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.
Russia doesn’t need a complete revision of its history and its past; we need to deal with problems of today and tomorrow. These problems are not derived from the Stalin’s time, they are generated by the dissolution of a previously united country, by corruption and criminal capitalism.
Having a strong, central power is important for the Russian mentality because Russia developed around a central state and a central authority. Its main national idea was one of defense, sometimes offensive defense, against foreign intruders.
Twenty years ago, on July 10, 1991, Boris Yeltsin was inaugurated as President of the Russian Federation. Many Russians who were ready and willing to go to the barricades for him ended up filled with a sense of bitter disappointment. Both his supporters and critics agree that he was the man who forged a new nation.
The collapse of the Soviet Union twenty years ago marked the end of the Russian empire, which had existed in various form for half a millennium. In “Post-Imperium: A Eurasian Story” Dmitri Trenin offers a nuanced look at Russia’s image of itself and its role in the world as it continues to adjust to this new geopolitical reality.
The relationship between history and politics in Russia has changed radically over the past 25 years since the beginning of perestroika. One change began in 2009-2010, although its consequences are not yet evident, and affected the principles of the Russian version of ‘historical policy,’ i.e. the use of specially selected elements of the past for political purposes.
It is difficult to give an unequivocal assessment of the causes of the disaster of 1941. The army and the nation were preparing for war. Clausewitz saw the military as an instrument of diplomacy, and indeed the Soviet military and political leadership had ordered the army not to provoke Hitler to invade prior to the start of the war.
The lessons of the Korean War are especially important for Russia. At the time, by trying to expand its sphere of influence, the Soviet Union put its own international prestige at stake by stretching its relations with the West to a breaking point – risking the disintegration of the still nascent United Nations and almost turning the Cold War into a hot one.
Russia has become very adept in playing the diplomatic game, in which victory depends on choosing the right associate or partner. But there are a growing number of claimants to this role in the new horizontal and interdependent world. Aside Syria and Iran, being still important, the new venues for the application of practical diplomacy may well be Ukraine, the East China Sea and Afghanistan.
Other than Iran, no state near NATO poses a ballistic missile threat to the Alliance — with the exception of Russia. But the SM-3 interceptors to be deployed in phases 2 and 3 will be capable of engaging only medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, which Russia has given up under the terms of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
Edward Snowden is not an isolated case but part of an independent community which is increasingly resolute in asserting itself and rejecting “raison d’Etat” and behind-the-scenes manipulation. The direct results of Snowden’s disclosures are most clearly evident in the context of Russian-American relations. The Snowden case has humiliated Europe, which Putin took the opportunity to remind them of.
Russia should stop offering economic assistance to Ukraine. President Yanukovych desperately needs financial relief, and, in extremis, he can promise anything in return. Ukraine has entered uncharted waters. Whatever the outcome of the current political standoff in Kiev and of the forthcoming presidential elections, the economic situation of the country is very difficult.