications, Media and Design at the National Research University – Higher School of Economics, member of the Union of Writers


In 1985-1991, Andrey Bystritskiy was engaged in research as a Senior Fellow at the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences. He has been in the media industry since 1991, starting as the Head of the Audience Research Department of the All-Russia State Television and Radio Company (RTR), author and host of radio and television broadcasts. In 1993-1996, Andrey Bystritskiy headed sociological research at the Company. From 1996 to 1997, he was in charge of the "Society" Department at the Itogi (Russian Newsweek) magazine. In 1997-1998, Andrey Bystritskiy was Deputy Director General for Information at TV Tsentr. Between 1998 and 1999, he was the Producer of the Russian news service on BBC. In 1999, he joined the Organizing Committee of the Unofficial Moscow Festival as one of its Co-Chairs, he was also a member of the Editorial Board of the Moscow Alternative newspaper and Chairman of the Mayak State Radio Broadcasting Company (main information radio in Russia). In 2000, Bystritskiy became the Director General of the Vesti State Television Company (an entity of RTR). From 2000 to 2008, he was Deputy Director General of RTR and the Director of the Department of Information Programmes of the Russia TV. In 2000-2013 Bystritskiy was a member of the Board of Directors and Vice President of international broadcasting company Euronews. Between 2005 and 2007, he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Apologia monthly magazine. From 2008 to 2014, he was the Chairman of the Voice of Russia State Radio Company (Russian international broadcaster in 44 languages).

Andrey Bystritskiy has been at the National Research University – Higher School of Economics since 2001, as a Dean of the Faculty of Communications, Media and Design since 2014. Since 2008, he has been the head of the Council of the Heads of Government and Public Television and Radio Organizations of CIS Countries. Since 2014, Bystritskiy has been the Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club and the Chairman of the Public Supervisory Council of the Russian Ministry of Communications.

Andrey Bystritskiy is a Professor and PhD (Pedagogics, 1989). He is a member of the Union of Writers. In June 2007, he received the Order of Honour.

Andrey Bystritskiy is the author of books, including such works as Youth Subcultures and Russia's Intelligentsia During the Demise of the Soviet System (1991), and numerous publications in newspapers and magazines.
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Fyodor Lukyanov
Research director of the Valdai Discussion Club, Chairman, Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, Editor-in-Chief, Russia in Global Affairs journal.
Research director of the Valdai Discussion Club, Chairman, Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, Editor-in-Chief, Russia in Global Affairs journal.

Previous positions: editor, then senior editor, Department for Broadcasting to Northern Europe, International Radio Moscow (Voice of Russia, 1990–1993); correspondent, international desk, Segodnya newspaper (1994–1997); editor, international desk, Vremya MN newspaper (1997–2000); editor, international desk and deputy Editor-in-Chief of Vremya Novostei newspaper (2000–2002).
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Timofei Bordachev
Programme Director of the Valdai Discussion Club; Director, Centre for Comprehensive European and International Studies, National Research University Higher School of Economics

Programme Director of the Valdai Discussion Club; Director, Centre for Comprehensive European and International Studies, National Research University Higher School of Economics

PhD in political sciences, Saint Petersburg State University (1999). The coauthor of more than 200 analytical materials for public authorities of the Russian Federation concerning internal development of the European Union and the Russia-EU relations in 2004–2009. Аnalytical reviews were being prepared by a working group, comprising representatives of Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Council on Foreign and Defence Policy (CFDF) and the Institute of Strategic Studies and Analysis (ISSA) and headed by Sergey Karaganov.

As a researcher specializes in Russian-European relations, foreign policy of the European Union, public-private relations in Europe, the European and international security. The author of the academic works published in Russia and abroad.
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Piotr Dutkiewicz
Director and Professor, Center for Governance and Public Policy, Carleton University, Ottawa

Director and Professor, Center for Governance and Public Policy, Carleton University, Ottawa 

He is Editor-in-chief of a 19-volume series on Local and Regional Development in Poland (1986-1989) and editor (or co-editor) of 12 other books, the most recent of which are: Mapping a New World Order: The Rest Beyond the West (2017); Social History of Post-Communist Russia (2016); Eurasian Integration: The View from Within (2015); 22 Ideas To Fix the World (2013); Democracy versus Modernization: A Dilemma for Russia and for the World (2012) and Russia: The Challenges of Transformation (2011); New Technologies in Public Administration as Reflected by the Canadian and Russian Experience (2013). He has received two doctorates honoris causa (2006 and 2007). 

