Valdai International Discussion Club

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Putin makes his Valdai Speech in Sochi, 24 October, 2014

The Valdai International Discussion Club is a meeting of international experts focused on Russia and its role in the world. Based on its work, the non-profit Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club was established in 2011 to conduct research and outreach work, and lead regional and general programs.

In 2014 the Foundation assumed all responsibility for the Club’s projects. The Foundation was established by the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy, the Russian International Affairs Council, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and the National Research University – Higher School of Economics.

The club’s main goals are:

  • to create an international venue where foreign experts could receive information about Russia and Russian society from reliable sources;
  • to demonstrate the diversity of social and political views on key issues in domestic and foreign policies;
  • to give international experts an opportunity to meet with top Russian leaders.

Permanent international members form the club’s backbone. Different foreign experts are invited every year. Russian members include political scientists, economists, journalists, public figures and policymakers with different views on events in Russia and abroad, and also representatives of executive and legislative power.


The Valdai Discussion Club was established in 2004. It was named after Lake Valdai, which is located close to Veliky Novgorod, where the club’s first meeting took place. The club’s goal is to promote dialogue between Russian and international intellectual elite, and to make an independent, unbiased scientific analysis of political, economic and social events in Russia and the rest of the world.

Over 800 representatives of the international scholarly community from almost 50 countries have taken part in the club’s work. They include professors of major world universities, including Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown, Stanford, Carleton University, the University of London, Cairo University, the University of Teheran, East China University, the University of Tokyo, Tel Aviv University, the University of Messina, Johns Hopkins University, the London School of Economics, King’s College London, Sciences Po and the Sorbonne.

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