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.
09/19/201311:51 Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Ivanov believes the Moscow mayoral election was “sterile”. Sergei Sobyanin was elected mayor in a direct election on September 8, a general election day across the country.
09/09/201309:04 Russia is clearly still a long way from anything that we are used to seeing in the West, but the Moscow Mayoral election, bizarre as its circumstances are, show signs of a step in the right direction.
08/26/201310:13 A person who is involved exclusively in economic issues cannot be the mayor of Moscow in today’s Russia. The mayor should be well-versed in these issues – this is a basic requirement – but he must interact with the population and take part in public affairs. Otherwise, he won’t survive because political competition is very acute in Russia.
08/08/201313:49 Last year, the ruling party surreptitiously helped most of its rivals to collect signatures of municipal deputies. This created a situation in practically all regions where the serving heads lacked real rivals because they collected the signatures only for those who suited them in the capacity of rivals.
07/26/201310:44 The range of political opposition forces is very broad in Russia. It is very difficult to imagine radical nationalists, Communists and liberals working on the same team. The opposition must unite, or it will be dealt with as wolves deal with rabbits.
07/24/201311:17 The one big problem for Russia, for Russian development and for Russia's relationship with the outside world, is this fundamental uncertainty of what is going on in Russia, what is the state of affairs. And economic relations can only go so far, but not beyond.
07/19/201317:11 It’s a culmination of Guriyev’s departure, Magnitsky’s posthumous conviction, and now Navalny’s conviction, which makes people think that the legal system in Russia is almost totally controlled by the people who have political power and the executive branch of government. That makes potential Western investors think that this is not a country where they will happily want to invest in.
07/19/201310:44 Navalny was sentenced to prison for his political activities prior to the election and for inventing the popular tagline “the party of crooks and thieves” to describe the ruling United Russia party. Whether he will continue to direct opposition activities depends on how much money he has to fund protest rallies in his own defense and the strength of his team, which will have to do all the work.
06/18/201311:18 News that Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin would resign in order to run for the mayoral election in September came as quite a shock. Sobyanin’s political potential is fairly dubious, not to mention his approval ratings. He has not finished many of the projects he initiated and the electoral effect from these projects is expected to come a bit later than September 2013. Sobyanin’s opponents were not entirely unprepared for this blitzkrieg.
04/24/201309:53 Nobody has called Alexei Navalny a strong politician as of yet. He is an interesting public figure and sometimes implements very successful initiatives. He made a successful attack on United Russia that became rather famous because he timed the attack with the weakening of the government. However, he became indecisive and largely lost his advantageous position each time after achieving success in such attacks.