The Russian News & Information Agency RIA Novosti, the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy (CFDP), Russia Profile and Russia in Global Affairs magazines, and The Moscow News newspaper have organized a series of annual meetings of the Valdai Discussion Club.
The club’s mission is to create an international expert venue, where top federal and regional officials could share trusted information on the country and society’s development with home and foreign leading specialists studying various aspects of the Russian life.
Annual meetings with the Russian president, which have become a good tradition, underscore the significance of the event.
The club’s first discussion entitled “Russia at the Turn of the Century: Hopes and Reality” was held in September 2004 in Veliky Novgorod, near the picturesque lake of Valdai (hence the club’s name) and earned positive assessments from the expert and journalist communities. It was then that the participants decided to meet annually.
The second forum “Russia as a Political Kaleidoscope” was held the following fall on board the cruise ship Alexander Radishchev, which traveled from Moscow to Tver and back. That time the discussion focused on important issues related to Russia’s democratic development and political system, the main aspects of its international cooperation and its outlook in the global politics. In 2006 Russian and foreign experts had an opportunity to visit Russia’s crucial oil producing region – the Khanty-Mansiisk Autonomous Area. The discussion was entitled “Global Energy in the 21st Century: Russia’s Role and Position.”
In September 2007 the club held its meeting in Kazan, Tatarstan, where the participants touched upon the topic “Choice and Identity – Russia at the Crossroads.” As before, a meeting with the Russian president was the culmination of the two latest forums.
Meetings with the governors of the Russian regions, where Valdai forums take place, have become another good tradition.
This year’s debates concern international security issues in the framework of the current balance of powers in the world arena. This topic is especially relevant to Russia’s territories in the North Caucasus, which is why it will be more interesting for the participants to discuss all the aspects in Russia’s south. This year the club sets off for the Rostov Region, one of the most developed areas of Russia and an important cultural center. In addition, they have planned a meeting with Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov in Grozny.
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