From the Russia House to the Russian War Crimes House: Ukraine steps up its presence in Davos | International

Propaganda is one more weapon in war, in all wars. And the Ukraine is no exception. The Government of kyiv takes advantage of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF, in its acronym in English) to add followers to the cause, stir consciences and, without a doubt, pockets, the specialty of the Davos Forum. On this occasion with a wink, or provocation, depending on how you look at it, to the regulars of the meeting. In Promenade, the main street that crosses the elite ski resort and that during the WEF becomes a continuous showcase for countries, companies and sectors in search of investors, was where the Moscow Government usually opened Casa Russia, a converted café during the week of the WEF in a place where members of the Government could hold official meetings, hold an appointment with the press or offer a glass of vodka or champagne to visitors. In that same space, with the same typography, is raised in this edition, which begins this Monday, the so-called House of War Crimes of Russia.

The enclosure offers photographs provided by the Ukrainian Association of Professional Photographers of some victims of the attacks, people fleeing after a bombardment and other images with special meaning, such as that of a crucified Christ whose arm has been torn off by a missile, but which could hardly be be considered war crimes. There is also a screen that broadcasts images of the fighting that can be seen from the street and a map of Ukraine with a count of the civilians killed in the attacks in the main cities until May 9.

The exhibition is sponsored by the office of the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, and the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, an oligarch who organizes numerous pro-Ukrainian events at this Forum. Pinchuk, ranked 1,250th in Forbes One of the richest in the world, he has made a good part of his fortune (estimated at 1,244 million dollars, according to the publication) building the infrastructure of Russian gas and oil pipelines, in addition to producing iron ore and owning four television channels, among others. other investments. 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.
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 was held in virtual format last January, and who therefore had privileged treatment by the organizers, have been wiped off the map. Those sanctioned and those not 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. In fact, Zelensky will be in charge of delivering the opening speech of the Forum, which will be closed on Thursday by the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz. Russia’s War Crimes House is the only glimpse of Russia at Davos 2022.

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ski resort without snow

The invasion of Ukraine has returned geopolitics to the political and economic foreground, and this can be seen in the program for this Davos, the first in person in more than two years and which revolves around History at a turning point: public policies 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 debate over the next four days on “the most important challenges facing the world, including the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the shock geoeconomics and climate change”, reads the program. That includes the 50 heads of state and government who are going to pass through this remote Swiss town and more than 5,000 members of the Swiss security forces sent so that the meeting takes place without unwanted surprises by the organizers.

“The 2022 WEF is going to be the most timely and relevant annual meeting since the Forum’s creation 50 years ago,” Klaus Schwab assured these days. “The political, economic and social circumstances surrounding the meeting are undoubtedly unprecedented,” he concluded. The economic perspectives, at a decisive moment and full of risks, will occupy a good part of the conference.

On the Spanish side, President Pedro Sánchez, Vice President Teresa Ribera and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, and Industry, Reyes Maroto, lead the political part of a delegation that includes the presidents and CEOs of some of the big companies Spanish, such as Acciona, BBVA, Iberdrola, Ferrovial or Telefónica, among others.

Strolling down the Promenade, one can also get an idea of ​​who is looking to do business these days, the real reason why so many companies are willing to pay expensive registration fees to attend the WEF every year. The rental of spaces changes from one edition to another and where two years ago, for example, the industry around cannabis sought to attract investors, today cryptocurrencies and technology of the blockchain they are trying to restore some of the attractiveness they have lost on the stock market.

There are also regimes that seek to offer their friendliest face in these mountains, such as the Saudi Arabian Café, where “everyone is welcome”, or the Indonesian Pavilion, which promotes the presidency of the G-20 that the country holds this year. Asian. In terms of expansion, there is no one like India, which not only has representation 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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