The 20th Annual Meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club, titled “Fair Multipolarity: How to Ensure Security and Development for Everyone” will be held in Sochi on October 2–5, 2023. The meeting will be attended by 140 experts, politicians and diplomats from 42 countries throughout Eurasia, Africa, North and South America. Traditionally, at the Annual Valdai Meeting, the majority of guests are foreign participants.
Programme of the 20th Annual Meeting
of the Valdai Discussion Club
“Fair Multipolarity: How to Ensure Security and Development for Everyone”
Sochi, October 2–5, 2023
October 2, Monday
The concept of a multipolar world, proposed by Russia and supported by China, India, and a number of other major powers, was coined in the mid-1990s as a reaction to the post-Cold War global hegemony. The theoretical idea eventually turned into a practical goal and then into international reality. The next stage is to conceptualize how exactly this world order will function. On what basis will the centres of power interact and how can the conflict inherent in any polycentrism be curbed?
A polycentric system cannot be unified by definition. The centres of power, influence and development are culturally and ideologically self-sufficient. Creating a world order means developing mechanisms to take into account the interests of everyone and to work together for the development of all. This is the content of the BRICS. The organisation has entered a new stage of its development, and its expansion means a transition to the gradual creation of another world system – not against someone, but on qualitatively different principles.
14:30 – 16:00 Session 2. The Role of Nuclear Weapons and the Danger of Nuclear War
The topic of nuclear conflict has returned to the agenda amid a sharp escalation of international tensions. The possibility and legality of using nuclear weapons is a new theme entering the general debate. In fact, there is a confrontation between two major nuclear powers and an almost complete dismantling of the system of confidence-building measures in this field. How can we prevent uncontrolled escalation and create a new system of interaction?
16:30 – 18:00 Meeting with Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
19:30 – 21:00 Session 3. Food Security: What Russia Can and Is Ready to Give the World
The global supply situation for agricultural commodities is changing dramatically. The Ukrainian conflict became a catalyst for change, but structural shifts in global production and consumption have been taking place for objective reasons. The emergence of a new world order will mainly be determined by the ability to meet the basic needs of humanity. Russia is ready to play a key role in this process.
October 3, Tuesday
The acute military and political conflict has had a strong impact on functioning of the world economy, but also helped to accumulate rich experience of working in unfavourable conditions. New crises of various kinds are likely to arise. Establishing a balance of countries’ and peoples’ economic interests is as important for a sustainable world order as lasting peace and indivisible security. What are the main lessons of economic interaction in the conditions of restrictions, how likely is the shift away from monopolism in the monetary and financial sphere, what is the balance of integration and self-sufficiency in the economic development of states?
11:30 – 13:00 Meeting with Alexander Novak, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation
14:30 – 16:00 Session 5. The Russian Economy: Against All Odds or Thanks to the Shake-Up?
Russia was subjected to an unprecedented act of economic warfare designed to eliminate the country from the world economy. It failed to do so, and Russia is demonstrating its ability not only to withstand but also to develop. What are the challenges facing the Russian economy and to what extent will they be addressed in cooperation with external partners? What is Russia ready to offer them? Will the 2022-2023 shake-up be the catalyst for new development?
16:30 – 18:00 Meeting with Maxim Oreshkin, Aide to the President of the Russian Federation
19:30 – 21:00 Session 6. Energy Markets Amid Military and Political Tensions: How Will They Develop?
The year since the previous Valdai Club meeting has transformed energy markets. The Nord Stream sabotage has almost put an end to gas co-operation between Russia and the EU, which used to be major partners. The embargo on Russian oil led to a radical reorientation of energy flows and the emergence of the phenomenon of shadow trade. And introduction of the price cap became an unparalleled attempt of state interference in the functioning of the market mechanism. What does all this mean for the future of the global energy sector?
October 4, Wednesday
10:00 – 11:30 Session 7. Science and Education in the Age of Confrontation
The special military operation and the accompanying circumstances are shaping a new situation inside Russia. It concerns the sentiments and goal-setting of society, the priorities of the leadership, the relationship between the government and citizens. The Russian Federation will change and create a different model of socio-economic and political development. And this is associated not only with the deterioration of the military and political situation in the world, but also with qualitatively different challenges of the future.
Russia is a country of European culture, but this is not its only characteristic. The Russian cultural and social structure has absorbed important elements of various non-European cultures and traditions, resulting in a unique fusion. This is the basis for the development of a national identity, which is now described as a “distinctive state-civilization”.
14:30 – 16:00 Session 9. Russian Society in the Era of Transformation
Scientific and educational activity is obviously supranational; this sphere cannot evolve in isolation. However, strategic disagreements in the international arena, openly increasing today, jeopardize both international cooperation and the development of science and education in individual countries. The situation is acute, but not hopeless, which is testified by the Russian experience of adaptation.
16:30 – 18:00 Meeting with Alexei Overchuk, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation
19:30 – 21:00 Special session. The Post-Soviet Space: Lessons of the Past, Contours of the Future
The Ukrainian crisis has become a global event, but it is most closely observed in the former Soviet republics. For all the acuteness and drama of this particular conflict, it continues the logic of development of the entire region for a long time. The main task is to understand what can be done to prevent this from happening again.
October 5, Thursday
The story of the Valdai Club’s twenty meetings is a chronicle of an extremely interesting and turbulent time. Russia and the world have been changing dramatically and very rapidly. Twenty years ago, when the Valdai Club was founded, it was hard to imagine today’s events. Can we try to imagine the world twenty years from now? What will change for the better and what will change for the worse?