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Sergei Karaganov
Dean of the School of World Economics and International Relations at the National Research University Higher School of Economics; Honorary Chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy

Dean of the School of World Economics and International Relations at the National Research University Higher School of Economics; Honorary Chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy

Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Russia in Global Affairs magazine. Co-founder of the Institute of Europe, Russian Academy of Sciences. Author and editor of more than 25 books and around 500 articles.

Member of the Academic Council of the Ministry of Foregn Affairs of the Russian Federation; Member of the Academic and Advisory Council, Russian Security Council; Member of the Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights under the President of Russia. In 1990s he was the member of the Presidential Council of Russia. Sergei Karaganov was a member of the High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on European Security as a Common Project under the OSCE (2014–2015).

Scientific interests: Soviet/Russian foreign and defense policies, international security, Greater Eurasia , USA and Europe, new global problems.
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Vitaly Naumkin
Full Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Doctor of Historical Sciences; Professor; Academic Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
Full Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Doctor of Historical Sciences; Professor; Academic Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences.

Editor-in-chief, “Vostok (Oriens)” journal (since 1998); Member, Science Council, Russian Foreign Ministry and the Russian Security Council; President, Center for Strategic and Political Studies (since 1991); Goodwill Ambassador for the Alliance of Civilizations by the UN Secretary General (since 2007).

Previous positions: Head, Arab countries Department, Institute of Oriental Studies, RAS (1984–1989); Deputy Director, Institute of Oriental Studies, RAS (1989–1994); Visiting Professor, American University, Cairo (1991); Head, Center for Arab Studies, Institute of Oriental Studies, RAS (1994–2009); Visiting Analyst, Abu Dhabi TV Satellite Channel, UAE (2001–2002); Visiting Professor, University of California in Berkeley (2003); Member, High Level Group, UN Alliance of Civilizations project (2005–2006); Founder and Chairman, Center for Arab and Islamic Studies (2006–2009).

Research interests: Islam; international relations; international security; regional studies (Middle East, Central Asia, South Caucasus); South Arabian studies; conflict management and resolution; ethnology; evolution of Islamic movements; South Arabian ethnography; conflicts among the CIS member-states.

Author of over 500 publications in Russian, English, French, Arabic and other languages dealing with the history of Asia, the Arab world, Central Asia and Caucasus, international relations, political science, Islamic studies, philology, conflict management and resolution.
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Alexander Rahr
Project manager, German-Russian Forum; Vice Chairman of the Council of the Russian Business in Germany

Project manager, German-Russian Forum; Vice Chairman of the Council of the Russian Business in Germany 

Career involved work as Project Researcher for the Federal Institute for East European and International Studies, Cologne (1978–1990); Senior Analyst at the Research Institute of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Munich (1982–1994); Consultant, RAND Corporation, USA (1985–1989); Program Director for Russia and Eurasia (Berthold-Beitz Center) at the German Council on Foreign Relations, Bonn/Berlin (1994–2012); Senior Advisor Russia for Wintershall Holding (2012–2015); Research Director, Project manager at the German-Russian Forum (2012–2015); Senior Advisor Europa for Gazprom (from 2015). 

He was awarded with the German Federal Cross of Merit (2003) and he holds honorary professorships at the Moscow State Institute for International Relations and Higher School of Economics, Moscow. He is member of the Petersburg Dialogue (German-Russian civil society forum); Board member of Yalta European Strategy (YES); Board member of the German-Ukrainian Forum; cofounder of the Berlin Eurasia Club (Kazakhstan). 
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Feng Shaolei
Director of Centre for Russian Studies; Director of Centre for Co-development with Neighboring Countries, East China Normal University

Director of Centre for Russian Studies; Director of Centre for Co-development with Neighboring Countries, East China Normal University

Member of the Academic Council of the Valdai Discussion Club; Member of the international review committees for World Economy and International Relations and “Svobodnaya Mysl”; Member of the Committee of Social Sciences under the Chinese Ministry of Education. His previous positions included: Dean of School of Advanced International and Area Studies, East China Normal University; Member of Sino-Russian Friendship, Peace and Development Committee etc. His major research fields are Russian politics, diplomacy, social transition; great power relations; international politics theories. Selected publications are: System Transition and Foreign Policy; The Ups and Downs of an Eurasian Great Power; Russia in the 20th Century.

Valdai Academy Members

Taisuke Abiru

Senior Representative, Representative Office in Moscow, Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC)

Senior Representative, Representative Office in Moscow, Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC)

After graduating from Waseda University with a degree in political science, Taisuke Abiru earned his MA at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University). He has assumed the current post since January 2017. Before that he had worked as Research Fellow at the Tokyo Foundation (TKFD), a leading Japanese think-tank, for 12 years. His research interests include Japan-Russia relations, US-Russia relations, China-Russia relations and Russia’s internal politics. 


