Stability the watchword at experts forum

RIA Novosti / Vitaliy Belousov
Members of the Valdai Discussion Club say they expect little change in Russia’s political life after the upcoming parliamentary and presidential polls.

The experts also predicted that the Russian economy would not be seriously affected by the second stage of the world economic crisis.

The Valdai Discussion Club gathered for its eighth session this week in the central Russian town of Kaluga. The club unites over 100 political scientists, journalists, writers and lawyers from Russia and overseas.

All participants at the forum were united in their opinion that the current political system in Russia will remain unchanged after the parliamentary elections in December and the presidential elections in March. The experts said that only the older and better-known parties would get parliamentary seats and Vladimir Putin’s probable return to the presidential post will bring few surprises.

All members of the forum agreed that the majority of Russian citizens still supported the government’s political program, but at the same time, sociologists and political scientists warned of growing dissatisfaction with its actions, especially in large cities. Sociologists warned that this dissatisfaction could lead to voter turnout at the elections being lower than in previous years.

Besides, the participants in the Valdai Forum announced the start of their own program of grants that will be allocated to Russian and foreign researchers who would help to develop an optimum strategy for Russia’s development. The group awards a total of 10 grants of 600,000 roubles each (just under $20,000) and applicants must have a postgraduate degree and at least one published work in the field where they make their application.