“The coronavirus played the role of a refocuser. It did not eliminate a single problem, it only emphasized many of them, and one of them is the growth of interdependence with a lack of governance. Now conditions are being created for the construction of a ‘new building’, but so far we don’t see anything like a general plan for restoring the world,” said Andrey Bystritskiy, Chairman of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club at a press conference held on April 2 at TASS news agency in Moscow.
The main topics of the event included the consequences of the ongoing pandemic for the world order, the challenges that it has identified for individual countries and associations (for example, the European Union or, separately, Eastern Europe) as well as the Valdai Club’s plans for the future.
Fyodor Lukyanov, Research Director of the Valdai Club, agreed that the pandemic did not bring anything new to the situation, but only emphasised the processes that had been observed before. He pointed to the disintegration of the world order and the growing anarchy in international relations. The Valdai Club’s 2018 and 2019 reports, the forecasts of which are now being confirmed, were devoted to these topics. However, anarchy can be also controlled, and therefore the price of both responsibility and selfishness in politics increases many times.
The presentation of Nandan Unnikrishnan, Distinguished Fellow at Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi, touched on the situation in India: political stability in the country, he said, is not in danger at the moment, while the future of the nation’s economy is great cause for concern. In addition, as noted by Piotr Dutkiewicz, Director of the Centre for Governance and Public Policy at Carleton University, Canada, the economic crisis around the world has been accompanied by a social crisis that has found expression in protests in France, Hong Kong and the Middle East. He noted that a pandemic would entail greater inequality and, at the same time, a growing role for couriers, doctors and analysts, who are more in demand in this situation than the old political elites.
Regarding the plans of the Valdai Club and how the current situation will adjust them, Andrey Bystritskiy said that the upcoming events would be held online. However, the quarantine will not affect either the issue of the annual report, which is currently being prepared, or the traditional annual meeting in autumn. The Club Chairman stressed that since the organisation’s goal is to think not only about the present, but also about the future, the Valdai Club would pay special attention to ways to overcome the crisis and its consequences.