Results of Davos: Restoration of Confidence or All Against All?

Boosting Vaccine Confidence | DAVOS AGENDA 2021

Western media noted the confrontational nature of Putin’s speech at the Davos Forum, Russian officialdom – her positive tone 

Western media noted the confrontational nature of Putin’s speech at the Davos Forum, Russian – positive tone and lack of specificity

The World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort town of Davos was founded exactly 50 years ago by the German economist Klaus Schwab. In the first 16 years of its existence, it was the European Management Forum, and the forum received its current name in 1987. A year earlier, a Soviet delegation appeared in Davos for the first time, and since then Soviet and later Russian delegations of various levels have constantly participated in the annual meetings of the Davos Forum..

The main event of the WEF is the annual meeting at the end of January, and this time it is held online due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In the originally announced program of the forum, the speech of the President of Russia was absent, but on Wednesday, January 27, for the first time in 12 years, Vladimir Putin addressed its participants. His speech became part of the so-called «Davos agenda» –a series of online sessions under the general motto «A Decisive Year for Restoring Confidence».

Leading up to his speech, WEF founder Klaus Schwab said: «we will listen with interest to your point of view, the point of view of Russia, a view of the current situation, the situation in the 21st century…. Mr. President, the world is waiting for your speech».

Referring to his telephone conversation with US President Joe Biden, in particular – on the agreement to extend the treaty on the limitation of strategic offensive arms, Putin did not fail to note: «Nevertheless, the contradictions are twisted, as they say, in a spiral. As you know, the inability and unwillingness to resolve such problems in essence in the twentieth century turned into a catastrophe of the Second World War.». And he added: «Surely so global now "hot" the conflict, I hope, is basically impossible. I really hope for it».

«Of course, there are no direct parallels in history, but some experts — and I respect their opinion – connect the current situation with the 30s of the last century…» – continued the Russian leader. «The situation can develop unpredictably and uncontrollably. If, of course, nothing is done to prevent this from happening. Moreover, there is a likelihood of encountering a real breakdown in world development, fraught with a struggle of all against all».

The Russian officialdom reported the next day that excerpts from Putin’s speech were cited in the headlines of the world’s leading media, although the TVC channel, for example, quoted in its own retelling only fragments of publications from the Chinese Xinhua news agency and the German weekly Spiegel. In fact, in the comments in the world media they drew attention to the almost apocalyptic nature of the rhetoric of the Russian leader, who compared the situation with one of the darkest periods of modern history..

Describing the economic situation in the world, Vladimir Putin stressed that «globalization has led to a significant increase in the profits of large multinationals, primarily American and European companies».

And further – without naming specific addressees, the Russian president expressed dissatisfaction with such actions as «use of trade barriers, illegitimate sanctions, restriction of financial, technological, information spheres». And he continued: «Such a game without rules critically increases the risks of unilateral use of military force.».

Without saying a word about the dominant theme in the world media of the poisoning of Alexei Navalny and his arrest upon returning home, against the background of mass protests in Russia itself, Vladimir Putin considered it necessary to attack the world with criticism. «digital giants», social networks through which regime critics receive information. «These are no longer just some kind of economic giants, in some areas they are already de facto competing with the state.», – he was indignant.

«We need to forget contradictions and fight challenges together»

Correspondent of the Russian Service «Voices of America» asked Russian experts what they most remembered in Vladimir Putin’s speech to the participants of the 51st World Economic Forum.

Plenipotentiary representative of the St. Petersburg University of Management and Economics Technologies, member of the Committee for Civil Initiatives Sergey Tsyplyaev noted with sarcasm that the main message of this speech can be considered a phrase from cartoons about the cat Leopold: «let’s live in peace!».

«There is a crisis now, so we need to unite and solve all problems together», – the interlocutor explains the message of Putin «Voices of America».

And he continues: «The view on global economic problems was not the one to which many are accustomed. All these “we will show you Kuzkin’s mother” and other elements “Munich speech” go away. There was a proposal to put all the talk about geopolitics aside and focus on the economy, where real problems are concentrated.».

Sergey Tsyplyaev also noted the clear desire of the Russian president to speak to a large international audience. – after all, such a tribune was not provided to him for a long time, both because of the exclusion from the G-8, and because of the restrictive measures associated with the pandemic.

