On the first day of the Gaidar Forum – 2021, several expert discussions with participation of the Gaidar Institute’s employees were held.
The Gaidar Forum’s official website: https://gaidarforum.ru/

The moderator of the morning session “Does Russia Need Digital Ruble” was Sergei Drobyshevsky, Scientific Director of the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy (IEP). The panelists included: Anatoly Aksakov, Chairman of the Financial Market Committee of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly and Alexei Malinovsky, Head of the Mastercard in Russia.


In October 2020, the RF Central Bank released a report – “Digital Ruble” –which outlined various scenarios of issuing of the digital ruble, its role and place in the modern monetary system, as well as the risks and challenges which should be taken into account when introducing it. The main findings of the debates on the report, as well as considerations “for” and “against” the digital ruble issuing were presented within the framework of the discussion.

The panelists discussed the following issues: the prospective role of the digital ruble in Russia’s money supply; possible changes in the RF Central Bank’s monetary policy; the benefit of the digital ruble issue to people, business and the society as a whole; protection of consumers’ rights in utilization of the digital ruble; the change in the role of traditional financial intermediaries when the digital ruble is introduced.

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Together with Emmanuel Tric, First Vice President of the University of Cote d’-Azur, Sergei Sinelnikov-Murylev, Academic Director of the Gaidar Institute, Rector of the Russian Foreign Trade Academy of the RF Ministry of Economic Development held an expert discussion – “Universities after the Pandemic” which was sponsored by the French-Russian University.

The panelists included: Vladimir Vasilyev, Rector of the ITMO University; Tatyana Klyachko, Director of the Center for Economics of Continuous Education, RANEPA, Abdo Malac, French Embassy Councelor for Science and Technology in the Russian Federation; Delphine Manceau, Dean of NEOMA Business School; Vladimir Mau, Rector of the RANEPA; Karine Samuel, Vice President for International Relations and Outreach, University of Grenoble Alpes; Mikhail Strikhanov, Rector of the National Research Nuclear University, NEPi; Patrice Houdayer, Vice Dean of SKEMA Business School; Vladimir Filippov, President of the RUDN University.

The discussion focused on the following issues: virtual cooperation between universities: a forced necessity or a new development trajectory; online education challenges and quality transformation of university environment; modification of cooperation space; fundamental and applied education, classical education’s nature and scope in future.

Sergei Sinelnikov-Murylev was the moderator of the expert discussion: “EEU 2.0: Switchover to a New Quality of Integration”.


The Eurasian Economic Union is the region’s major integration project along with China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. The EEU’s development is slowed down by some external and domestic factors. Within the EEU, there are still derogations, restrictions and barriers which prevent a free movement of goods. The single market of services is just taking shape. Joint projects within the EEU are rare. Finally, the question arises regarding the supranational status of the Eurasian Economic Commission. The relations between the EEU member-states and the “outside” world are built on the bilateral basis. This challenge can be dealt with through the idea of “the Greater Eurasian Partnership” being promoted and defined.

The panelists have given answers to the following questions: what are the benefits of Eurasian integration to the business and economy; what priorities does the EEU have to deal with to speed up its economic growth and increase its share in the global economy; to what extent can joint Eurasian projects be a driver of integration promotion in the EEU’s territory and in what sectors should they be developed; to what extent is the EEU’s common trade policy in its present form consistent with the objectives of promotion of the Eurasian integration, as well as the interests of its member-states; the linking of the EEU’s objectives with China’s Belt and Road Initiative: in what way can this task be implemented to the greatest benefit of the EEU member-states; in what way should the idea of the Greater Eurasian Partnership be defined.

The panelists were Mikhail Myasnikovich, Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission and Alexei Overchuk, Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation.

Pavel Trunin, Head of the Center for Macroeconomics and Finance, Gaidar Institute and Director of the Center for Central Bank Issues, RANEPA took part in the afternoon expert discussion “The Future of Digital Currencies: Government or Private?”. His partner in the discussion was Stefan Ingves, Chairman of the Riksbank (the Bank of Sweden)


The panelists noted that the number of central banks’ digital currency projects (CBDC) was growing from month to month. At the same time, central banks which had already tested such currencies (Uruguay, Ecuador and the Eastern Caribbean Bank) either gave up such projects so far or adopted a highly prudent approach. Sweden and China are the world’s two largest economies which have come close to the implementation of CBDC. Stefan Ingves shared his views on the role of central banks’ digital currencies as well as cryptocurrencies in future and elaborated on why Sweden became a pioneer in development of CBDC and why the digital krona project was proceeding so discreetly.


In the same evening, Pavel Trunin acted as the moderator of the expert discussion “How Is the World Coping with the 2020 Crisis?” in which Adam Tooze, Professor of History at Columbia University and Barry Eichengreen, Professor of Economics and Political Science, the University of California, Berkeley, took part.

The panelists touched upon the following issues: the efficiency of various anti-crisis solution taken to deal with the consequences of the pandemic; the pandemic’s impact on the global economy: a comparative analysis of anti-crisis policy and recovery pace; the pandemic’s long-term impact on the global economic structure; the impact of the pandemic on development of populism in the world; unprecedented monetary and fiscal policy easing: implications and crisis-exit strategy; the pandemic and inequality; the global economy’s post-crisis recovery pace.