Selected publications (co-authored with Hikaru Hiranuma): Rebuilding Japan’s Energy Policy-Overcoming Constraints and Addressing Longer-Term Challenges (2012); Nuclear Power and Rare Earths (2011).

Frequent contributor of articles to the monthly journal FACTA, also have been quoted by such media organizations as Reuters, the Economist (London), the Wall Street Journal (Japan), NHK, the Kyodo, the Nikkei Shimbun, the Asahi Shimbun, the Mainichi Shimbun.

Hüseyin Bağcı

Professor and Chair, Department of International Relations, Middle East Technical University in Ankara; Deputy Director, Foreign Policy Institute, Ankara; Guest Professor, Humboldt University in Berlin.
Professor and Chair, Department of International Relations, Middle East Technical University in Ankara (since 1992); Deputy Director, Foreign Policy Institute, Ankara; Guest Professor, Humboldt University in Berlin.



TV and radio commentator and syndicated columnist, The New Anatolian newspaper (Ankara); Member, IISS (London) and Center for European Policy Studies (Brussels).

Previous positions: Associate Member and Researcher, Foreign Policy Institute, Ankara (1988); Assistant Professor, Department of International Relations, Middle East Technical University (1988); Deputy Director for Strategic Studies, Foreign Policy Institute, Ankara (1989); Reserve officer, Turkish National Defense Ministry’s General Plans and Principles Department (1990–1991); Visiting Professor, Bonn University and La Sapienza University in Rome (2007); Visiting Professor, Lublin University (2008); Guest Researcher, German Society for Foreign Affairs (DGAP), Bonn; Senior Fellow, Center for European Integration Studies (ZEI), Bonn.

Authored numerous articles and several books on Turkish foreign policy and Turkish-German relations.

Pascal Boniface

Founding Director, French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS)

Founding Director, French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS)

Professor of international relations in the “Institut d’Etudes européennes” (Institute for European Studies) in the University of Paris-8. Director of the quarterly journal “La Revue internationale et stratégique” (International and strategic review) since 1991, and the Editor of “L’Année stratégique” (Strategic Yearbook) since 1985.

He has published or edited more than sixty books dealing with International Relations, Nuclear Deterrence and Disarmament, European Security, French International Policy, Sport in the International Relations and also on the conflict in the Middle East and its impact in France. Several books have become classics, reissued on a regular basis and translated in several languages. Pascal Boniface publishes articles in international and strategic reviews, is regularly present in the national and international media, written or audiovisual, and takes part in many conferences in France and abroad.

Sergey Brilev

Deputy Director and Anchor, TV Channel “Rossiya” (RTR); Member of the Presidium, Council on Foreign and Defense Policy
Deputy Director and Anchor, TV Channel “Rossiya” (RTR); Member of the Presidium, Council on Foreign and Defense Policy

Sergey Brilev is an award winning Russian TV anchor, best known for his exclusive interviews with Russian and global movers and shakers. Member of Russian TV Academy. He is the only Russian journalist to have interviewed Vladimir Putin and George Bush, DmitryMedvedev and Barak Obama.

Ján Čarnogurský

Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic (1991–1992); Member, Board of Directors, Paneuropean University, Bratislava

Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic (1991–1992); Member, Board of Directors, Paneuropean University, Bratislava

Lawyer. Member of dissident movement in Czechoslovakia in communist time. After Velvet revolution - Deputy Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia, later Prime Minister of Slovakia, Member of Parliament of Slovakia, Chairman of the Cristian-Democratic party of Slovakia (KDH), Minister of justice of Slovakia. Publications: Seen from the Danube, Diaries 1994 – 2007; Yes and Not of Jan Carnogursky.

Samuel Charap

Senior Political Scientist, RAND Corporation
Senior Political Scientist, RAND Corporation. His research interests include the political economy and foreign policies of Russia and the former Soviet states; European and Eurasian regional security; and US-Russia deterrence, strategic stability and arms control.

Samuel Charap was the Senior Fellow for Russia and Eurasia at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (2012–2017). Prior to joining the IISS, he served at the U.S. Department of State as Senior Advisor to the Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security and on the Secretary's Policy Planning Staff, covering Russia and Eurasia.

