Security and Media as Indicators of Future States' Competitiveness


On July 13, the Rambler&Co Lectorium in Moscow hosted an expert discussion titled “Security and Media as Indicators of Future States' Competitiveness” on the first results of the Valdai Discussion Club and VTsIOM joint project, “The Future Preparedness Index”.

The rating was developed based on statistical data and expert surveys and the sampling was limited to the G20 countries, including 19 states and the European Union. “We are now at the first, pilot stage. The results, with G20 countries, ranked in some way, will be released in autumn,” said Andrey Bystritskiy, Chairman of the Valdai Discussion Club.

According to Yulia Baskakova, Director of the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center’s (VTsIOM) research projects, this index is different from others in that it does not gauge what already exists, but aims to create a new integral indicator, which will have predictive power and will thus offer a glimpse into the future.

Security and culture/communications are only two of the ten indicators of countries’ preparedness for the future singled out by VTsIOM. In order to estimate this readiness in terms of culture and communications, three factors were selected: accessibility of culture products for the population, creative economy, and recognisability of culture products in the world. The United Kingdom, France and the United States are at the top of the index, while Russia took the 12th position, between China and Mexico.

“We are a leading country by the number of internet users, but an outsider when it comes to the economic success of the cultural sphere and the export of cultural products, and this determines our position in the rating,” Baskakova said.

At the bottom of the rating are South Africa, Indonesia, and India. India’s unexpectedly low result is explained by issues regarding the accessibility of culture for the population and its export, Baskakova revealed. According to her, expert estimates were close to results derived from statistical data.

The rating’s compilers consider the future of states successful if they are attractive to citizens. In the sovereignty and security parameter, attractiveness is provided through the ability of a state to defend citizens and minimize the damage from foreign and domestic threats, Baskakova noted.

For the purposes of the study, such indicators as military potential, number of police and citizen trust in them, and the subjective perceptions of personal security were considered. According to preliminary results, Russia is in the 14th to 15th place out of 20.

“Despite expectations, preliminary results show that Russia is in the second half of the list, a bit further from the middle, than on culture,” Baskakova said.

This is because on some indicators, such as military power and size of police force, Russia has leading positions, but it lags behind most G20 members on others. “If you look at the level of trust in police, Russia is second to last in the G20,” she added.

Discussion participants offered their suggestions for the index. Gulnara Abdarakhmanova, Director of the Center for Statistics and Monitoring of the Information Society of the Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge, National Research University - Higher School of Economics, said that the main security trend is cybersecurity, and that this should be taken into account.

Denis Terekhov, managing partner of the SNMG communications agency, drew attention to the fact that the Index has a lot of information about culture and not enough about communications, to which Andrei Bystritskiy objected that communication and culture are inextricably linked, and that one is inconceivable without the other.

According to MGIMO Prorector Artyom Malgin, the novelty of the rating is that it touches upon issues related to international security and the positioning of countries in the world. There are fewer attempts to construct ratings in this area than in education and science. The main player in this field has always been the Stockholm-based SIPRI institute, but its ratings have traditionally focused on the arms trade.

“There is an attempt here to define security in a more applied manner,” Malgin said. “The authors analyzed the ability of various countries to repel external military attacks and withstand terrorist threats.”

The ability of a country to provide for its security also has an economic dimension, as it allows for a measure of its investment attractiveness, Malgin believes. He also suggested that the authors of the study continue to work on the subsection on international influence and international relations.

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