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.
An ability to quickly mobilize one’s allies (not only in the military sense) and to deliver a most resolute and prompt strike at one’s enemies or even undesirable countries is becoming an increasingly important requirement for a state’s survival and competitiveness. This is why NATO, the last peacetime military alliance, has very promising prospects.
With the world’s political and economic focus gradually shifting to the Asia-Pacific region, bilateral relations between China and Russia are facing new challenges and opportunities. For both China and Russia, the current changes may have a more profound impact on and significance for readjusting their development strategies than any changes that took place in previous decades.
There are surely many opportunities for US-Russian cooperation in the Middle East, just as there are opportunities for a new rivalry to emerge. While the United States and Russia have closely aligned interests when it comes to terrorist groups, the interests overlap less neatly when it comes to relationships with governments, with energy markets, and with weapons sales.
Once Ukraine has taken its relations with the EU to a new level, there will be no point trying to preserve existing relations between Ukraine and Russia. Withdrawing preferential treatment will be Russia’s ultimate and final recognition of Ukraine’s independence. To Russia, Ukraine will become just another foreign country.
Both the US and Russia need to recognize that they control only part of the outcome of the Syrian conflict. The conflict now poses a challenge to the stability of Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey, as well as to Israel, all of which are experiencing the impacts of the conflict to differing degrees.
The peacekeeping forces from CSTO member states have become an important force for maintaining collective international security. Its plans include establishing a working relationship with corresponding UN agencies in order to add CSTO peacekeepers to the UN register.
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.
Russia should stop offering economic assistance to Ukraine. President Yanukovych desperately needs financial relief, and, in extremis, he can promise anything in return. Ukraine has entered uncharted waters. Whatever the outcome of the current political standoff in Kiev and of the forthcoming presidential elections, the economic situation of the country is very difficult.
Russia has surged ahead on the foreign policy stage, but this is not enough to remain a great power. The tough-minded policies and masterful diplomacy of Russia’s leadership have maximized the country’s position in the world, and are now the main source of its international influence and prestige. Russia’s foreign policy in the next decade depends entirely on what happens at home.