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.
Today, nine states, including North Korea, possess nuclear weapons, with five of them located in Asia. With the exception of China, four of these countries are not signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty: India, Pakistan and Israel never signed it, while North Korea pulled out of it in 2003. With collective security such a hard goal to achieve, no one wants to be the first to give up the nuclear sword.
A major task facing Russia and other members of the international community is to help build a “culture of safety” in Iran around the operation of Bushehr. It will be Iran’s first nuclear power reactor, and Russia will need to pass on best practices regarding safe operation of the reactor. Iran’s adoption of these practices would lessen safety concerns in the region.
Fifteen years have passed since Russia and the United States approved the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), but experts have shown little interest in the anniversary. Banning nuclear explosions is seen by analysts as a set of technical issues, beyond the reach of politics. But the CTBT is a political issue.
Compared to the Cold War, when there was serious concern about the possibility of a nuclear conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union, today it’s very hard to see a major nuclear exchange or nuclear conflict between the United States and Russia, or between Russia and China or the United States and China.
The current stage of international security development has a peculiar feature: the nature of the threats that mankind currently faces. The threat of the world’s leading powers coming into military collision is slowly receding while threats common to all humanity are gaining ground.
The Obama administration has failed to complete the negotiation of a treaty to replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start), which expired on Dec. 5. The two superpowers are now in unchartered waters.
Russian experts are convinced that the international community would fail in its efforts to keep the Middle East nuclear-free, according to a report prepared for an international conference in Jordan.
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.
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.
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.