Samuel Charap's book on the Ukraine crisis, Everyone Loses: The Ukraine Crisis and the Ruinous Contest for Post-Soviet Eurasia (co-authored with Timothy J. Colton, 2017). His articles have appeared in The Washington Quarterly, Foreign Affairs, Survival, International Herald Tribune, Guardian, Current History and several other newspapers and journals.

Toby Trister Gati

President of TTG Global LLC, an international strategic advisory company 

President of TTG Global LLC, an international strategic advisory company 

Mrs. Gati was Senior International Advisor at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, where she focused primarily on Russian foreign and economic policy, US foreign policy, US-Russian relations, and the global challenges facing both countries in an increasingly turbulent international system (1997–2016).

She served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russia, Ukraine and the Eurasian States at the National Security Council in the White House (1993) and then as Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research (INR) until 1997. Before joining government, she was Senior Vice President for Policy Studies at the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA), where she worked for over two decades.

Mrs. Gati received her Bachelor’s degree in Russian Language and Literature from Pennsylvania State University. She received her Master’s degree in Russian Language and Literature, as well as her Master’s in International Affairs (MIA) and a Harriman Institute Certificate in Russian Studies from Columbia University.

She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Board member of the U.S.-Russia Business Council (USRBC), and a member of the Board of Directors of PJSC “LUKOIL”.

She has frequently provided commentary for major networks and newspapers on American foreign policy and US-Russian relations.

Thomas Gomart

Director, French Institute of International Relations (Ifri)

Director, French Institute of International Relations (Ifri) 

He previously was Ifri Vice President for Strategic Development and the Director of its Russia/NIS Centre.

His academic and professional background has been closely related to post-Soviet space, but also to wider international issues (security, energy, and digital governance). As Lavoisier Fellow at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University), Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Security Studies (European Union – Paris) and Marie Curie Fellow at the Department of War Studies (King’s College – London), Gomart has acquired a diversified international experience.

He is currently working on Russia, digital governance, country risk, and think tanks. He recently published The Return of Geopolitical Risk - Russia, China and the United States (2016), Notre intérêt national. Quelle politique étrangère pour la France? (ed., with Thierry de Montbrial, 2017), as well as Foreign Policy Challenges for the Next French President (ed., with Marc Hecker, 2017).

Leonid Grigoryev

Chief Adviser to the Head of the Analytical Center under the Government of the Russian Federation
Chief Adviser to the Head of the Analytical Center under the Government of the Russian Federation

Russian economist, the author of more than 300 publications, the co-author and scientific adviser of many monographs and projects. Leonid Grigoryev is a co-founder of Economic and Mathematical School at Lomonosov Moscow State University (President of the School (1967–1971)).

He became a tenured professor of National Research University Higher School of Economics (2013) and– the Head of World Economics Department of NRU HSE (2014). Leonid Grigoryev became a member of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy (1999).

Andrey Kortunov

Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC)

Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC)

He was Deputy Director of the Institute for US and Canadian Studies. Founder and first president of the Moscow Public Science Foundation. Taught Russian foreign policy at the University of Miami (USA), and at the Lewis & Clark College in Portland (University of California).

He was elected Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council, non-profit partnership established by order of the President of the Russian Federation (2011).

Academic focus: international relations, foreign and domestic policy of Russia and Russian-American relations.

Author of over 120 publications dedicated to the analysis of Soviet/Russian-American relations, global security, and the foreign and domestic policy of the USSR and Russia.

Reinhard Krumm

Head, Regional Office for Cooperation and Peace in Europe (Vienna), Friedrich Ebert Foundation


Head, Regional Office for Cooperation and Peace in Europe (Vienna), Friedrich Ebert Foundation 

Dr. Reinhard Krumm got his MA in Russian History from the University of Hamburg (1989), and his PhD from Regensburg University (2003), where he is a lecturer on Russian History since 2007. He holds an honoree professorship from the department of Political Science at Moscow State University. He worked as a journalist in the former Soviet Union (1991–1998), being the Moscow correspondent of Der Spiegel magazine (1996–1998). He then joined the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, serving as the Head of the Regional Central Asian office in Tashkent/Uzbekistan (2003–2007), as the Head of the Russian office in Moscow (2007–2012) and as the Head of the Department of Central and Eastern Europe, Berlin (2012–2016). His latest publication is Europe´s Security Governance and Transatlantic Relations.

Andrew Kuchins

Senior Fellow and Research Professor at the Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies (CERES), School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

Senior Fellow and Research Professor at the Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies (CERES), School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University 

He has previously held senior positions at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as well as teaching and research positions at Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley, and the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

He is the author and editor of 6 books including The Russia Balance Sheet (with Anders Aslund, 2009) and Russia after the Fall (2002) and more than 100 academic articles, book chapters, reports, and op-eds. His most recent publication is Elevation and Calibration: A New Russia Policy for America (2016).

