From the 24th to the 27th of October 2016 in Krasnaya Polyana near Sochi the annual meeting of the International Discussion Club "Valdai" took place. This year the famous event, which brings together leading experts and policy makers from all around the world, focused on the topic "The future in progress: shaping the future of tommorrow". The forum was also attended by the Director of the Center for Eurasian Studies (CES) Yuri Kofner.
In addition to speeches given by Vladmir Putin, Sergey Lavrov and Igor Shuvalov, of particular interest was the special session "Europe – our failed future?", which focused on the question if Europe will be able to act as an independent world center and the western extremity of a “Greater Eurasia,” or if it will remain the junior "partner" of the American transatlantic order.
During the course of three days Mr. Kofner talked with American and European politicians, experts and journalists about the activities of the Center for Eurasian Studies, the idea of a common space from Lisbon to Vladivostok based on mutual respect, economic ration and common values.
In an interview given to Mr. Kofner, Heinz Fischer, Federal President of Austria (2004 - 2016), expressed his view that the European sanctions were harming the Austrian economy. He hopes that the sanctions will be gradually lifted in the near future. Mr Fischer also shared the opinion of the German Foreign Minister, that NATO was saber-rattling at the Russian borders.
Richard Weitz, Director, Center for Political-Military Analysis, Hudson Institute, USA.
Reinhard Krumm, Head of the Central and Eastern Europa Department, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Germany (giving an interview to RT Deutsch).
Ivan Rodioniov, Editor-in-Chief at RT Deutsch, Germany.
Robert Legvold, Marshall D. Shulman Professor Emeritus, Columbia University, USA.
Hans-Friedrich von Ploetz, Foreign Secretary (1994 – 1995), Ambassador to NATO (1989 – 1993), to London (1999 – 2002) and to Moscow (2002 – 2005), Germany.
James Sherr, associate fellow at Chatham House, Great Britain.