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.
Russia will have to face certain challenges in the economic sphere in order to solve the problems of economic modernization. In the short term, one of the important things for Russia is what is going on in Europe, because if there is a deep recession in Europe, which is possible, there is no doubt that Russia will suffer as well because of its external trade relations with the European market.
Russia’s economic role will more likely be to create demand for products and services produced in the EU, along with other emerging markets fulfilling their WTO commitments. To do that, Russia needs special agreements with the European Union, which effectively operates as a customs union.
Independent development is very important, but borrowing is more effective. The question is what Russia wants to achieve. If it wants to catch up with someone by a given deadline, independent development will be counterproductive, because we would kill ourselves trying to reinvent the wheel when there is technology that we can use for free.
That Russia finally has been admitted to the World Trade Organization is good for the world, both for the global system as a whole and for the current members. How good WTO membership turns out to be for Russia itself is less clear-cut. Russia doesn't have much to gain in terms of better access to foreign markets, because few of its exports other than commodities are very competitive.
Right now there are all indications that no plunge in oil prices is on the cards. Slow economic growth is not a recession. Speculations concerning a second wave of the crisis are about a potential recession. But no recession is in view.
It appears that the last barriers to Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) have been removed, and there is every reason to believe that the accession documents will be approved at the ministerial conference on December 15-17. The only way the 18-year accession process could collapse is if Russia itself mishandles it.
The current trend towards increasing social and defense spending, and raising salaries is destabilizing the financial policy and to a certain extent, is scaring off foreign investors. This trend will have negative consequences in medium term.
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.
The current contract portfolio of Russian arms exporters is worth about $46 billion. Annual exports total $15 billion, and this will ensure uninterrupted deliveries for the next three years, even in the worst-case scenario. The list of the main buyers of Russian weapons is unlikely to change drastically.
Why did Russian officials choose to make Fogle’s case so public and then insist that it was unlikely to affect U.S.-Russia relations? The official explanation for this is that Moscow had already asked the United States to stop trying to recruit its intelligence officers—which seems like a silly and unrealistic request, since Russian agencies seem unlikely to halt similar steps in the United States—and that officials were frustrated after handling a similar case quietly earlier this year.