Russia’s Gaidar Forum has quickly established itself as one of the premier scientific and economic conferences on the global calendar, attracting business leaders, politicians and academics from around the world. With Russia’s own political and economic predicament attracting extra attention at the moment, this year’s Forum was even more compelling than usual.
With the Russian economy going through a particularly rocky patch, this year’s high-profile Gaidar Forum in Moscow took on extra significance. The Forum has quickly established itself as Russia’s central political and economic gathering and each year hosts Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, among many other leading global figures. But it aims to tackle global issues, not just ones of relevance to Russia, and CKGSB’s Founding Dean Xiang Bing was on hand this year to offer his unique perspective.
Reform is always an important topic at the Gaidar Forum, given that it was established in 2010 in tribute to the memory of Yegor Gaidar, a leading Russian economist and architect of many of Russia’s reforms in the early 1990s, and Dean Xiang’s first panel addressed the wide-reaching economic reforms that China is currently undertaking, as it aims to transform itself into a market economy by 2020.
Moderated by respected Russian journalist Aleksandr Gabuev, panelists including Stanislav Voskresenskii, Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, and Gordon Orr, Asia Chairman at McKinsey, discussed the main challenges to development in China, and the barriers to implementing liberal reforms in China, as well as the effects that this will have on the world in the dual cases that these reforms are successful or are not implemented as planned.
Later in the day, Dean Xiang attended a session entitled “Does Capitalism Have Any Future?”. Speaking alongside panelists including Yale University Professor Immanuel Wallerstein and Michel Wieviorka, Administrator of La Fondation de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme in Paris, Dr Xiang talked about how China had achieved success thanks to new liberalism combined with state capitalism. The group also addressed the limits of modern political economies, the specific mechanisms that support capitalism, the current sources of ideological blindness and the possible outcomes of capitalism’s crisis including neo-socialism, neo-fascism, fragmentation and involution.
Dean Xiang’s busy day also included a raft of media interviews, speaking to news network Russia 24 and respected publication Lenta.ru. Interviewed on the sidelines of the Gaidar Forum alongside economic luminaries including Nobel laureate Christopher Pissarides, Dean Xiang told RT that “Despite the [Russian] currency’s volatility representing a risk for investment, China will still invest”, adding, “If China’s economic future looks positive, then I see no reason not to consider positively the future of Russia. Our countries should cooperate, it is logical.”