March 24, 2018

Discussion Day
The final day of Meeting Russia 2018 began with a panel of participants and specialists in Russian Foreign Policy. This included Eleonora Taturo Ambrosetti, a Research Fellow at an Italian think tank called Instituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale, Erik Henningsmoen, an International Projects advisor at the University of Calgary, Sergey Utkin, Head of Strategic Assessment Section at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations and the Head of Foreign Policy and Security at the Center for Strategic Research, and Maxim Suchkov, Russian Editor at AI Monitor and Nonresidential Expert at Valdai Club & RIAC.

This event focused on the topics of Russian foreign policy and the thought process that goes behind its development. Participants and specialists commented on how Russian foreign policy is often misinterpreted outside of Russia. Some of them mentioned that this is partly due to the fact that Russians assess conflicts through a different set of beliefs shaped by their culture, history and the many periods of instability that Russia faced.

The second part of this discussion focused on the challenge of getting the attention of decision makers and persuading them when they do not have that much time to read research done by think tanks. In addition, the different roles that think tanks play in influencing foreign policy in Europe and Russia was also covered.

The next discussion on Russia's Foreign policy in Asia was led by Bethany Allen, a journalist for Foreign Policy, Alexander Gabuev, Chair of the Russia in the Asia-Pacific Program at the Carnegie Moscow Center, Vassily Kashin, Senior Fellow at the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Hidetoshi Azuma an APCO Institute Fellow.

The panel analyzed the political and economic trends that have been taking place in the region. Such as the close relationship that China has with Russia over shared security interests. In terms of the economic trends, the members of the panel talked about the implications of free trade deals, the One Belt One Road Initiative, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Shinzo Abe's 8-point economic cooperation plan. Furthermore, panelists discussed the possible benefits and downsides from the pivot to the East, and why it took so long.

The program was wrapped up by a panel of journalists from RT, The Guardian, Kommersant, and Tsargrad. During the discussion, panelists delved into the current political situation between Russia and the West, whether it's possible to mitigate fake news and how being a journalist in Russia has become stigmatized. They touched upon how working for Russian funded news networks unfortunately comes with the label of being a "Russian journalist". This label has become synonymous abroad and among political institutions as being biased, not trustworthy, or even propaganda. This then led to the question of whether or not all news networks have an agenda behind the news that they provide.

More about Meeting Russia.