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.
12/25/201212:26 By assisting with the establishment of the National Coalition, the United States and their allies have not united the opposition, but instead created the semblance of an association that will act as a breeding ground for the further escalation of the Syrian conflict. Washington is not keen to be fully committed to the Middle East, since the situation is too complicated and unpredictable.
08/01/201210:41 Dropping Assad or not is not the point. Russia is upholding its role in the world and some principles of mutual relations. The biggest risk for Russia is that the growing influence of all kinds of Islamic forces in the Middle East may whip up enthusiasm for Islamic extremists in Russia’s North Caucasus. Hostile relations with Riyadh and Doha are exacerbating this risk.
07/27/201212:28 Support for the opposition may do a lot of damage to the West, and this is why it is necessary to take every opportunity to encourage the sides to sit down at the negotiating table. If the conflict is not settled during Ramadan, events will spiral out of control and we will see the start of a full-scale civil war.
07/26/201209:56 The Russian naval task force consists of different ships: a large anti-submarine warfare ship, two escort ships and five amphibious landing ships. The biggest intrigue is the reason for dispatching the landing ships to Syria. One possible explanation is that they are carrying military equipment for the Syrian army.
06/25/201211:09 Vladimir Putin is heading to the Middle East. The trip promises no sensations, but draws a lot of attention due to the radically changed situation in the region. This shift had made an enormous impact on Russian positioning in the Middle East game.
06/20/201212:10 The Syrian problem cannot be confined to regional boundaries, because it has highlighted a number of global issues, above all the question that should be raised at multilateral meetings: “Is it legitimate to declare governments illegitimate?” It looks as though no one respects international law any longer.
04/06/201213:31 The events in Syria have long become unpredictable, and there are serious apprehensions about the outbreak of civil war. It is probably too late to speak about prospects – the human losses and the scale of bloodshed have already been enormous. The opposition may not be able to achieve national reconciliation and to run a country weakened by fighting.
03/20/201210:22 Despite the difficulties and criticisms this policy has given rise to, Russia’s active policy in the region proves that without its involvement, it is virtually impossible to settle a major regional crisis like the one in Syria.