4th annual conference of the Middle East Dialogue of the Valdai International Discussion Club, titled “Islam in Politics: Ideology or Pragmatism?”, will take place in Marrakesh, Morocco, on May 14-15.
Issues of commonalities and differences in the Muslim communities of Russia and Canada, as well as problems of their integration into the legal frameworks of their respective countries, were the main topics of discussion at the conference Muslims in Russia, the CIS, and Canada: Cohabitation and Cooperation
The conference Muslims in Russia, the CIS, and Canada: Cohabitation and Cooperation presented by Carleton’ Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, the Department of Political Science, the Carleton Centre for the Study of Islam, and the Valdai Discussion Club is to be held on March 8, 2013 at the Carleton University, Ottawa.
The analytical report “Russia’s Economy: after Transformation, before Modernization” was prepared after discussions at the Valdai Discussion Club Summit held on October 21–22, 2012. The report incorporates many of the conclusions on Russia’s political development contained in the 2011 Valdai report “Russia Should Not Miss Its Chance: Development Scenarios”.
The Russia Development Index (Valdai Index) reflects the combined opinion of the world's leading experts on Russia as regards Russia’s political, economic, social, cultural and international performance. The annual poll aims to study changes in Russia’s development trends over a year. It is important that respondents assess not the current situation, but changes.
The analytical report “Military Reform: Toward the New Look of the Russian Army” summarizes the results of the conference of the Valdai Discussion Club Defense and Security section titled “Modernization of Russia’s Armed Forces and Cooperation in International Security” which was held on May 25-27, 2011 in Moscow.
If citizens of Russia believe that a country whose population consists of 24% pensioners is capable of giving up migrants and letting pensioners clean courtyards, drive buses or work at construction sites, they should realize that they will have to pay for this. Not a single country has managed to find a solution to the migrant issue.
The public in Tatarstan and elsewhere, Russian and foreign media and official authorities habitually regarded the local inter-faith situation and relations between the state and the Islamic community as a model of harmony. Tolerance characterizing all parties to this relationship became the republic’s trademark and brand.
Islam in Russia split into two hostile camps. On one side, traditional Islam in Russia represents specific regional forms of Sufism, so-called “popular” Islam, which is in opposition to “pure” Islam, or Islamic fundamentalism. Adherents to political Islam in Russia view the chain of the Arab revolutions as a natural and long-awaited “Islamic awakening.”
The Global Russian World project would unite not only compatriots but all Russophiles on a global scale. This project should be based not on political loyalty or ideology but on the cultural and linguistic self-identification of people who want to feel part of the great culture of Leo Tolstoy and Pyotr Tchaikovsky.
According to various pragmatic criteria, Russia should be an attractive country for foreign investment: its increasing transit economy, significant energy sources, and the availability of undeveloped territory are all important factors. However, experts believe that the percentage of foreign investment in Russia remains fairly low. There are other aspects of Russian business that are not translated or described in textbooks.
Muslim activism in Russia continues to develop and radicalize. It is easy for Islam to become a form of social protest. Reoccurring ethnic conflicts may ultimately lead to interreligious confrontation, and the Russian authorities are not prepared for such a course of events.
Soft power has become the recent focus of discussion around Russia’s foreign policy. Observers argue that Moscow, which still believes in the decisive role of weapons and other traditional elements of power, is losing the information and image war. But Russia’s understanding of soft power differs radically from that of the West.
The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is one of the most important foreign policy initiatives taken by Russia along with five other countries. Both Russia and China want to reduce the threat of separatism and western influence in the region. Emergence of SCO provoked new international order.
Iran has made varying degrees of progress down the tracks—enrichment, weaponization and delivery system—needed to have a viable nuclear weapon. How far will it proceed? One option is to build a bomb and, to show the world its nuclear prowess, conduct a test. But that option poses real risks for the Iranian government.