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 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.
The Russian economy will not be able to survive without immigrants. The dire warnings issued by politicians will not solve the need for more hands. If Russian citizens want to lead happy, prosperous lives, they will have to put up with immigrants. Otherwise, they will face the consequences of economic decline.
It became trivial to say that climate change is the main reason and a trigger for the recent significant changes in the Arctic region. Indeed, climate change can exacerbate existing drivers of instability in the Arctic, and may lead to disputes over trade routes, maritime zones and resources previously inaccessible.
An immigration amnesty will only be effective in countries such as the United States and Russia, which have a large number of immigrant workers. There are very many refugee-immigrants in Europe who come in search of new life. An amnesty for them would create many risks.
We have a super-centralized government system where the best jobs and funds are concentrated in Moscow. This is prompting rational people to move to the places where they can make the most money and have better career prospects. People will continue coming to Moscow as long as Russia remains a super-centralized state.
The instability of the global economy and global financial markets generates complex external conditions for the development of the Russian economy and Russian financial markets in the short and the medium term. A stable and efficient financial system is needed to ensure rapid economic growth.
The volatility of global financial markets and reduced global demand for energy has undermined Russia’s financial security and its sustainable economic growth. Improving the stability of Russia’s financial system is a strategic objective, which Russia must achieve to successfully integrate with the international community.
Russia has surged ahead on the foreign policy stage, but this is not enough to remain a great power. The tough-minded policies and masterful diplomacy of Russia’s leadership have maximized the country’s position in the world, and are now the main source of its international influence and prestige. Russia’s foreign policy in the next decade depends entirely on what happens at home.
The Ukrainian drama will strengthen the global image of Russia as a nation regaining its past power. Many European leaders have underestimated Moscow ever since the collapse of the USSR. Now, too many might be overestimating it.
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.