Programme of the Third Central Asian Conference of the Valdai Discussion Club
Tomsk, the Russian Federation

Programme of the Third Central Asian Conference of the Valdai Discussion Club “Russia and Central Asia: Aligning With a Changing World”

Tomsk, May 16–17, 2023

(All times are Tomsk time: GMT+7)

May 16, Tuesday

10:00 – 10:30 Opening of the conference (live)

10:30 – 12:00 Session 1. Political Dialogue and Cooperation: Bilateral and Multilateral Dimensions (live)

Russia and the Central Asian states form a nodal part of the Eurasian security and development space. They are linked by intensive political relations and participation in common regional organizations and associations. In the context of complex international order transformations and the aggravation of contradictions between major powers, it is particularly important for the parties to constantly coordinate their approaches to the most important global and regional challenges, the potential for changes in the international environment and the likelihood of new conflicts affecting their fundamental interests. The aim of this session is to conduct an in-depth and comprehensive analysis of bilateral and multilateral dialogue as well as to discuss the extent to which political cooperation mechanisms are prepared to respond to constantly evolving challenges.

12:30 – 14:00 Session 2. The Role of Russia and Central Asia in the New World Economy

The global change in the balance of power and the conflict between the largest states is reflected in the state and prospects of the world economy. These changes are so rapid and serious that they require Russia and the Central Asian countries to reassess their development models, their systems of international economic relations as well as general understanding of their role in the global economy and the relationship between the implementation of national development goals and global trends. Some economic ties are being artificially severed or slowed down, but new partnerships and whole structural phenomena in the global economy are emerging – for example, the transition to trade in national currencies, the creation of regional stock exchanges and much more. The aim of this session’s participants is to compare their approaches to what changes are crucial for the development of our states, to identify opportunities and constraints for joint responses to the challenges of the global market, and to assess what countries have already done as they adapt to the new conditions.

15:45 – 17:15 Session 3. The Greater Eurasian Context of Collaboration Between Russia and the Central Asian States

The continental position of Russia and the Central Asian countries makes them the most interested in the stable development of the whole of Eurasia: in the states’ ability to maintain their economic relations in the face of global risks, in the strengthening of international connectivity, and in the institutions of Eurasian cooperation, in particular, on the basis of interaction with other leading regional players – China, India and Iran. From Russia’s perspective, the concept of a Greater Eurasian Partnership remains the most important framework idea for building regional “political cohesion” and understanding the indivisibility of regional security. The aim of this session is to discuss the progress of the current pan-Eurasian cooperation projects, the effectiveness of key regional organizations and dialogue formats, as well as the contribution of Russia and Central Asia to stabilizing the common space of development and security.

May 17, Wednesday

09:30 – 11:00 Session 4. Common Challenges to the Security of Russia and Central Asia: What Is Familiar and What Is New?

Global security is now under pressure from the growing contradictions between the major powers, with conflicts between Russia and the West and China and the United States at the centre. These conflicts are of concern for the Central Asian states, they create conditions for attempts to exert pressure on them from abroad, and increase the likelihood of external support for internal preconditions for destabilization. Russia, like China, has a fundamental interest in the political stability of Central Asia and in strengthening the sovereignty and security of its states. At the same time, regional challenges remain relevant: religious radicalism of national and cross-border nature, the unstable situation in Afghanistan, along with environmental and man-made threats. The experts’ aim is to review the new and old challenges to the security of Russia and Central Asia, to assess the likelihood of them becoming acute, and to analyse the experience of our cooperation in this field as well as its potential at the multilateral and bilateral levels.

11:30 – 13:30 What We Know and Don’t Know About the World of Tomorrow. Open Discussion (live)

The open discussion, traditional for Valdai Club conferences, serves to engage all experts participating in the conference in free and dynamic exchange of opinions on topical issues of international and regional development. The following questions are supposed to be discussed:

1) How irreversible are the processes of de-globalisation?
2) What do we want to preserve in the international order and what should we abandon?
3) What new and perhaps potentially extremely significant factors and trends in the world economy and politics are we not yet paying due attention to?
4) What opportunities do we expect from 2023?