The Primakov Readings 2023.
Speeches of the forum’s second day

Special session attended by Alexey Likhachev, Director General of the Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation
I will dare to say that the global nuclear family has not yet split. We are maintaining many international projects, and I hope the IAEA will be able to keep the situation under control.

We have two historical missions: nuclear shield and atomic energy

  • "We have 100% fulfillment of the state defense order both in our main nuclear department and in non-nuclear weapons, and the need for the latter has been increasing in recent years."
  • "We are doomed to develop technological sovereignty projects in Russia and to work with our key partners in these areas. However, only people can ensure the development of these projects, so human resources are our number one priority."
  • Answering the question about Western pressure on Rosatom,

    "All projects, save for the Finnish one, are being implemented. The Finnish Prime Minister decided to close the project at that time. Only God can judge her. I mean not God, but a judge, as a judge is meant to make judgements. All documents have been submitted."
Session 5. Russia-Africa: From Program Guidelines to Cooperation Practices
In 2023, the second Russia-Africa summit was held, which discussed issues of political, economic and social cooperation between Russia and Africa in the era of the formation of a new world order. Both Russia and Africa have an understanding what is needed to truly liberate themselves from colonial dependence and defend their own sovereignty, as well as to ensure security. What areas of cooperation between Russia and Africa will ensure accelerated growth of our economies? What mechanisms and tools of our cooperation should be developed first? Can we jointly resist illegitimate sanctions and other forms of pressure put by the collective West?

Russia attaches special importance to building a long-term strategic partnership with Africa, which is gaining the status of one of the world’s significant centers of power.

The principled positions of Russia and Africa on most issues on the international agenda, urgent problems of our time, global challenges and threats are close or coincide.

Russia is willing to cooperate with African countries not only on traditional tracks, but also on innovative ones, such as peaceful nuclear energy and space exploration. Social cooperation is increasing between our countries, as well as mutual enrichment of cultures within the framework of the dialogue of civilizations.

Mikhail Bogdanov
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
Session 6. Central Asia, South Caucasus and Russia in Search of New Development Models
In recent years, the confrontation on security issues between Russia and Western countries has moved into a phase of direct military and political confrontation in Ukraine. Opposition to Russia’s special military operation has become an idée fixe of the policy of the United States and a number of Western countries. At the same time, the resulting large-scale crisis turned out to be an important component of the process of transformation of world politics and the formation of a polycentric world order. This process is likely to take quite a long period of time. In the meantime, the world is becoming, as it has been for centuries of human history, more "anarchic" and less predictable. Different countries are adapting to changing circumstances in their own way and are in search of effective development models.

Eduard Solovyev
Head of the Center for Post-Soviet Studies at Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO)
The emergence of two conflict cycles is a reality that is structural in nature for the foreseeable medium term. It will have to be reckoned with, and this will be the basis for analyzing the situation in post-Soviet Eurasia.

If we talk about the weakpoints of post-Soviet Eurasia, these are conflicts and institutions. Conflicts in the context of great geopolitical confrontation become entry points for extraregional powers, while political institutions necessitate the creation of stable and efficient states in the post-Soviet space.

International institutions in the post-Soviet space, which are the EAEU and CIS, are of great potential, and interstate cooperation in the field of security and development of economic relations is achieved thanks to the SCO, which plays an extremely important role these days.
Session 7. The Baltics: Dangerous Waters?
For centuries, the Baltics has been a space of economic, cultural, and political interaction between countries and peoples. The shores and waters of the Baltic Sea have been a zone of power confrontation many times. Battles and wars eventually ended, and competition developed simultaneously with cooperation and mutual influence. Today, in an increasingly interdependent world, there are risks of the Greater Baltic Sea Region turning into a region of Europe, where military and political tensions are growing fastest, and interstate and cross-border cooperation is in decline amid mutual fears. Meanwhile, everyone in the Baltic Sea Region faces common challenges.

The EU’s enlargement resulted in erecting new walls and moving of old ones eastward, rather than the destruction of borders.

In the eyes of our neighbors, the ideal of regional security implies borders wrapped in barbed wire, anti-tank ditches, and a training ground for military maneuvers. Their dream is to turn the Baltics into a NATO sea, as some NATO functionaries overtly say.

The Baltic Region is turning from a transportation crossroads into a transportation dead end. This is happening in the context of emerging multipolarity, when the North-South and West-East corridors acquire strategic importance.

The water in the Baltic Sea calmed down when the last molecule of gas left the blown-up Nord Stream pipeline. This has therefore put a period to the plans to turn the Baltic region into a zone of peace and cooperation. It is to be hoped that it was an ellipsis.

Alexander Grushko
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

Tarja Kronberg
Research Fellow at Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), former Member of the Parliament of Finland (2003−2007), former Member of the European Parliament (2011−2014).
Unlike the current situation, in 2014, when the crisis hit, the first anti-Russian sanctions did not affect cross-border activity and movement of people.

The trend toward a "hard security" policy is gaining popularity in the region. We need to be mindful of the worst-case scenario and engage in dialog to avoid it.

Finland and Norway have a commitment not to deploy nuclear weapons on their territory. This is what other countries, including European countries, should be pursuing: a refusal to deploy nuclear weapons.
Session 8. Rise of the Global South
Not so long ago, discussions about the "rise of the Global South" were nothing more than a tribute to intellectual fashion. However in recent years, radical changes have taken place: today, two of the world’s five largest economies belong to the Global South, and the collocation itself is increasingly being heard on global platforms. Developing countries are asserting their subjectivity, trying to break the hierarchy that has been developed over the centuries, demanding that former mother countries repent for centuries of colonial oppression and renounce neo-colonialism. How far will this process of subjectivity go? Will the Global South be able to speak with one voice to defend its interests?

Primakov’s greatness is that he understood how Russia could develop relations with the East and the South at the same time.

The Global South sees the negative consequences of countries that have adjusted to the interests of more powerful actors. They have become tools to promote the interests of others.

BRICS should continue to be associated with dialog, bringing peace and removing barriers.

Venkatesh Varma
Ambassador of India to Russia (2018−2021)