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.
The key problems in the relationship between Russia and European Union are the lack of a clear-cut goal, a weak legal foundation and excessive politicization. Energy serves as a litmus test for Russia-EU links in general, as it exposes their weaknesses and indicates ways to repair them.
The European Union has been weakened by its expansion eastward and by the crisis in the eurozone. Russia is weakened by its worsening technological time lag and slow modernization process. If the EU and Russia were to take several paces back in their partnership, then both sides would suffer a setback in their ability to withstand the growing pressure of globalization.
Russia-NATO cooperation on Afghanistan is coming to an end for objective reasons. If NATO withdraws most of its troops from Afghanistan by late 2014, it won’t need Russia’s help as much. If there’s no cooperation on the Afghan problem, Moscow and Washington will have nothing to show for their partnership.
Russian business and the Russian authorities will be increasingly seen in Europe as elements of an alien culture with an unclear decision-making mechanism. The authorities disregard development forms and ideas that could help advance the country. There are obvious problems in Russia due to the declining pace of economic development and unresolved social problems.
German–Russian relations are undergoing hard times, with no clear prospect of advancement or significant change in the next three or four years in the foreign policy realm. Both Russia and Germany are to blame for this.
It is clear that under the current model of democracy, governments which impose massive poverty on their people on behalf of Europe – even if they are right to do so – are most probably doomed. EU leaders purposely crushed the Cypriot banking system so as to frighten other debtors.
The architects of European politics have probably seen, at long last, that cosmetic measures will not help and that the system will collapse without a thorough upgrade. Unfortunately for Cyprus, it has been chosen as a site for testing this new approach, which is based on a grim choice: either honor your donors’ (that is, Germany’s) instructions, or jump into the financial abyss. The example of Cyprus is designed to show all potential losers that the time for games is over.
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.
In light of the present situation in the Middle East, Russia and Israel find themselves facing common challenges. Under these newly emerging situations, Russia sees its partnership with Israel as a potential asset in resolving acute regional issues. From a Russian perspective, the compatibility of Israeli and Russian interests could contribute to such a partnership.
The failure of the Islamist political parties who came to power in the dramatic events of the Arab Spring would allow the military to reenter the political arena. Political Islam was successful in the opposition, but it could fail in power, as the negative experience of Egypt and Iraq have shown.