Clifford Kupchan

Chairman and Practice Head, Eurasia Group
Chairman and Practice Head, Eurasia Group

His work focuses on Russia and Eurasia, the Middle East, and global macro issues. Clifford Kupchan has published numerous articles and essays on Russia, Iran, and U.S. foreign policy. He frequently lectures on U.S. relations with Russia and Iran, and on global trends. He is a frequent commentator on television news programs and in many major U.S. and European newspapers.  


Before joining Eurasia Group, he served as Vice President and Senior Fellow at The Center for the National Interest. He lived in Moscow where he was Vice President of the Eurasia Foundation (2000–2002). During the Clinton Administration, Clifford Kupchan served as a senior official at the US Department of State. Before that, he worked for many years for the House International Relations Committee.  He served as Senior Foreign Policy Advisor for Eurasia, North Africa and foreign assistance.

Lee Jae-Young

Vice President, Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)      

Vice President, Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)           

He is also adjunct professor of Graduate School of International Studies at Hanyang University. He is honorary professor of Economic Research Institute of the Far Eastern Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences and honorary professor of the Far East Institute of International Relations in Russia as well.

Lee Jae-Young has over 20 years of professional experience as an economist and academic. He served as an academic visitor at Wolfson College of University of Oxford, a visiting scholar at Davis Center at Harvard University.

Lee Jae-Young has conducted numerous research in Korea's economic strategy toward Russia and Eurasia including the CIS countries. Recent publications: The Political Economy of the Pacific Russia (coauthor, 2017), Evaluation of Korea-Russia Economic Cooperation and its mid-to long-term Vision (coauthor, 2015), etc.

Anatol Lieven

Professor, Georgetown University in Qatar

Professor, Georgetown University in Qatar 

Anatol Lieven is a senior fellow of the New America Foundation in Washington DC. His main research focus at present is the development and nature of nationalism in the contemporary world. His next book will be a debate on the question of migration to Europe. His most recent books are Pakistan: A Hard Country (2011); America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism (second edition 2012); and Ethical Realism: A Vision for America’s Role in the World (with John Hulsman, 2007).

He has written extensively for the media on issues of contemporary international politics. He worked as a British journalist in South Asia  and the former Soviet Union (1985–1998). He worked at think tanks in Washington DC (2000–2007), and as a professor in the War Studies Department of King’s College London (2007–2014).

Gerhard Mangott

Professor on International Relations, Department of Political Science, University of Innsbruck

Professor on International Relations, Department of Political Science, University of Innsbruck 

Since 1995 – lecturer at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna. He was Senior research fellow at the Austrian Institute of International Affairs in Vienna (1991–2008).

Main research areas: strategic studies (political and military security, armed conflicts), strategic arms control, energy security, Russian foreign policy.
Recent Publications: Bombs, Boycotts Bargains. Eine Analyse von Strategien im Umgang mit dem Nuklearprogramm Nordkoreas (An analysis of strategies on North Korea’s nuclear programme) (2016); Russlands Intervention in Syrien (Russia’s Syria intervention) (2016); From Reset to Paralaysis? Die Beziehungen zu Russland und die Zukunft der US Weltführungspolitik (US Relations with Russia and the Future of US Global Leadership) (2014); Gestörte Leitungen. Russland und die Gasversorgung der EU (Russia and EU Gas Supplies) (2012).

Alexei Miller

Professor, European University at St. Petersburg

Professor, European University at St. Petersburg 

Recurrent visiting professor, Central European University, Budapest. Main research interests: history of empires and nationalism, memory politics, history of ideas. He gave lectures in many universities: Harvard, Columbia, Berkeley, Stanford, Maryland, West Point, Penn, Munich, Berlin (Humboldt and Free), Cologne, Paris (EHESS), Aix-en-Provence, London (SSEES), Manchester, Edinburgh, Geneva, Basel, Warsaw, Cracow Universities, and many universities in Russia and the post-Soviet countries, including Vilnius, Tartu, Kiev, Lviv, Almaty, Bishkek. Over 200 publications. Author of 8 monographs and editor of 20 collective volumes. Recent books: Nationalizing Empires (2015); Nation or the Might of the Myth (2016).

