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.
Putin is an unusual politician, not only because of his personal qualities, but because the leader of Russia cannot be an ordinary politician by definition. The personal factor means much more in Russian politics than in the West. The Russian president can rule Russia as he sees fit. Many in the West fear Putin’s unlimited power and are hostile to him as a result.
How many journalists in Russia and abroad read the American Foreign Agents’ Registration Act, which the Russian law actually copied almost word for word? But there were literally hundreds of “concerns” expressed and hysterical ruminations set on paper or electronic devices on the terrible meaning of the words “foreign agent” for a Russian ear.
In 2012 there were some important developments: APEC summit in Vladivostok symbolized Russian turn to Asia, Magnitsky Act in US and Russian reaction demonstrated who deep foreign policy was interconnected with domestic agenda.
The emergence of a middle class was a very important theme for Russia's image abroad, but it also represented an understanding for the Russian elite that society is changing, and that certain steps must be taken in the future in order to incorporate the interests of this middle class into larger politics.
In his recent speeches, Vladimir Putin has been increasingly speaking as a political manager, the master of the situation who has the right to determine the competences of the state and the Fundamental Law. The master can change the order of things, as evidenced by Putin’s words about the possibility of amending the Constitution. In this respect, the president has put a distance between himself and the state as an institution.
Russia is pretty immune from the influence of outside leaders or thinkers. There is, however, a social stratum that influenced how others view Russia – a “Russian creative/middle class”; it showed that Russian society is dynamic, self-critical and future oriented – a partner for global society.
Given the sheer political impassiveness of the overwhelming part of population in Russia, the implementation of the protest-revolutionary scenario is not viable under current conditions. However, its rising legitimacy in society increases sensitivity to the potential triggers of mass protests. The new wave of the economic crisis could become one of such triggers.
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.
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 Arab Spring has dramatically changed the alignment of forces in the Middle East and North Africa. What are the long-term consequences of these changes and how can relations be established with the new political elites? Politicians and leading experts on Middle East studies discussed these issues at the Valdai International Discussion Club conference, “Islam in Politics: Ideology or Pragmatism?” in Marrakesh, Morocco, on May 14-15.