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.
12/11/201311:20 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.
12/11/201309:00 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.
11/20/201311:37 In a situation of rigid Western economic sanctions and complicated relations with practically all of its neighbors, Iran nevertheless is turning into a most important state in a vast geopolitical area that embraces the Middle and Near East, Central and Western Asia. The Iranian aspect is present in practically all international problems that draw global attention.
10/21/201310:24 Russia is no longer necessary as a mediator between Iran and the West because Tehran is ready to conduct independent talks with Washington. Relations between Moscow and Tehran are beset with serious problems that are making any development very difficult.
07/30/201311:00 Direct US-Iran talks are on the cards. Therefore, Russia is doing the right thing to "seize the moment." Putin will be the first visiting head of state in the Rouhani presidency. There are no obstacles to Russian-Iranian cooperation. The challenge lies in building complementarity of interests.
07/02/201311:01 Relations between Iran and Russia will continue to develop. But, apart from nuclear energy cooperation and military-technical cooperation, there are no other points of contact. Iran and Russia take similar stances on the Syrian issue and some other issues. Russia faces no threat of Shia extremism.
06/18/201310:28 Rouhani has spoken out that Tehran was unwise to depend on the “dual policies of countries like Russia, China and India at the international level,” whereby these counties merely used the Iran card to work on their bilateral ties with the US and strengthen their relations with the West.
06/13/201310:05 Iran will go to the polls to elect a new president. It would be folly for the world community to expect any sudden changes in Tehran — including with regard to its nuclear program and its relationship with Bashar al-Assad in Damascus — even if a more moderate candidate prevails. Iran will continue to be a major power with, at the very least, regional ambitions.
06/04/201311:10 Iran continues to send signals of its willingness to pursue further cooperation with Russia at the Bushehr NPP site. The construction of two new energy reactors might soon commence on the Persian Gulf coast. Russia has its own reasons to pursue such cooperation. Moscow needs an infrastructure project that would serve as an anchor in Russian-Iranian relations.
05/28/201312:15 Even if the Geneva conference takes place, representation at it will not be so substantial, and will hardly reflect the entire range of attitudes and interests of all parties involved in the conflict. Russia may suggest a conference, but it cannot predict its outcome. The Arab League has become a fairly obedient instrument in the hands of the leading Gulf countries.