Orietta Moscatelli

Head of Foreign Affairs and New Europe Department, Askanews multimedia agency  

Head of Foreign Affairs and New Europe Department, Askanews multimedia agency  

Previous positions: correspondent in Moscow for the Italian daily Il Messaggero (1990–1995); Special correspondent, coordinator, Analysis programme, Euronews – Great Britain, France (1997–2001); Diplomatic correspondent, Apcom News Agency (2001–2005); Head, New Europe desk, TM-News press agency.

Research interests: Russia and the Caucasus; Russia and Ukraine; geopolitics.

Selected publications: Chechnya, the words to understand; Ukraine, anatomy of an earthquake; essays about Russia and former USSR for geo-political magazine Limes.

Alexei Mukhin

Director General of the Centre for Political Information

Director General of the Centre for Political Information 

Member of a Board of Trustees of Russian State University for humanities, Aide to a rector. He is an author of over 100 scientific papers, including monographs in the field of political science and history of Russia. Alexey Mukhin issued an Internet- magazine FEC (Facts, Events, Comments) as the editor-in-chief (2002). Spheres of his professional interests include: political analysis (analysis of political processes); formation, behavior, and psychology of elites; the military reform and the reform of the Russian intelligence services; state agencies and the administrative reform in the Russian Federation; national security; economic risks; organized crime.

 Alexey Mukhin’s comments on current political and economic developments are regularly cited by the leading national and international media, such as Spiegel, The New York Times, Le Figaro, France 24, Deutsche Welle, Kommersant, Vedomosti, RBC-daily, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Expert, Profile, Izvestia, Channel One, Russia today, Channel 5, Business FM, Finam FM, Kommersant FM, Echo of Moscow etc.

Rein Müllerson

Research Professor, Tallinn University
Research Professor, Tallinn University

Author of 30 books on international law and politics and more than 200 articles and reviews. His latest books are International Law: Rights and Politics (1994); Human Rights Diplomacy (1997); Ordering Anarchy: International Law in International Society (2000); Central Asia: A Chessboard and Player in the New Great Game (2007 and second edition in 2012); Democracy Promotion: Institutions, International Law and Politics (2008); Democracy – A Destiny of Humankind: A Qualified, Contingent and Contextual Case for Democracy Promotion (2009, in 2013 published also in Estonian); Regime Change: From Democratic Peace Theories to Forcible Regime Changes (2013, forthcoming in 2017 in Chinese); Dawn of a New Order: Geopolitics and the Clash of Ideologies (2017).

Richard Sakwa

Professor of Russian and European Politics at the University of Kent; Associate Fellow of Chatham House

Professor of Russian and European Politics at the University of Kent; Associate Fellow of Chatham House 

After graduating in History from the London School of Economics, he took a PhD from the Centre for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Birmingham. He held lectureships at the Universities of Essex and California, Santa Cruz, before joining the University of Kent in 1987. He has published widely on Soviet, Russian and post-communist affairs. Books include Communism in Russia (2010); The Crisis of Russian Democracy: The Dual State, Factionalism and the Medvedev Succession (2011); Putin and the Oligarch: The Khodorkovsky - Yukos Affair (2014) and Putin Redux: Power and Contradiction in Contemporary Russia (2014). His latest book is Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands (2015). His book Russia against the Rest: The Post-Cold War Crisis of World Order will be published in late 2017.

Mehdi Sanaei

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Islamic Republic of Iran to the Russian Federation

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Islamic Republic of Iran to the Russian Federation

Director, Russian Studies Group, Faculty of World Studies, University of Tehran; Member, Parliament of IRI since 2008. Visiting professor, Political Sciences Faculty Moscow

Humanitarian University since 1999; Member, Kazakhstan Academy of Social Sciences since 1997; Editor-in-chief, Journal of World Studies, University of Tehran from 2011.

Previous positions: Cultural attaché, Embassy of IRI in Kazakhstan (1995–1998) and Russia (1999–2003); Editor-in-chief of “Persia” magazine, Institute of the Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (1999–2003); Deputy Head for Research and Education, Islamic Culture and Relations Organization (2003–2005); Head, Institute of Culture, ECO Regional Organization (2005–2006). Selected publications: Bilateral relations of Iran and Central Asia (2011); Iran and Russia’s Relations (2008); Russia in Search of Identity, written by James Billington, translated and edited by Mehdi Sanaei (2006); Souvenir from Central Asia (1999); Iran’s Position in Central Asia (1997). Authored many other books and numerous articles in English, Farsi and Russian.

