The Valdai Discussion Club Foundation, in cooperation with its partners, launched a new research project on Eurasian integration with a workshop in Shanghai on November 16-17. The aim of the project is to examine the entire Eurasian space in four dimensions and from four perspectives. The four dimensions are economic, political, security and social; and the four perspectives are Russian, Central Asian, Chinese and EU/US.
Over 200 Russian and foreign experts attended the 10th meeting of the Valdai Club. The participants focus on analyzing the internal processes and external challenges to work out a vision of Russia in the future.
Evaluating Russia’s development index during the annual poll this year, experts of the Valdai Discussion Club spoke positively about the country's growing role in national, regional and global security, foreign policy and soft power. Most negative assessment was given to performance of Russia’s political institutions, public confidence in them and the dynamics of economic development.
The research poll analyses five basic valuable aspects of contemporary Russian identity. In particular, the respondents were proposed to reflect over following principal aspects: culture, religion, ethnicity, self-identification, patriotism etc.
This report is based on discussions held at the Valdai Club's Middle East Dialogue conference, which took place in Marrakesh, Morocco, on May 14-15, 2013. The event was attended by high-profile politicians from the Middle East and North Africa, including leaders of Islamist movements, as well as prominent experts, analysts and journalists from Russia and around the world.
The main result of Sergei Shoigu’s first year as a minister is “an increased level of trust not only between senior officers and the minister, but in the armed forces in general.” The old things that worked well were returned, and the armed forces have been socialized to a certain extent.
Professional army is the army of mercenaries. This means that again, as in XVI-XVII, the heads of the leading countries are staking on small contingents of armed professionals who are to carry out specific professional missions. The times when it was argued that the army should be small, highly professional, efficient and weakly associated with the rest of population have come back.
Idealistic notions about the possibility of a peaceful resolution of conflicts based on liberal democratic values, which were widespread in the early 1990s, are out of fashion today. The man with a gun once again took a leading role on the world stage. There will be several types of “soldiers for future wars.”
The resumption of Russia’s active military presence in the Arctic will make it possible to expedite research projects and expeditions and to improve the regional air-defense system, Professor Alexander Sharavin, Director of the Russian Institute of Political and Military Analysis and Member of the Defense Ministry’s Public Council, told journalists on Thursday.
Russia may be eager to develop strong armed forces in the Arctic, but its plans to modernize its strategic air force, to re-establish a strong navy, to modernize its fleet of strategic submarines, to build new icebreakers and replace old ones, to establish new FSS border control and SAR units, are a difficult task.
Despite a multitude of various official doctrines and concepts, the Russian approach to strategic policy and national defence planning still remains internally inconsistent and haphazard. The Russian National Security Doctrine-2020, approved by erstwhile President Dmitry Medvedev in May 2009 (and clearly developed under the guidance of Vladimir Putin) is largely devoid of any political commitments or meaningful strategies.
Apparently, the Russian leadership and the new heads of the Defense Ministry have remained largely satisfied with the degree of readiness of the Russian armed forces in the Far East. This is all the more significant, because the troops stationed in Siberia have traditionally been considered somewhat inferior to their counterparts in European Russia.
New ties between Russia and Japan would mark not only a breakthrough in their relations but also a significant shift in Northeast Asia’s political dynamic. Both are secondary players in a region overshadowed by an increasingly assertive China, which has not hesitated to push against the boundaries of its neighbors.
The structure of Nagorno-Karabakh is a Canton-like. There were regions dominated by the Azerbaijanis, there were regions dominated by the Armenians. Without the return of all the people who would like to go back there, we cannot talk about any recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh or discussions of this issue.
Violent suppression of protests can lead not to stabilization but just the opposite. It forces Yanukovych to seek solidarity only in Moscow. It puts Russia in a position where it will again be involved in Ukrainian politics. And in this murky swamp, we have repeatedly gotten bogged down.
The consequences of marketisation and competitive capitalism in Russia not only changed the form of inequalities but greatly amplified them both between and within regions. There is a polarisation between the rich and the poor in the richest areas which is paralleled, though to a slightly less unequal extent, in the poorer regions. The same economic principles work in all regions, despite some being more poorly endowed than others.