Ukraine heads to Davos for first spring gathering of business leaders

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Russia would normally have its own “home” at the World Economic Forum as a showcase for business leaders and investors.

This year, Davos’ dressed-up Main Street space has been transformed by Ukrainian artists into a “Russian War Crimes House”, depicting images of misery and devastation. Russia has denied allegations of war crimes in the conflict.

Ukraine tops the agenda at the four-day meeting of global business leaders, which kicks off in earnest on Monday with a video address by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. As the WEF meeting emerges from a coronavirus pandemic hiatus of more than two years, a postponement from January to May means attendees are surrounded by spring flowers and verdant slopes rather than navigating icy streets.

But not only is the weather different in 2022, with Russian politicians, executives and academics totally absent. Russian institutions such as its sovereign wealth fund, state banks and private companies have hosted some of the most lavish parties in previous years, serving black caviar, vintage champagne and foie gras.

They’ve even hired Russia’s hottest musicians and pop stars to perform for top business leaders. MARKET COLLAPSE

Along with the Ukraine crisis, post-pandemic recovery, tackling climate change, the future of work, accelerating stakeholder capitalism and harnessing new technologies are among the topics of discussion scheduled for Davos. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg are among the leaders due to address the meeting.

On the business agenda, discussions are expected to focus on the deteriorating state of financial markets and the global economy. After a sharp rebound from the recession triggered two years ago by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, there are now myriad threats to that recovery, leading the International Monetary Fund to revise its growth forecasts downward. world for the second time since the beginning of the year.

The inflation of hampered supply chains emerged as a problem last year, in economies like the United States in particular. This has been compounded since the start of 2022 by events such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and waves of COVID-19 lockdowns across China that have stalled recovery.

‘DEFINE TOMORROW’ Ukrainian artists hope to get their message of struggle for a better future to world leaders in Davos.

Visitors are confronted with images such as a badly burned man in Kharkiv after a Russian bombardment and a film made up of thousands of photos of dead civilians and bombed houses. “It’s a place where all the influencers and decision-makers in the world come together,” artistic director of the Pinchuk Arts Center in kyiv, Bjorn Geldhof, told Reuters TV.

“What happens in Ukraine will define tomorrow.” Russian President Vladimir Putin calls the invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation” to disarm the country and rid it of radical anti-Russian nationalists.

Ukraine and its allies have dismissed this as a baseless pretext for the nearly three-month-long war, which has killed thousands, displaced millions and destroyed cities While the WEF meeting may not be not back to pre-pandemic levels, with Zurich airport expecting flight numbers around two-thirds of previous levels, its return is a welcome relief for hotels and restaurants in the ski resort .

“It’s another step back to normality,” said Samuel Rosenast, spokesman for the local tourist board, last week.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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