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.
Totalitarianism in the USSR was unique because it was limited by its own declared principles. People had no reason to be afraid of the police. The atmosphere was entirely different than today. But this society recoiled from its own self and repudiated the goal besmirched by the crimes of the Stalinist period and the stagnation of the Brezhnev era. Now we have a society that does not have any goals.
The Cuban missile crisis had a profound impact on key U.S. policymakers and on parts of the Soviet leadership, when they realized how close we had come to the nuclear abyss. During the crisis the risk of a large-scale nuclear exchanges was very real.
The war should be called a measure for assessing the “strength of the Russian state,” rather than the “strength of the Russian people.” Indeed, Russia’s victory in the war was one of the most vivid manifestations of the Russian spirit and probably one of the last major victories of the Imperial Russian Army.
The Napoleonic War profoundly changed the way Russians regarded their own country. Victory over Napoleon, not only in Russia itself, but all the way to Paris, strengthened Russia's sense of its own greatness as an empire and great power.
Summarizing the foreign policy consequences of Napoleon’s defeat by the coalition of European powers led by Russia, one can conclude that they were much less benign for Russia than for the rest of Europe. The Western powers did not start viewing Russia as “one of their own.” The anti-Russian coalition that they formed in 1853 revealed that neither Austria nor Britain ever intended to show any gratitude for the “legitimist” exploits of Russia, as Nicholas I expected.
Russia has surged ahead on the foreign policy stage, but this is not enough to remain a great power. The tough-minded policies and masterful diplomacy of Russia’s leadership have maximized the country’s position in the world, and are now the main source of its international influence and prestige. Russia’s foreign policy in the next decade depends entirely on what happens at home.
The Ukrainian drama will strengthen the global image of Russia as a nation regaining its past power. Many European leaders have underestimated Moscow ever since the collapse of the USSR. Now, too many might be overestimating it.
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.