President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Mr Fradkov. How is work going at your institute?
Director of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies Mikhail Fradkov: Mr President, thank you for your constant concern for our institute. I believe that this is a guarantee of improvements in the broad and positive sense of the word, because we have been trying to take a public place in the expert environment, both at home and among international experts. This is a far from simple job that requires special attention, because there are issues on our agenda of expert evaluation and in-depth research that call for especially thorough comprehension.
You have given us an opportunity to create the institute’s representative office, which is very important because it is a platform where we can attract experts and conduct comprehensive analysis. I believe that this is what we need now.
At the same time, you have instructed me to represent Russia in China’s Belt and Road Initiative. This is why we have added the subject of Greater Eurasia to the institute’s agenda, so that we can analyse all the problems and opportunities of this initiative in order to ensure primarily Russia’s interests. This project should be implemented jointly with the regions across which the Belt and Road route runs, so as to promptly identify and cut short the things that could hinder ensuring our interests.
Vladimir Putin: What are the priority subjects for the institute in your opinion?
Mikhail Fradkov: We traditionally deal with international topics, and so it is interesting for us to see what new trends appear in the competitive sphere, both in politics and in the economy. We must ensure the protection of our interests during our integration into the economic environment amid globalisation and digitalisation. In this sense, we are interested in both China and the United States. I believe that it is very important to take our place in relations with our post-Soviet neighbours as well.
The institute is working in 50 main areas. We have also taken on domestic political and economic matters, just as you instructed. We are working together with the regions on issues of territorial development, demography, population, poverty and social psychology.
We are now developing ties with the Federal Centre of Theoretical and Applied Sociology. It is a large institute with which we can work to turn additional information accumulated during polls into recommendations, as I see it. I believe that these topics could be of interest to the national leadership as well.
We not only write but also plan to discuss and talk. This is why we are developing ties with publishing houses. This was not a traditional part of the institute’s work in the past, but I believe that it is very important. You have issued instructions to this effect. These modern topics are very important now for young people as well, because time flies and we would like to keep up the pace without losing our traditions. You call attention to this, we believe it is extremely important. This calls for attracting the intellectual potential of experts. We would like the institute to become a public platform for discussing these and other subjects.