The Valdai International Discussion Club was set up in September 2004, on the initiative of Russian News & Information Agency RIA Novosti, the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy, The Moscow Times, Russia in Global Affairs and Russia Profile.
The club's first discussion entitled “Russia at the Turn of the Century: Hopes and Reality” was held in Veliky Novgorod in September 2004, and earned positive assessments from the expert and journalist communities. The event was given special significance by its participants' meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin who received the foreign guests at his residence in Novo-Ogarevo, Moscow Region, after the conference.
The second meeting was held outside of traditional conference rooms, instead taking place on board the comfortable ship Alexander Radishchev, which traveled from Moscow to Tver and back. The choice of the topic “Russia as a Political Kaleidoscope” was not accidental. The discussion was devoted to the diversity of the country's political, social and economic landscapes. Debates centered on important issues related to Russia's democratic development and state order, the main aspects of its international cooperation and its outlook in the global political system. In Tver, Regional Governor Dmitry Zelenin told the club's members about the region's development, and in Moscow they were again received by President Putin.
The forthcoming third meeting, “Global Energy in the 21st Century: Russia's Role and Position,” will take up the same topic (energy security) that was discussed at the G8 summit in St. Petersburg. This time the conference will be held in Moscow and Khanty-Mansiysk. Global energy is a major driving force behind social and economic progress. The strategic objective set by Russia is to establish a reliable energy-security system in line with the development goals of the entire international community and not just a small group of states. Discussions will be attended by experts, representatives of the Russian government and executives of major energy companies.
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