Davos Walking on Eggshells for Russia

Here is an interesting bit of conversation from a Financial Times round table transcript about the World Economic Forum at Davos. During last year’s session, Russia’s president-to-be made his international debut before the global business community with a long speech (see the video here). What might not have been apparent was how tightly controlled the discussions during the event were by the conference organizers, who were desperately afraid the Russians would walk out if asked difficult or challenging questions: Gideon Rachman: “Politically it is much the same. You do not want to be too cynical about it – it is nice that they think they can bring peace to the Middle East and so on – but the whole sense of Davos is of glossing over conflict. They bring Iranians and Americans together for a couple of days to have a civilised sounding conversation before they go away. The downside is that some of the debates deliberately shy away from confrontation. I mentioned last year’s Russia discussion with Medvedev. Davos organisers were treading on eggshells because they didn’t want the Russians to walk out. So, some of the toughest questions were not asked. And that is a problem with the whole Davos format. But, having said that, you do get a lot of diverse people there and maybe that is just one of the bargains you have to strike.