The first Defense and Security section meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club
The inaugural session of the Defense and Security Section of the Valdai International Discussion Club titled “Modernization of Russia’s Armed Forces and Cooperation in International Security” was held in Moscow on May 25-27, 2011.
Military experts, defense researchers and media analysts in international security from Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belarus, Norway, Turkey, Poland and Japan participated in the discussions on the state of the Russian Armed Forces in the 21st century, opportunities for co-operation on anti-missile shield and the influence of the rapidly changing environment, on the framework of potential multifaceted partnership between Russia, China, Europe, the United States, CSTO, NATO and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
The event had a packed program and included a visit to the 5th Guards Brigade of the Western Military District in Alabino and an unprecedented tour of the Don-2N radar station, which is part of Moscow’s anti-missile defense system.
The Valdai experts met with Deputy Defense Minister of Russia Anatoly Antonov, Chief of Operations of Russia’s General Staff Andrei Tretyak, and Chief of the Defense Ministry’s Directorate for International Military Cooperation Sergei Koshelev.
The discussion began with a focus on the reform of the Russian armed forces. The speakers highlighted the necessity for the reform and positive new look of the armed forces. They also welcomed President Dmitry Medvedev’s armament program expected to increase the percent of modern weapons in the army to 30% by 2015 and to 70% by 2020. The experts emphasized the efficient use of funds allocated for the reform and development of a professional officer corps. Some speakers though expressed concern over the lack of positive change and continuing corruption in the army.
A discussion on Russia’s participation in the European anti-missile defense system prior to a Russia-NATO Council meeting for defense ministers was equally productive. A lively debate confirmed the need for cooperation between the North Atlantic Alliance and Russia in developing this system. Experts agreed that the European missile defense project, if implemented without Russia, might harm relations between NATO and Russia and do lasting damage to the European security. At the same time, speakers pointed both to differences between the United States’ and NATO’s European members concerning the fourth phase of an anti-missile system and the conflict between U.S. and Russian views on this system. Although Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama signed the START III treaty in April 2010 laying a foundation for confidence and openness, their positions on the anti-missile issue appear to remain unbending.
The third panel focused on international military cooperation. The experts agreed that Afghanistan’s instability could spill into Central Asia once international troops leave the country. This would be a ground for cooperation between Russia, China and the West, which could include CSTO, NATO and the SCO. Russian-US anti-drug trafficking operations on the Caspian are a positive example of such cooperation. For the mid-term, with security risks growing, the military experts believe energy will play less important role, reducing geopolitical variables and favoring vital interests. In this context, Russian-US cooperation, especially in drug trafficking control, will be a key to stability in the region.
During the discussion, the experts also dwelt on relations between the European Union and Russia. With the US economy declining and the EU-US rift on security expenditure growing, some speakers thought the center of gravity in the European security might shift towards France and the United Kingdom. In December 2010, these countries concluded agreements on military cooperation, including joint nuclear test simulations. Thus the experts urged Russia to broaden its defense cooperation with the EU countries. In expert view, these relations will be important for a common security system in the region and could help Russia to abandon its state of “strategic loneliness”.
The meeting was organized by the Russian News & Information Agency RIA Novosti, the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy and the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technology.
May 25, Wednesday
10:00 am-01:00 pm
Discussion panel: Reform of the Russian Armed Forces
Dinner with the President of the JSC “United Aircraft Corporation” Mikhail Pogosyan
May 26, Thursday
Tour of the Don-2N multifunctional radar station
Discussion panel: Building a European missile defense system
Dinner with Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov
May 27, Friday
Meeting with Head of the Armed Forces General Staff Main Operations Directorate Lieutenant General Andrei Tretyak on the theme “The Russian Army’s new look”
Discussion panel: New challenges – new alliances: from ideological alliances to interest-based coalitions
Alexander ALESIN / Belorussia
Department Head of the Editorial Board of Belorusy i Rynok (Belarusians and the Market)
Pavel ANDREEV / Russia
Head of International Projects, Russian News and Information Agency “RIA Novosti”, Executive Director of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club, Member of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy (SVOP)
Oksana ANTONENKO / UK
Senior Fellow and Programme Director for Russia and Eurasia at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), London
Yves BOYER / France
Deputy Director of the Paris-based Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique (FRS), Professor at the Ėcole polytechnique
Tor BUKKVOLL / Norway
Head of the Russia Project, Norwegian Defense Research Establishment
Mesut Hakkı CAŞIN / Turkey
Professor, Yeditepe University International Relations Department
Roger N. McDERMOTT / UK
Senior Fellow in Eurasian Military Studies, Jamestown Foundation, Washington, DC; Senior International Fellow, Foreign Military Studies Office, Fort Leavenworth
Dmitry P. GORENBURG / USA
Senior Analyst and Director of Russian and East European Programs, CNA Corporation; Editor, Russian Politics and Law; Associate, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies
Arnaud KALIKA / France
Chief Editor, Confidential Newsletter Strategic Information TTU, specializing in issues geopolitics and military industries; lecturer, department for the study of organized crime, University of Paris II
Sergei KARAGANOV / Russia
Dean, Department, World Economy and World Politics, National Research University “Higher School of Economics”, Chairman, Presidium, Council for Foreign and Defense Policy (since 1994), Chairman, editorial board of Russia in Global Affairs magazine
Viktor LITOVKIN / Russia
Executive Editor, Independent Military Review, Colonel (ret.)
Konstantin MAKIENKO / Russia
Deputy Director of the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST), Member of the expert council under the Russian State Duma defense committee
Jeffrey MANKOFF / USA
International Affairs Fellow, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Associate Director, International Security Studies, Yale University, Adjunct Fellow for Russia Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
Josef NIEBECKER / Germany
Defence Attaché at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Moscow
Alexei NIKOLSKY / Russia
Correspondent for the political department, Vedomosti newspaper
Ruslan PUKHOV / Russia
Director of the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST); Member of the Public Council under the Russian Defense Ministry
Alexander SHARAVIN / Russia
Director, Institute for political and military analysis; Doctor of engineering sciences, professor; Colonel; Member of Academy of military sciences of Russian Federation
Toshihiko SHIOBARA /Japan
Professor of Kochi University, Japan, PhD
Vitaly SHLYKOV / Russia
Member of the Public Council of the Russian Defense Ministry; Professor of the National Research University “Higher School of Economics”; Colonel (ret.); Ph.D. in economics. Defended a thesis on NATO and joint arms production
Bertrand SLASKI / France
Senior consultant - Aerospace & Defense, Department of Defense & Security issues, CEIS, a French business research & consulting firm
Robert SMIGIELSKI / Poland
Analyst in the Polish Institute of International Affairs (Programme International Security)
Alexander STUKALIN / Russia
Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Kommersant Daily
Richard WEITZ / USA
Director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at Hudson Institute, non-resident Senior Advisor at the Project on National Security Reform (PNSR), non-resident Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS)
Sergei ZVEREV / Russia
President of CROS Public Relations & Public Affairs Company