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20th Annual Valdai Discussion Club Meeting in Sochi, Stresses ‘Formation of a New World’

Oct. 3, 2023, (EIRNS)—The 20th Annual Valdai Discussion Club meeting is taking place from Oct. 2-5 in Sochi, Russia, hosting many prominent speakers on the topic “Fair Multipolarity: How To Ensure Security and Development for Everyone.” President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to speak later in the week.

The event kicked off with an introduction by the chairman and directors of the Valdai Club. According to summaries given on the Valdai website, Chairman Andrey Bystritskiy “emphasized that the formation of a new world, which is happening before our eyes, does not entail the complete disappearance of the old one: the future is rising from its elements.” During this introductory panel they presented their annual report, which essayed “to understand what principles and rules govern this process, in the context of the destruction of cumbersome hierarchies.”

British historian Prof. Richard Sakwa moderated the panel and spoke next. He mentioned the vast geopolitical changes taking place in the world and referenced the BRICS and new power centers developing. “This process is causing strong resistance in the West, as it undermines its dominance,” he said.

Timofei Bordachev, Valdai Club program director, said that countries around the world are looking towards their development goals and “quickly adapting to changing conditions.” He also spoke about how “the very concept of multipolarity needs to be rethought. The point is not only that multipolarity in itself is not an unconditional blessing, since it means less stability for the international system and the emergence of multiple risks.” Bordachev emphasized that the very concept of a pole must be used with caution, since it presupposes the hegemony of some over others. Russia rejects the idea of hegemony, so it is necessary to develop new terminology.

Andrey Sushentsov, another Valdai Club program director, then spoke. He discussed how, over the recent decades, it has become clear that there is “a fundamental difference” between the West and Russia in their views of the world. It is due to the fact that the West (especially the United States) “does not recognize the fragility of peace” and believes in forcing its liberal worldview on others. The Russian vision, on the contrary, is based on the understanding that peace is an anomaly, and it is necessary to be very careful not to upset the fragile balance that ensures amity between nations.

Sushentsov then referenced the Russian-Chinese declaration of 1997, which proclaimed such principles of bilateral relations as mutual respect for sovereignty, cultural characteristics, and civilizational identity. This is how Russia wants to build relationships with other countries around the world, he said.

The authors of the report also emphasized that these principles will not occur at the same speed or in the same way to everyone, and proposed the term “asynchronous multipolarity.”

The sessions on this first day addressed the following topics:

1. A World Beyond Hegemony: BRICS as a Prototype of a New International Architecture

2. The Role of Nuclear Weapons and the Danger of Nuclear War

Meeting with Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

3. Food Security: What Russia Can and Is Ready To Give the World

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