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.
Germany’s relations with Russia are suffering from a serious malaise. The fundamental reason is that many assumptions and expectations on which Germany’s approach has been based since the 1990s are no longer valid. The relationship between Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Vladimir Putin is decent, but distant.
Neither Russia nor the EU has set a deadline for choosing what form their future cooperation will take. This inaction is undermining the desire to compromise and their negotiators’ creativity. Russia has taken a tough stand towards the EU to show that it is an independent and self-sufficient country with a multipronged approach to the world.
EU does not lose hope that Azerbaijan would some day sign an agreement with Turkmenistan, and maybe even with Kazakhstan, to build the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline to add a new meaning to the idea of Nabucco. But it is certainly a topic for a very distant future.
Proceeding from their current interests, more powerful countries often ignore the fact that, as a rule, there is no right or wrong party in domestic conflicts and civil wars; indeed, the responsibility often lies with both sides.
An ability to quickly mobilize one’s allies (not only in the military sense) and to deliver a most resolute and prompt strike at one’s enemies or even undesirable countries is becoming an increasingly important requirement for a state’s survival and competitiveness. This is why NATO, the last peacetime military alliance, has very promising prospects.
Marine Le Pen is doing her best to rid the National Front of the image of a skinhead party and make it a respected organization. She sincerely wishes to repair relations with Moscow. So far, she’s been merely an indicator of the prevailing general mood in France: the French believe that their country made a mistake by getting too close to the United States and distancing itself from Russia.
Economic potential of Russia with the commercial interests of certain German politicians and entrepreneurs has led to an unhealthy situation, in which German companies appear to assist Moscow in its re-shaping of the east European geo-economic landscape.
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.