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.
While in 2011 the Internet economy accounted for just 1% of Russia’s GDP, it was expected to grow at a rate of about 30% in 2012. Russian IT companies are going global. Some Russian national giants are buying foreign assets and considering a gradual expansion into foreign markets.
The contest for control of Russia’s oil industry has been an integral feature of the country’s politics ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Therefore, an assessment of political elite dynamics and the competition for control over Russia’s oil sector can explain why this industry has been subject to such rapid management changes, including the rise and demise of Russia’s private oil corporations and the emergence of Rosneft as a national oil company (NOC).
The political and economic community and experts are well aware that Medvedev is, willingly or unwillingly, one of the top-ranking officials in Putin’s vertical of power. His political future depends more on Vladimir Putin and less on himself, and, of course, the most important factor is the political, economic and social atmosphere in Russia over the next five years.
As for Russia’s main interests in the Arctic, they concern developing shelf resources, training personnel, building roads, and so on. Energy security is also a vital element of life in Arctic settlements. The Arctic communities have huge potential for cooperation.
The Forum in Davos may or may not be giving new answers to looming questions – but it is a suitable venue for world leaders to embrace opportunities. The issues of globalization, sustainable and secure economic growth and other trans-boundary phenomena shall lead the discussions to where the most advanced nations are looking at the developing world.
The development of Siberia and the Russian Far East is impossible without relations with China. We should not shut ourselves off from China, but cooperate with it: to identify the competitive advantages of the Transbaikal and the Russian Far East; to evaluate the real, and not the imaginary demand of the Chinese market for certain goods and services from Siberia and the Russian Far East.
For Russia, South Stream is above all an instrument for enhancing the reliability of gas supplies to Europe, which is the key consumer of Russian natural gas. In terms of profitability, Gazprom’s investment in the project will be partly compensated by the revenues of Russian steel and pipe-building companies, which will provide their products for the pipeline.
Russia has become very adept in playing the diplomatic game, in which victory depends on choosing the right associate or partner. But there are a growing number of claimants to this role in the new horizontal and interdependent world. Aside Syria and Iran, being still important, the new venues for the application of practical diplomacy may well be Ukraine, the East China Sea and Afghanistan.
Other than Iran, no state near NATO poses a ballistic missile threat to the Alliance — with the exception of Russia. But the SM-3 interceptors to be deployed in phases 2 and 3 will be capable of engaging only medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, which Russia has given up under the terms of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
Edward Snowden is not an isolated case but part of an independent community which is increasingly resolute in asserting itself and rejecting “raison d’Etat” and behind-the-scenes manipulation. The direct results of Snowden’s disclosures are most clearly evident in the context of Russian-American relations. The Snowden case has humiliated Europe, which Putin took the opportunity to remind them of.
Russia should stop offering economic assistance to Ukraine. President Yanukovych desperately needs financial relief, and, in extremis, he can promise anything in return. Ukraine has entered uncharted waters. Whatever the outcome of the current political standoff in Kiev and of the forthcoming presidential elections, the economic situation of the country is very difficult.