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.
Russia’s anti-corruption campaign looks like an attempt to “nationalize” the state elite by increasing their stakes in Russian institutions. To this end, bureaucrats have been banned from possessing foreign shares, bank accounts and certain other assets. Yet statistics show that the Russian public would be in favor of even stronger measures.
The liberal, Western-oriented camp that calls itself the “non-systemic” opposition is concentrated in Moscow and is very small on a national scale. However, this is the only opposition that is noticed by the West and as a result they will probably grow even more hysterical in their hatred of the Russian government. The same concerns NGOs with foreign aid.
The President’s best decision during his first year in office is the start of an anticorruption fight and the dismissal of Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov (replaced by the popular Sergei Shoigu). As for his worst decision, it is appointing Dmitry Medvedev as Prime Minister, something that sparked quite a serious negative reaction.
Nobody has called Alexei Navalny a strong politician as of yet. He is an interesting public figure and sometimes implements very successful initiatives. He made a successful attack on United Russia that became rather famous because he timed the attack with the weakening of the government. However, he became indecisive and largely lost his advantageous position each time after achieving success in such attacks.
The public in Tatarstan and elsewhere, Russian and foreign media and official authorities habitually regarded the local inter-faith situation and relations between the state and the Islamic community as a model of harmony. Tolerance characterizing all parties to this relationship became the republic’s trademark and brand.
If Russian citizens are asked about their dreams in the sphere of politics, there is a noticeable preference for a strong state. Values such as “democracy, human rights, and individual fulfillment”, social stability, or a return of Russia to great power status are less prevalent.
The Popular Front’s influence on the Russian political system will be limited to the Duma passing a law to allow blocs to take part in parliamentary elections. But this move entails a serious risk – patriotic blocs may emerge in the regions and win the elections, leaving behind both the front and United Russia.
The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is one of the most important foreign policy initiatives taken by Russia along with five other countries. Both Russia and China want to reduce the threat of separatism and western influence in the region. Emergence of SCO provoked new international order.
Iran has made varying degrees of progress down the tracks—enrichment, weaponization and delivery system—needed to have a viable nuclear weapon. How far will it proceed? One option is to build a bomb and, to show the world its nuclear prowess, conduct a test. But that option poses real risks for the Iranian government.