Global Governance
Russia and Central Asia in the Face of New Global Challenges. The Central Asian Conference of the Valdai Discussion Club
List of speakers

On May 20-21, 2021, the city of Kazan will host the Central Asian Conference of the Valdai Discussion Club, titled “Russia and Central Asia Facing the Challenges of the New World — A Joint Path to the Future.” The event will be held mostly live; almost all guests will attend in person.

Russia’s relations with its closest neighbours have always been among its foreign policy priorities; now they are closely linked to Russian priorities in domestic policy. Over the past 30 years, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia and the countries of Central Asia have come a long way in establishing statehood and defining their place in regional and international affairs. Today we can say surely say that Russia and the Central Asian “five” are connected not only by their Soviet past, but also by their common present, created by joint efforts within the EAEU, CSTO, SCO and CIS, as well as through bilateral tracks.

At the end of the year, the Valdai Discussion Club will release a report on Russian policy towards the post-Soviet space over the past 30 years. The Kazan conference will serve as one of the key intellectual sources for this scientific work.

More than 60 experts from 16 countries will take part in the Central Asian conference, includunig Russia, Afghanistan, Great Britain, Germany, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, France and Estonia. The President of the Republic of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, will address the event’s participants with a welcome speech. Among the guests of the conference are: Oleg Salagay, Deputy Minister of Health of the Russian Federation; Yerlan Karin, Assistant to the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Chairman of the Kazakhstan Council on International Relations; Hamid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (2004-2014); Mehdi Sanai, Senior Adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran and Director of the Institute for Iranian and Eurasian Studies and former Ambassador of Iran to Moscow, Andrey Rudenko, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, and many other active politicians, international officials and representatives of the partner organisations of the Club.

The new world order poses new challenges to states. Since Russia and Central Asia are active participants in the global market and world politics amid a changing environment, they now more than ever need a dialogue to coordinate individual development plans. The Valdai Club Conference will take place shortly after the announcement of the complete withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. This step creates new risks for the region and requires a balanced expert analysis. The conference programme includes issues of greatest importance to Russia and the five Central Asian states:

  • Social consequences of the pandemic for Russia and Central Asia;

  • The future of security in the Central Asian region;

  • The impact of changes in the global economy on Russia and the countries of Central Asia;

  • Features of Russian policy in the Central Asian region.

The opening of the conference, the first session, as well as the final session of the programme - an open discussion - will be open to the media and a wide audience and it will be broadcast on the Club's website.

At the expert level, the conference will be attended by both recognised regional experts and foreign guests of the Club, whose level of expertise has been proven over the years: Anatol Lieven, Senior Research Fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft; Alexander Rahr, Senior Research Fellow, WeltTrends Institute for International Politics in Potsdam; Scientific Director of the German-Russian Forum; Arnaud Dubien, Director of the Analytical Centre “Observo”; Feng Shaolei, Director of the Centre for Russian Studies, East China Normal University; Kubatbek Rakhimov, former adviser to the Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic; Ivan Safranchuk, Leading Research Fellow, Institute for International Studies, MGIMO-University; Vitaly Naumkin, Full Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Academic Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences; Andrey Bystritskiy, Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club; Fyodor Lukyanov, Research Director of the Valdai Discussion Club; Timofei Bordachev, Programme Director of the Valdai Discussion Club and others.

Working languages: English, Russian.

Information for the media: In order to be accredited for the event, fill out the form on our website or call +79269307763. Accreditation is open until 3:00 pm Moscow time on May 19.