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.
Many Russians, including some in the government, possibly even President Medvedev himself, would like to see Russia become a more Western country. The neo-Slavophiles do have quite a lot in common with Communists, who emphasize that Russia is different from Western civilizations.
By increasingly becoming a mere servant of the economic-cum-political ruling group, democracy is losing its original appeal and its broader, previously unquestionable, social support. As a consequence, the contemporary market system works by de-politicizing the economy, thus making it less socially accountable and responsive
Putin, it seems, has embraced Pyotr Stolypin as the model for his current premiership and putative future presidency because Stolypin tried to accomplish the political, economic and social transformation of Russia through nonrevolutionary means. Putin’s favorite quote these days is, “We do not need great upheavals. We need a great Russia”.
During the resurgence of Russia, specifically after Putin comes to power and Russia begins to regain international standing, when Americans finally start to sit back and think about what had really happened in 1991 in a comprehensive way.
For the first time in history, Russia had a politician who defended national rather than narrow departmental or corporate interests. Pyotr Stolypin said if Russia were allowed 20 years of domestic and foreign tranquility, his contemporaries would not have recognized the country anymore.
The Soviet inheritance remains strong throughout the old Russian lands, while the image of the West has suffered from financial overstretch, leadership decline, and waning U.S. power. In all this, Russia has two options for modernization. One looking to Eurasia, the other looking West, to Europe in general and Germany in particular, to forge a long term balanced relationship.
By 1991 the Soviet Union had changed sufficiently that there was no possibility of returning to the Communist Party dictatorship of the past, which essentially was the goal of Gorbachev’s opponents in the CPSU.
Many in the West regard the Putin’s Russia with suspicion and see her as aggressive. Many elements of the new Russian idea seem to base on a pure rejection of Western liberalism. To be effective, Russia has to become more attractive – for her own people and foreigners, who share traditionalistic-conservative ideals. Russia’s new conservatism must be formulated in the form of “soft power”.
Last week, the Russian Federation marked the 20th anniversary of its Constitution; the Russian president delivered his annual State of the Nation Address before the Federal Assembly; as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, he also met with the military top brass. This is an opportune moment to sum up the state of Russia in 2013 and look ahead, in terms of its political system, economic, foreign, and security policies.
Russian leaders have promised several times to set Iskander, it’s tactical missile complex, on the boarders of the European Union in response to a European missile defense. So, it’s no surprise that they are saying it again. Discussion on European security is depressing. The world is changing: Europe is becoming a strategic periphery.
Turkey and Russia are natural players in Middle East developments in a historical context, and both countries continue to play their roles. But there will be no political unity between the two countries as far as Turkey remains in NATO and continues its negotiations with the EU. Turkey joining the Customs Union seems possible but not realistic.