The Valdai Discussion Club kicked off with a report blaming the West for the war. Israeli media report a strike hit an Iranian drone factory after Shahed-136 drones appeared in Kyiv. Follow DW for the latest.

The Valdai Discussion Club got underway in Moscow with the release of a report entitled, “A World Without Superpowers,” that lays out Russia’s logic and understanding of its war against Ukraine.

Valdai is a 19-year-old event affiliated with the Kremlin that hosts Russia-focused experts who come to hobnob with Russia’s political elite, including President Vladimir Putin whose address to the forum typically headlines the event.

In the report, the authors, all affiliated with prestigious foreign affairs institutions in Russia including MGIMO University and the Russian International Affairs Council, declare that after the Soviet Union fell, Russia’s “relations with the West have been based on the belief that Russia’s interest in participating in a Western-centric international system is much more important than Moscow’s interests in ensuring its own security.”

The report continues, “Everyone got used to this circumstance and began to take it for granted, especially in the West. Hence, the almost revolutionary nature of the events that unfolded in 2022, when Russia became the first major power which, guided by its own ideas of security and fairness, chose to discard the benefits of ‘global peace’ created by the only superpower (the United States).”

The authors continue, “Those benefits were seen by the Kremlin as much too risky, since political and economic integration into the system of collective interdependence imposes excessive restrictions on any particular state’s freedom of action.”

The report points a finger at Western sanctions against Russia, notably the freezing of gold and foreign currency reserves, as triggering the end of “the global nature of the global economy and the security of countries’ financial assets placed with international markets.” The Valdai authors note a more than threefold increase in the sanctions placed on Russia following its February invasion of Ukraine.

In assessing that invasion, the report declares it “still premature to assess the results of Russia’s special military operatiom,” Moscow’s official term for its unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine.

The Valdai report suggests a weakened West overtaken by such things as the financial crisis, hegemonic interests, and “cancel culture” is to blame for Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine and the actions of its forces. The report singles out Germany and France as “post-heroic” societies likely to throw up the most resistance to what it describes as US plans for global domination.

“Any incident can ignite a crisis that threatens the vital interests of European countries,” the report says.