Propaganda is another weapon in war, in all wars. And Ukraine is no exception. The Kyiv government is using the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF, acronym in English) to rally supporters to the cause, shake up conscience and no doubt line the pockets, the specialty of the Davos forum. This time with a wink or provocation, depending on how you look at it, to the regulars of the meeting. On the Promenade, the main street that crosses the elite ski resort and which becomes a permanent showcase for countries, companies and sectors looking for investors during the WEF, the Moscow government opened Casa Russia during the week of the year, usually a converted Cafe WEF in a place where government officials could hold official meetings, arrange an appointment with the press or offer visitors a glass of vodka or champagne. In the same room, with the same typography, the so-called House of War Crimes of Russia will be placed in this issue, which begins this Monday.
The enclosure features photos, provided by the Ukrainian Association of Professional Photographers, of some of the victims of the attacks, people fleeing a bombing raid, and other images of particular importance, such as that of a crucified Christ whose arm was ripped off by a rocket, but which is hardly considered a war crime be considered. There is also a screen broadcasting images of the fighting seen from the street and a map of Ukraine with a count of civilians killed in the attacks in key cities up to May 9.
The exhibition is sponsored by the Office of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, an oligarch who organizes numerous pro-Ukrainian events in this forum. Pinchuk, who is ranked 1,250 among the world’s richest by Forbes, has made a good chunk of his wealth (estimated at $1,244 million, according to the publication) in addition to building the infrastructure of Russia’s gas and oil pipelines, iron ore producing, and investing four, among other things own TV channels. Also on the promenade, a few meters further, next to what is usually the Davos Casino when the WEF participants leave, the Ukrainian government and again the Pinchuk Foundation have built the House of Ukraine.
The Russian War Crimes House in Davos. Markus Schreiber (AP)
The great Russian tycoons, strategic partners of the WEF until the last edition of the Davos Forum, which took place in virtual format last January, and who therefore received privileged treatment from the organizers, have been erased from the map. The sanctioned and the non-sanctioned. Despite the close ties that the WEF and its founder Klaus Schwab had until recently with the Russian government, including a delegation in that country, the organizers wanted to avoid any equidistance and make their position in favor of Ukraine clear. Zelenskyy will even hold the opening speech of the forum, which will be closed by Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday. Russia’s War Crimes House is the only look at Russia at Davos 2022.
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Ski resort without snow
The invasion of Ukraine has brought geopolitics back to the political and economic front, and this is perceived in the program of this Davos, the first personal one in more than two years, centered around history at a turning point: public politics and business strategies. The more than 2,500 participants, who gather at this ski resort for the first time in many years without snow, will discuss “the world’s most important challenges, including the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, geoeconomic shocks” over the next four days and climate change,” says the program. This includes the 50 heads of state and government who will pass through this remote Swiss city and more than 5,000 members of the Swiss security forces who have been dispatched to ensure the meeting takes place without any unwanted surprises from the organisers.
“The WEF 2022 will be the most up-to-date and relevant annual meeting since the forum was founded 50 years ago,” assured Klaus Schwab these days. “The political, economic and social circumstances surrounding the meeting are undoubtedly unprecedented,” he concluded. Economic prospects at a crucial moment and fraught with risk will occupy a large part of the conference.
On the Spanish side, President Pedro Sánchez, Vice-President Teresa Ribera and Ministers for Foreign Affairs José Manuel Albares and Minister for Industry Reyes Maroto are leading the political part of a delegation made up of the Presidents and CEOs of some large Spanish companies such as Acciona, BBVA, Iberdrola, Ferrovial or, among others Telefonica.
Strolling the promenade is also a great way to get an idea of who wants to do business these days, the real reason why so many companies are willing to pay expensive registration fees to attend the WEF each year. The rental of space changes from one edition to another and where two years ago the cannabis industry, for example, wanted to attract investors, today cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are trying to regain some of their lost attractiveness on the stock market.
There are also regimes trying to show their friendliest side in these mountains, like the Saudi Arabian café that says “everyone is welcome” or the Indonesian pavilion promoting the G-20 presidency, the holds the country this year. Asian. In terms of expansion, there is no one like India, which is represented not only from the country but also from important states such as Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadú or Maharastra. And all that space costs a lot of money.
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