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.
Even if the Geneva conference takes place, representation at it will not be so substantial, and will hardly reflect the entire range of attitudes and interests of all parties involved in the conflict. Russia may suggest a conference, but it cannot predict its outcome. The Arab League has become a fairly obedient instrument in the hands of the leading Gulf countries.
The Lebanese experience in resolving inter-religious conflict may provide clues for resolving the situation in Syria, said Secretary General of the Lebanese National Dialogue Party Fouad Makhzoumi at the Valdai Club Middle East Dialogue in Morocco. About 100 political and public figures and experts on the Middle East from Russia, the Middle East and North Africa and the West are discussing the future of political Islam in the Arab world.
In light of the present situation in the Middle East, Russia and Israel find themselves facing common challenges. Under these newly emerging situations, Russia sees its partnership with Israel as a potential asset in resolving acute regional issues. From a Russian perspective, the compatibility of Israeli and Russian interests could contribute to such a partnership.
The failure of the Islamist political parties who came to power in the dramatic events of the Arab Spring would allow the military to reenter the political arena. Political Islam was successful in the opposition, but it could fail in power, as the negative experience of Egypt and Iraq have shown.
Netanyahu arrived in Sochi to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The discussion, according to the two leaders, covered a wide range of issues, from the economic component of bilateral relations to the ongoing conflict in Syria.
Violent suppression of protests can lead not to stabilization but just the opposite. It forces Yanukovych to seek solidarity only in Moscow. It puts Russia in a position where it will again be involved in Ukrainian politics. And in this murky swamp, we have repeatedly gotten bogged down.
Putin’s current domestic priority is to shore up the slowing Russian economy against external shocks and crises and make sure that nothing goes terribly wrong. In the months ahead, in spite of the absence of any credible opposition figure on Russia’s political horizon, Putin and his team will be closely monitoring public opinion polls — not just election results in key cities and regions – for the first hints of any real trouble.
The consequences of marketisation and competitive capitalism in Russia not only changed the form of inequalities but greatly amplified them both between and within regions. There is a polarisation between the rich and the poor in the richest areas which is paralleled, though to a slightly less unequal extent, in the poorer regions. The same economic principles work in all regions, despite some being more poorly endowed than others.
Since the end of the Cold War, our common interests and challenges have outweighed our differences and disagreements. Today the United States and Russia continue to cooperate on a range of vital security and economic interests, including ensuring non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the modern age, reducing nuclear weapons stockpiles, as well as collaborating on regional issues, such as Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and the Middle East Peace Process.