Earlier in the week, I attended the Valdai Club’s 18th annual conference in Sochi for discussions on Russia’s strategic priorities. This year’s theme was “Global shake-up in the 21st century: the individual, values, and the state”.
Remarkably, the Middle East was absent as a topic of discussion this time. Attendees from the region were also small in number. This was an indication that Russians are lately less focused on our region than they are on their own country’s place in the world, its strategic options, its alliances and how to remain a superpower.