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.
Accession to the WTO guarantees that Russia will not defend its market and its producers, and this is important for major foreign exporters, especially for global corporations. That is why they strongly supported the liberal fundamentalists. Russia will not be able to defend its market by civilized means.
The whole concept of business ombudsman is recognition of imperfections of the Russian legal system. Indeed, if you take most Western countries, they do not have any similar position, because protection of business interests is a function of the legal system.
Usually a crisis is triggered by some disaster, like the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008. When this happens, consumption declines more than earnings because people start saving out of fear. But consumption has come back to normal in Russia in the past two years. We can expect a slowdown of domestic demand because of the expectation of the crisis, but to avoid this we must stop scaring the public.
Many of Putin’s most recent moves, such as setting up a fuel and energy commission and the economic council, openly demonstrates his lack of confidence in the government. It goes without saying that any decision Putin makes after consulting his expert council will have to be carried out by the government.
The crisis in Western Europe at its core consists of low economic growth, poor economic and political governance, and high sovereign debts of European countries, but the effects of international speculative attacks on the EU could easily spillover to Russia. If Russia were to dramatically reduce its oil exports to Western Europe, the effects will be severe on the economy of the West as a whole.
Targeted improvements of Russia’s legislation that are linked not only to its WTO entry but also to its potential accession to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) are essential and will be made.
The main problems of the budgetary policy are inherited from the previous 12 years of Putin’s rule. All those problems are well-known, and they have been debated by experts for many years while this budgetary address is not targeted on eliminating them.
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.