It is obvious that Putin clearly wants to share with the whole world his own 20-year experience of ruling Russia and express everything he thinks about the current international situation. «And in this part, in his assessments and in the analysis of the state of affairs, the left paradigm is visible: look, freedom generates inequality – both within countries and between countries. Let us work together to reduce this inequality, because it can lead to a social explosion in the end..

And another thought from the clearly left spectrum – that liberalism is failing to meet these challenges. Therefore, the role of the state, central banks and state budgets will increase. I.e – give state regulation!», – the expert sneers.

And summarizes: «I think that many countries are unlikely to agree with this, since such conclusions are far from obvious.

And one more position in this speech surprised me a little, and I would like to see well-founded calculations. I mean the moment when it is said about the level of poverty and it turns out that America is rapidly falling into poverty, China is emerging from poverty at an average rate, but Russia is emerging from it the fastest. That is, everything in our country is remarkable in terms of the speed of economic development, and America, against our background, is simply a rotting country. And this arouses criticism, but in general, the message of this speech boils down to the fact that it is necessary to forget the contradictions and together to fight the challenges» – thinks Sergey Tsyplyaev .

«Chop the ropes –In the meantime, there is no need to worry about it. ”this is the worst thing that could be»

Political scientist Alexander Kynev highlighted the economic context of the speech:

«As I understand it, there is an attempt to integrate Russia (into the global economic processes – A.P.). Because, in my personal opinion, sanctions do more harm than good. Anyway – sanctions against the country and specific industries, because they only lead to increased isolation, and isolation – this evil».

Results of Davos: Restoration of Confidence or All Against All?

According to Kynev, this leads to the effect «besieged fortress», which only strengthens the regime. «Look at Cuba, which has been living under sanctions since 1960, so what? Did they have any effect? No, on the contrary, they led to consolidation around the Castro regime and served all these years as an excuse for the regime to tighten the screws.», – the interlocutor of the Russian service is convinced «Voices of America».

In his opinion, personal sanctions against officials and businessmen «useful and justified», but sectoral sanctions and obstacles for ordinary citizens when traveling abroad are harmful. «I believe that facilitating communication, facilitating the integration of people and society will lead to its evolution and to the fact that people will change their needs in relation to power itself. And this – the only way of development, because otherwise there will be conservation and a path to nowhere», – believes Kynev.

And sums it up: «I don’t know who invited Putin (to speak at the EEF), but I think that the very fact of this invitation – rather a plus than a minus. Cause chopping ropes is the worst thing that could be».

«It’s hard to make out where politics ends and economics begins»

By the way, the topic of the allegedly negative influence of IT giants, touched upon in Vladimir Putin’s speech, was immediately developed in the form of a demarche by the Russian Foreign Ministry. The note, which the Foreign Office handed the next day to the American Embassy in Moscow, expresses dissatisfaction with the proliferation of «false fakes about Russia by American digital platforms». In this connection, users of a number of popular social networks in their comments to this information sarcastically: they say, if the Americans were spreading about Russia «reliable fakes», it would be a completely different matter.

Commenting on this development of events for the Russian service «Voices of America», Tatyana Romanova, Associate Professor of the Department of European Studies, St. Petersburg State University, recalled that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently distinguished himself with several very harsh statements about «our western partners».

«It seemed to me that the current Davos speech (Putin’s) is not very different in tone from his speech at a meeting of the Valdai Club last fall. In general, an attempt at a constructive agenda is brought to the fore, that is, – cooperation, despite all the differences. Moreover, these disagreements are practically not described, but we are talking about common challenges and the fact that the situation is developing quite critical. Therefore, it is worth considering how to act together.», – described the speech of the Russian President Tatyana Romanova.

It is generally accepted that the Davos Forum deals with the problems of the global economy, but not geopolitics. Tatyana Romanova does not quite agree with this: «It is rather difficult to discern where politics ends and economics begins. And even sanctions are often referred to by our leadership as measures of competitive containment in economic terms, but not in political terms..

For the West, the political and legal component is at the forefront and is the basis for cooperation. While Russia focuses on the socio-economic sphere».

As reported «Voice of America», in his first briefing since his appointment as head of the US Foreign Office, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken expressed «deep concern» on the treatment of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and the broader human rights situation in Russia.


Results of Davos: Restoration of Confidence or All Against All?

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