Think Tank
Programme of the 11th Asian Conference of the Valdai Discussion Club ‘Russia and Asia After the Pandemic’
List of speakers

Programme of the 11th Asian Conference of the Valdai Discussion Club
“Russia and Asia After the Pandemic”

December 9, Wednesday

10:00 – 10:10
Opening of the 11th Asian Conference of the Valdai Discussion Club   
  • Andrey Bystritskiy, Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club.
10:10 – 12:00
Session 1. The Shock of 2020: What We Lost and What We Gained in International Relations

The global coronavirus pandemic did not change the nature of international relations, but it relegated to history many of the things that seemed self-evident only a year ago, and, at the same time, it opened up new opportunities. International institutions are experiencing the heaviest test in decades. Great power competition and the change of the global balance of powers undermine the basis of systemic international cooperation, give rise to national egotisms and struggle for influence within institutions. But at the same time, the flexibility of the international system is growing while options for taking foreign policy decisions at the level of individual states are increasing. The session’s purpose is for Russian and Asian participants to discuss the main losses and gains of 2020 for global and regional economy and politics, the new factors of development of societies, the perception and potential of initiatives of global and regional players.

  • Timofei Bordachev, Programme Director of the Valdai Discussion Club;
  • Akshay Mathur, Director of ORF Mumbai;
  • Nguyen Hung Son, Director General of the Institute for the South China Sea at the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam;
  • Viktor Sumsky, Director of the ASEAN Centre, MGIMO University;
  • Zhou Bo, Senior  Fellow, Center for International Security and Strategy (CISS), Tsinghua University; Former Director of the Center for Security Cooperation in the Office for International Military Cooperation, Ministry of National Defense.
  • Fyodor Lukyanov, Research Director of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club.
12:30 – 14:30
Session 2. Competition of Tech Platforms: Problem or Opportunity?

The ongoing development of competing tech platforms is replacing expectations of a holistic world of information and communication. The most convincing examples of such new centres of power today are the United States and China. But there is a number of other states, including in Asia, which can aspire for autonomy and have the scientific and technological potential to achieve it. The session’s purpose is to discuss the main directions of development of the world of information and communication technologies, the strategies of countries as part of a new global competition and possible disruptive innovations in this sphere. The central question of the session, posed to all the participants, is whether a diversity of tech platforms is an inevitable alternative of a holistic world or it simply creates new development opportunities for individual countries and regions. 

  • Kim Heungchong, President, Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP);
  • Latha Reddy, Co-Chair of the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace; Deputy National Security Advisor of India (2011 – 2013); Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation;
  • Shen Yi, Director, Center for Global Cyberspace Governance Studies Fudan University;
  • Ruslan Yunusov, Chief Executive Officer of the Russian Quantum Center, Head of the Project Office on Quantum Technologies, Rosatom State Corporation.
  • Ivan Timofeev, Programme Director of the Valdai Discussion Club.
15:00 – 17:00
Session 3. New Opportunities and Limitations for Russia’s Turn to the East

Russia’s turn to the East began in a period of relatively stable development of the world and Asian economy. Its most important tasks always included integration of Russia and the Russian Far East with the system of economic relations in the Asia-Pacific, creation of opportunities to expand international cooperation, trade, and investment on Russia’s Pacific coast, presence of Russia in Asia’s international politics as a neutral participant which has friendly relations with all countries of the region.

In Moscow, Russia’s role in Asia is now traditionally assessed as a positive alternative to the hard choice between China and the United States, an independent source of energy and goods for the Asian markets, whose production is related to Russia’s objective advantages in terms of resources.

The coronavirus pandemic and the general slowdown of the world economy, the growth of regionalisation and localisation will inevitably impact the continuing integration of Russia with Asia. What should Russia and its partners in the Asia-Pacific focus on in the present conditions? Have new opportunities emerged after the pandemic or do limitations dominate? How relevant is the need in Russia as a player in regional politics? These are the questions seen by the organizers as the central ones for this session.

  • Taisuke Abiru, Senior Research Fellow, Sasakawa Peace Foundation;
  • Han Hongyul, Professor of the Department of Economics, Hanyang University;
  • Anastasia Likhacheva, Director of the Centre for Comprehensive European and International Studies (CCEIS);
  • Alexander Lomanov, Deputy Director for Scientific Work, Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) RAS;
  • Anton Tsvetov, Deputy Director, Department of Multilateral Economic Cooperation and Special Projects, Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation;
  • Wang Wen, Professor, Executive Dean of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies Renmin University of China.