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.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin met with Valdai International Discussion Club members and answered a few question about his pre-election debates, migration policy and his attitude to presidential elections in 2018
Russia’s task over the next decades is identical to the task facing most other countries. It doesn’t need to find ways of making people around the world feel in awe of Russia, impressed by Russia, or even envious of Russia: quite simply, it needs to find ways of making people feel glad that Russia exists.
If there comes a time when Russians want to live in Russia, or people in other countries want to live as people in Russia live, this will mean that Russia has become the most influential country in the world. And no American, European, Chinese or Arab model will equal it.
If you believe that the modern Russia is the product of the thousand-year history of the Russian people, it follows automatically that Russia is part of Europe. If you say that Russia is a melting pot for everyone, Russia should be considered a Eurasian country – not quite Europe and not quite Asia. Today’s Russia could be compared to Portugal if it had kept Brazil, or Britain if it still possessed North America.
The Valdai Discussion Club is a liberal body. But it is above all a learning process, and thus invaluable. As long as the Valdai International Discussion Club continues with the participation of politicians from Russia and abroad, then it will remain an important channel of communication.
The Valdai Club is an ideal expert group on Russia, featuring a very broad range of opinion. Not a single think tank in the world has such a wide array of specialists who are systematically engaged in the problems of one country and its role in the world.
Some people are trying to make the reality in Russia at least a bit more humane. The amnesty should apply not only to persons involved in high-profile cases, but also to individuals who are not as well-known. It is better to set free at least some of the individuals who deserve to be released than no one at all.
Russia has become very adept in playing the diplomatic game, in which victory depends on choosing the right associate or partner. But there are a growing number of claimants to this role in the new horizontal and interdependent world. Aside Syria and Iran, being still important, the new venues for the application of practical diplomacy may well be Ukraine, the East China Sea and Afghanistan.
Other than Iran, no state near NATO poses a ballistic missile threat to the Alliance — with the exception of Russia. But the SM-3 interceptors to be deployed in phases 2 and 3 will be capable of engaging only medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, which Russia has given up under the terms of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
Edward Snowden is not an isolated case but part of an independent community which is increasingly resolute in asserting itself and rejecting “raison d’Etat” and behind-the-scenes manipulation. The direct results of Snowden’s disclosures are most clearly evident in the context of Russian-American relations. The Snowden case has humiliated Europe, which Putin took the opportunity to remind them of.