Third Central Asian Conference of the Valdai Discussion Club
Tomsk, the Russian Federation

On May 16-17, Tomsk will host the Third Central Asian Conference of the Valdai Discussion Club. The conference topic is “Russia and Central Asia: Aligning With a Changing World”.

About 60 experts from 10 countries — Russia, Belarus, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, will take part in this year’s Central Asian Conference. Tomsk Region Governor Vladimir Mazur and Mikhail Galuzin, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, are expected to open the event. Additionally, Pavel Sorokin, First Deputy Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation, will speak at one of the conference sessions.

In keeping with tradition, the conference will be held in Russia. This year the Club is moving from the Volga region to the east, to the very heart of Siberia. The Valdai Club has repeatedly organised events in Siberia; exactly six years ago it co-hosted a discussion in Tomsk dedicated to the intellectual potential of Russia. This time, Tomsk State University, the oldest centre of professional training in Siberia, which celebrates its 145th anniversary this year, was chosen as the venue.

The geographical proximity of Siberia and Central Asia determines the strong cultural and economic ties between the two regions. Siberia has historically played the role of a transcontinental bridge between Europe and Asia. Over its long history, Tomsk has turned from an outpost on the border of the Russian Empire into a major intellectual and industrial centre that not only receives students and labour migrants from Central Asian countries but also maintains economic ties with these states. Almost 60% of the region’s exports go to the countries of the Central Asian “five”. Even more promising is the use of Tomsk as a talent pool and an intellectual bridge between Russia and the Central Asian region. The city of 550 thousand people has six universities with the total number of students reaching 83 thousand). A significant share of students come from the countries of Central Asia. That is why Tomsk was chosen by the organisers as the city for the conference. Tomsk State University will serve as the venue for the participants’ discussion. Students from the city’s universities will be full participants in the last session of the conference.

Today, Russia and Central Asia represent a common political, economic and defence space. The Ukrainian crisis and the abrupt end to Western cooperation with Russia became just one of the many factors compelling Russia to deepen its ties with Central Asia. In recent years, Russian foreign policy has consistently turned towards the East and neighbouring states. Today, Russia is going through a process of reformatting its geo-economic ties, paying special attention to the Central Asian republics. According to Valdai Club experts, the states of Central Asia have already demonstrated their readiness to serve as reliable partners for Russia as it faces a sharp aggravation of relations with the West and a general restructuring of the international order.

The theme of the conference is dedicated to linking the interests of Russia and the countries of the region with a changing world, understanding where the priorities of Russia and Central Asia fit in, and where they diverge from the logic of global events. The mission of the Club’s Central Asian Conference is to provide Russian and international experts with an opportunity to analyze these issues and find common answers to the ongoing changes.

The Central Asian conference will last two days. The conference agenda will include an opening, four thematic sessions and an open discussion. The opening of the conference and the first session (May 16), as well as the final open discussion (May 17) will be available to the media and the general public and will be broadcast on the Club’s website.

The conference participants will discuss the following issues:

• The political dimension of bilateral and multilateral cooperation between Russia and the Central Asian countries;
• The new world economy and interaction between Central Asia and Russia;
• Greater Eurasian partnership amid modern conditions;
• New and traditional security challenges for the countries of the region and Russia.

From the Central Asian region, the conference will be attended by: Zhanar Tulindinova, Executive Director of the Institute of Parliamentarism; Guzel Maitdinova, Director of the Center for Geopolitical Studies of the Russian-Tajik (Slavonic) University; Kubatbek Rakhimov, Executive Director of the Public Foundation “Applicata — Center for Strategic Decisions”, Advisor to the Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic (2019-2020); Rakhim Oshakbaev, Director of the Center for Applied Research “TALAP”; Ainur Zhorobekova, Head of the Department of the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic; Bakhtishod Khamidov, Deputy Director of the Institute for Forecasting and Macroeconomic Research under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan; Rustam Khaydarov, Deputy Director of the Institute of Philosophy, Political Science and Law Named After A. Bahovaddinov of the National Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan and others.

The invited participants from extra-regional states include: Bal Krishan Sharma, Major General (ret.), Director of the United Service Institution of India in Delhi; Mehdi Sanai, Associate Professor of the Faculty of World Studies at the University of Tehran, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Iran to Russia (2013-2019); Yang Cheng, Distinguished professor and executive director of Shanghai Academy of Global Governance and Area Studies at Shanghai International Studies University, and others.

The Russian participants include: Ivan Safranchuk, Director, Leading Researcher of the Center for Eurasian Studies at MGIMO, Russian Foreign Ministry; Anastasia Likhacheva, Dean of the Faculty of World Economy and World Politics, National Research University Higher School of Economics; Elena Kuzmina, Head of the Sector of the Center for Post-Soviet Studies at IMEMO RAS; Anton Kozlov, Head of the Department of Foreign Projects and International Cooperation of JSC “Russian Railways”; Andrey Grozin, Senior Researcher at the Center for the Study of Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Ural-Volga Region of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Andrey Bezrukov, Professor at MGIMO of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Member of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy; Daria Chizhova, Director of the Information and Analytical Center for the Study of Socio-Political Processes in the Post-Soviet Space; 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: Russian, English.

Information for the media:  In order to get accredited for the event, please fill out the form on our web site. If you have any questions about the event, please call +79269307763
Accreditation is open until 14:00 Moscow time on May 15.