Sheng Shiliang

Senior Research Fellow, Global Challenges Studies, Xinhua News Agency

Senior Research Fellow, Global Challenges Studies, Xinhua News Agency

He is Researcher and Director of Russian Internal Affairs Office, Euro-Asia Social Development Research Institute; Executive Member of Center of Shanghai Cooperation Organization Studies.

Between 1978 and 2000 Sheng Shiliang served three terms (14 years in total) at the Moscow Branch of Xinhua News Agency, first as a reporter and then the Deputy Branch Chief. Has participated in the Valdai Discussion Club meetings since 2007.

His main works include: A Guide to Journalism Translation; Witnessing the Unexpected; Around the Globe; China's Neighboring Countries; Putin in my opinion. Author of more than 1000 articles and essays on Russia, the CIS and international relations. 

Nobuo Shimotomai

Professor, Hosei University (Japan)  

Professor, Hosei University (Japan)           

Honorary research fellow of Birmingham University (UK) (1983–1985). Professor of Seikei from 1985 and Hosei University from 1988. Visiting fellow of Harvard Research Center (1992–1994), LSE Cold War Research Center (2009), Institute of the Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (2009). Chairperson of Japanese Research Association of International Relations. Member of Russian-Japanese Emeritus Club (2004–2006). Has participated in the Valdai Discussion Club meetings since 2007.

His research interests include Soviet and Russian political history, History of Cold War in Asia. Recent publications include books on Kim Il Sung and Moscow, Old Believers and Russian pivot to Asia. Coedited Russian-Japanese Parallel History. The latest book published: God and Revolution (Ivanovo-Voznesensk history from 1905 until 1956), paying special attention to Old Believers.

Hans-Joachim Spanger

Head of Research Department, Leibniz Institute Peace Research Institute Frankfurt; Research Professor, National Research University-Higher School of Economics, Moscow

Head of Research Department, Leibniz Institute Peace Research Institute Frankfurt; Research Professor, National Research University-Higher School of Economics, Moscow 

Among others he is Regional Coordinator for Eurasia of the “Bertelsmann Transformation Index” (BTI) and member of the German-Russian “Petersburg Dialogue”. In 1997 he founded the “Schlangenbad Talks”, an annual German-Russian conference series on foreign and security policy. He was member (2005–2012), and chairman (2007–2011), of the Advisory Board on Civilian Crisis Prevention, Conflict Resolution and Peace Building of the German Foreign Ministry.

Recent Publications: Pluraler Frieden – Leitgedanken zu einer neuen Russlandpolitik (co-authored, 2017); Russia's Turn Eastward, China's Turn Westward: Cooperation and Conflict on the New Silk Road (2016); The Future of European Security (2015); More than a Road Bump? The German-Russian Crisis Within the Crisis (2015); The Comparative International Politics of Democracy Promotion (2014), and others.

Gábor Stier

Foreign policy senior analyst at Hungarian conservative daily Magyar Nemzet

Foreign policy senior analyst at Hungarian conservative daily Magyar Nemzet 

He is also media teacher at Budapest College of Communication. His areas of expertise are the countries of the post-soviet space, Central Europe and Central Asia. He consequently publishes works, analyzing the main problems of world politics, geopolitics, and also the following themes in his area of expertise: Russia’s development, Russia’s role in the world, relationships within the post-soviet region, Central Europe caught in between East and West.

He published a book about Russia called The Putin Mystery (2000). His analysis, columns and interviews are published in Czech, Russian, Ukrainian, Serbian and Polish press. He is the recipient of many Hungarian journalist awards, and received the Republic of Poland Knight’s Cross for his contribution to strengthening ties between the two countries. Has participated in the Valdai Discussion Club meetings since 2009.


Dmitry Suslov

Deputy Director at the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow

Deputy Director at the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow

Dmitry Suslov conducts research on various issues of international relations, including US foreign and domestic policy and Russia-US relations, Russian foreign policy, Russia-EU relations. He regularly consults the Russian government institutions and business enterprises on these and other issues. He is also a Senior lecturer at the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs of the National Research University Higher School of Economics since 2006, as well as Deputy Director for Research at the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy since 2004. Dmitry Suslov has co-authored several books (incl. The U.S. Policy in Asia Pacific (2014), Non-Military Instruments of the Russian Foreign Policy: Regional and Global Mechanisms (2012); Russia: a Strategy for the New World (2011); Russia vs. Europe. Confrontation or Alliance? (2009); Russia and the World. A New Epoch (2008); The World Politics (2008); The World Around Russia: 2017 (2007). At the Higher School of Economics (School of World Economy and International Affairs) he teaches courses on the US Domestic and Foreign Policy, Introduction to International Relations, Global Governance, US-Russia Relations, and Russia-EU Relations.

