Three Centuries of Eurasian Experiment in Russia (Valdai Discussion Club)

Every year, as the new semester starts, I ask my students a question – how do you identify yourselves – as Europeans, Eurasians or people of the East? Ten years ago, the students replied without hesitation that they were Europeans, but now the pause becomes increasingly longer. Next, I ask them to recall how they felt after visiting Vladivostok – if that city was European or Eastern? Without a doubt, it is a European city on the Pacific Ocean; once you cross the border with North Korea or China, you find yourself in Asia.

Andrey Sushentsov

EU’s Digital Strategy: Priorities and Challenges (Valdai Discussion Club)

The European Commission has published several documents on the EU’s digital strategy. These documents detail a set of norms that together constitute the information policy of the European Union.

Pavel Sharikov

Who Will Pay to Rebuild Syria? (Valdai Discussion Club)

While Russia appears to have prevailed in its latest showdown with Turkey in Syria—helping Damascus to blunt Turkey’s operations around Idlib and securing an advantageous cease-fire afterward—Moscow’s longer-term strategy for Syria has become murkier after the crisis. This uncertainty is primarily due to Russia’s new oil price war with Saudi Arabia, which seems to strike at one of the pillars of Moscow’s approach by undermining the prospects for Saudi financial support for Syrian reconstruction and raises new questions about the Kremlin’s motives and objectives.

Paul J. Saunders

Lonely Leader: How Is China Perceived by Its Eastern Neighbors? (Valdai Discussion Club)

There are few doubts that Eastern Asia’s future will largely depend on how its countries will build their relations with China, the new regional leader. Of course, in practice, as is often the case, these relations will largely be determined by specific and unpredictable political and economic circumstances. However, what kind of attitude minor Eastern Asian countries have towards the rising leader will play a major role in this process. Therefore, without exaggerating the importance of public sentiments, they should be taken into account, in particular when it comes to the states of the Korean Peninsula.

Andrei Lankov

Security in the Arab-Persian Gulf (Valdai Discussion Club)

Today, Russia is the only country capable of holding talks with all Gulf capitals, and hosting their representatives. This is something those capitals must consider and benefit from, by working with Russia to launch a practical course of action to create the “Gulf Security and Cooperation Organization”, to guarantee the security and cooperation in the gulf countries and among their peoples, writes Amal Abou Zeid, advisor to the President Lebanon; Member of the Lebanese Parliament, Free Patriotic Movement (2016–2018), and participant of the Ninth Middle East Conference of the Valdai Duscission Club

Amal Abou Zeid


A New Security Architecture for the Middle East? (Valdai Discussion Club)

The Middle East broke all records for surprise events in 2019. The unexpected changes of government in Algeria and Sudan, mass protests in Lebanon and Iraq, the sensational election outcome in Tunisia, the never-ending election process in Israel, a new escalation of US–Iran tensions, zigzagging developments in Syria, Libya, and Yemen, and many more – the list may be continued. At the same time, this is not the first time it happens. The situation in the region tended to be changeable in the past as well, and surprise and randomness have long become the landmark of the Middle East political process – as may be clearly seen yet again at the beginning of 2020.

Vitaly NaumkinVasily Kuznetsov

Could the UK Change Its Russia Policy? (Valdai Discussion Club)

New UK governments, even when formed by the same political party, often start out by reviewing the policies of their predecessors, with defence and security being a favourite area. So it is with the government of Boris Johnson. One of the first moves he announced after the Conservatives won their 80-seat parliamentary majority in December was the launch of just such a review.

Mary Dejevsky

Globalization on the Brink : Are We on the Verge of Major Transformation of the Global Economy ? (Valdai Discussion Club)

Movements to a de-globalization or “demondialization” of the economy, announced in a 2010 book, referred to various authors. This phenomenon has been widely observed. It is also accompanied by a “de-westernization” of the world. These various phenomena are not only economic; they all have a political dimension as well as a cultural dimension. However, this text will focus mainly on the economic dimensions of these movements.

Jacques Sapir

Trump and the Crisis of Oligarchy (Valdai Discussion Club)

Many observers will remember the end of the impeachment story. First the Senate’s refusal to hear witnesses in connection with the charges against Trump, and then impeachment supporters were unable to get 50, let alone the 67 required votes; only one senator broke ranks with the Republican establishment: Mitt Romney. Some experts, such as Ian Bremmer, have already suggested that Romney should be considered the leader of the Republican Party, since he advocated the Senate exercising the judicial role assigned to it. The symbolism of Trump’s refusal to shake hands with Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, will be remembered, as well as the response of the latter, who publicly tore up the text of the president’s annual message to Congress the day before the Senate voted to acquit him.

Andrei Tsygankov