4th annual conference of the Middle East Dialogue of the Valdai International Discussion Club, titled “Islam in Politics: Ideology or Pragmatism?”, will take place in Marrakesh, Morocco, on May 14-15.
Issues of commonalities and differences in the Muslim communities of Russia and Canada, as well as problems of their integration into the legal frameworks of their respective countries, were the main topics of discussion at the conference Muslims in Russia, the CIS, and Canada: Cohabitation and Cooperation
The conference Muslims in Russia, the CIS, and Canada: Cohabitation and Cooperation presented by Carleton’ Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, the Department of Political Science, the Carleton Centre for the Study of Islam, and the Valdai Discussion Club is to be held on March 8, 2013 at the Carleton University, Ottawa.
The analytical report “Russia’s Economy: after Transformation, before Modernization” was prepared after discussions at the Valdai Discussion Club Summit held on October 21–22, 2012. The report incorporates many of the conclusions on Russia’s political development contained in the 2011 Valdai report “Russia Should Not Miss Its Chance: Development Scenarios”.
The Russia Development Index (Valdai Index) reflects the combined opinion of the world's leading experts on Russia as regards Russia’s political, economic, social, cultural and international performance. The annual poll aims to study changes in Russia’s development trends over a year. It is important that respondents assess not the current situation, but changes.
The analytical report “Military Reform: Toward the New Look of the Russian Army” summarizes the results of the conference of the Valdai Discussion Club Defense and Security section titled “Modernization of Russia’s Armed Forces and Cooperation in International Security” which was held on May 25-27, 2011 in Moscow.
Nuclear weapons remain a stumbling block in international relations. Tensions have been building over the Iranian nuclear program and could lead to a new war in the Middle East. The West and Russia might again find themselves eyeing each other across a barricade. This could damage relations for years to come.
Russia’s line on Iran during the next presidency will be, most likely, defined by the same motivations as under Vladimir Putin’s previous terms. Which means: to try to limit America’s quest to put Iran into a corner through growing pressure, but at the same time not to encourage Tehran to challenge the international community. A difficult maneuver, but maybe the only rational one.
Any decisions on the proposed second Bushehr reactor would have to wait until Iran answers the key remaining questions on its past undeclared nuclear activities. Meanwhile, commencing power generation at the NPP can have a positive influence on Russian-Iranian relations.
Among emerging challenges to international security, the threats posed by potential proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and missile technologies would seem to be one that would unite the United States, its NATO allies, and Russia.
Twenty-five years after the Chernobyl disaster, Eastern Europe is still clinging to nuclear power. The anti-nuclear movement is essentially non-existent, but experts say 'green' energy is still a viable alternative. Belarus and Ukraine also see nuclear power as the way forward. Ukraine has four nuclear plants and there are plans for a Russian firm to build two more reactors at one of them.
Washington and Moscow should quickly launch a new round of negotiations aimed at further reductions of their nuclear forces. They should aim for a limit of no more than 1000 deployed strategic warheads, with corresponding reductions in deployed strategic delivery vehicles.
The situation in Japan, unless it deteriorates dramatically, is unlikely to seriously influence the development and modernization plans of those countries that have been developing the nuclear power industry for a long time. The main reason is that no alternative energy source on the table today can match nuclear power in capacity terms.
The current contract portfolio of Russian arms exporters is worth about $46 billion. Annual exports total $15 billion, and this will ensure uninterrupted deliveries for the next three years, even in the worst-case scenario. The list of the main buyers of Russian weapons is unlikely to change drastically.
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.