Georgy Toloraya

Executive Director of Russian National Committee on BRICS research; Director of the Asian strategy center at the Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Executive Director of Russian National Committee on BRICS research; Director of the Asian strategy center at the Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences 

Diplomat (rank of Minister-Councelor). Professor of oriental studies at Moscow MGIMO University (from 2008). Scholar with decades-long experience on East Asian and global issues. Since 2008 he has been working for the Russkiy Mir Presidential Foundation in Moscow as chair of regional programmes, coordinating, inter alia, Asian and African programmes.

He served two postings in North Korea at the USSR trade mission (1977-1980; 1984-1987), worked for trade promotion agencies related to Asia.

Georgy Toloraya served at Russian Foreign Ministry, was minister counselor of the Russian Embassy in South Korea (1993–1998), First Asian Department Deputy Director-General (1998–2003) and Consul General of Russia in Sydney (2003–2007). He collaborated with a number of academic institutes (among them IMEMO and Institute of Economics) as a full-time and part-time researcher and was a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, Washington, DC (2007–2008).

Author of more than 200 articles and 7 books on East Asia and global governance issues.

Richard Weitz

Director, Center for Political-Military Analysis, Hudson Institute

Director, Center for Political-Military Analysis, Hudson Institute 

Richard Weitz is also Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute. His current research includes regional security developments relating to Europe, Eurasia, and East Asia as well as U.S. foreign and defense policies. Before joining Hudson (2005), Richard Weitz worked for shorter terms at the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Defense Science Board, Harvard University’, and other research institutions, and the U.S. Department of Defense.

He is a graduate of Harvard University (Ph.D. in Political Science), Oxford University (M.Phil. in Politics), the London School of Economics (M.Sc. in International Relations), and Harvard College (B.A. with Highest Honors in Government), where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. 

William C. Wohlforth

Daniel Webster Professor, Department of Government, Dartmouth College

Daniel Webster Professor, Department of Government, Dartmouth College 

Formerly Professor, Department of Government (political science), Dartmouth College (2005–2008); Associate Professor, Department of Government, Dartmouth College (2000–2005); Assistant Professor, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University (1998–2000); Assistant Professor, Department of Politics, Princeton University (1989–1996).

His research interests include international relations theory, the Cold War, and US and Russian foreign policy. He is the author or editor of eight books and some 60 articles and book chapters on topics ranging from the Cold War and its end to unipolarity and contemporary US grand strategy.

Books: America Abroad: The United States’ Global Role in the 21st century (with S. Brooks, 2016); Status in World Politics (W. Wohlforth, T.V. Paul, and D. Larson, eds., 2013); International Relations Theory and the Consequences of Unipolarity (editor, with G. John Ikenberry and Michael M. Mastanduno, 2011).

Xiang Lanxin

Professor, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva; Director of Center of One Belt, One Road and Eurasian Security, China National Institute for SCO Studies, Shanghai

Professor, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva; Director of Center of One Belt, One Road and Eurasian Security, China National Institute for SCO Studies, Shanghai

He was Director of China Policy Analysis at HEID. Xiang Lanxin held the Henry A. Kissinger Chair of Foreign Policy and International Affairs at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, (2003-2004). He has also held a Chair of International Affairs at Fudan University in Shanghai, and Zijiang Chair at East China Normal University and a Visiting Chair at Foreign Affairs University (CFAU), Beijing. He is a Senior Associate at CSIS in Washington, DC, and Contributing Editor at Survival, IISS, London.

Xiang Lanxin is a regular commentator for South China Morning Post, Hong Kong and Global Times, Beijing.

He has a PhD from the Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University.

His primary interest is China’s relations with the US and Europe, with publications that include three English books and five in Chinese.  

Xing Guangcheng

Director of the Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

Director of the Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

He is also professor at Graduate School, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.   

Research interests: relations between China and the Central Asian countries; relations between China and Russia; relations between Chinese neighboring countries and Chinese borderland.

Books: The strategic decisions of the high-ranking top leaders of the Soviet Union in 70 years - from Lenin to Gorbachev (1998); The relations between China and the new independent Central Asian countries (1996); The rise of the Central Asia (1993); Medvedev and Putin - the combination of the sovereign power (2009).ranking leaders of the Soviet Union for 70 years: from Lenin to Gorbachev (1998); China and Central Asia: Towards a New Relationship; Security Issues in China with Central Asian States (1998); The relations between China and new independent central Asian countries (1996); Rising Central Asia (1993).