The plenary session was opened by welcome speeches of Irina Novikova, Dean of SPbU Faculty of International Relations, and Michel Failletaz, Swiss Consul General. Maintenance of security in Russia, Europe and Eurasia as well as new challenges and threats were the key topics of the plenary session and the symposium in general. As Mr Failletaz noted, today we must maintain a world order based on the rules accepted by everyone. The Consul General set Switzerland as an example thereof: "When religious strives were taking place in Switzerland, one canton was divided into two parts, the Catholic one and the Protestant one, to reach agreement.
Gabriel Galice, Chairman of the Geneva International Peace Research Institute paid attention to regional and global issues in the field of international security: "There is no doubt that Russia and Europe need each other. Yet, we must remember that different states have different national interests. Their interaction does not imply abandoning their own interests. Besides, we should not place on the same shelf peace and non-war. The non-war mode is security, while maintaining peace is a more complex process." SPbU professor Aleksandr Sergunin told the audience what instruments Russia must use keeping in mind its national interests to thoroughly react to international processes and stand against internal and external threats. "Russian foreign policy is focused on the concept of soft power. Yet, the Ukrainian crisis and the war in Syria show us that Russia should skillfully combine soft power and hard power in order to implement "smart power" as a result."
Multilateral institution can make a substantial contribution to peace maintenance along with particular states or regions. Aleksandr Kuteynikov, an associate professor at SPbU, highlighted their role in his address, while Viktoria Panova, senior councellor at the National Committee for BRICS Research, noted that, in spite of the fact that each country has its own alliance of interests, they try, by cooperating with each other, to accumulate potential for adjusting the rules underlying the existing world order. "When BRICS economy started growing 10–15 years ago, the trade in the BRICS countries has increased 1000-fold and the BRICS trade with other countries of the world has increased 300-fold. Various forums for public, parliamentary, scientific and educational communication have appeared. Yet, they do not oppose themselves to anyone because the USA and the European Union still remain economic leaders," the expert noted.
The participants also discussed information war waging, national idea formation in Russia as well as the Russian identity issues.
Information: The Geneva International Peace Research Institute is a leading Swiss organisation for international relations research. It was created in 1980. During 2016, within the "What Peace, for what World Order?" (Quelle paix pour quel ordre du monde?) project, the institute employees in collaboration with international relations scholars from different countries will conduct a research devoted to concepts of peace and security maintenance in different states as well as to new world order formation. The symposium has become one of the first events within the framework of the said project.