In the Swiss ski town of Davos, the “Russia House” was an ideal fixture of the Russian soft power at the annual World Economic Forum, a gathering of top business and government leaders.
Russia House has in the past “demonstrated its effectiveness as a platform for promoting Russian initiatives among representatives of international business and official circles,” according to its website, which is hosted by the Russian Congress, a Russian lobbying organization.
The site, which once hosted a fancy cocktail party between Russian and international officials, now greets pedestrians with window signs: “It was the Russian House in Davos. It is now home to Russian war crimes in Davos. “
For the first time in its history, the forum will be held during the ongoing war in Europe.
After a two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus epidemic, Russian delegates were not invited to this year’s Davos rally, which usually takes place in the winter.
Set to be a major focus of the Ukraine Forum, focusing on the theme “Turning Point in History”. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will be the first head of state to address the forum via video link on Monday morning. Other senior Ukrainian officials, including the foreign minister, two deputy prime ministers and the mayor of Kiev, will attend the meeting in person.
The Ukraine-related panels at the conference provided a reminder of how the war has spread across the landscape of international trade and policy. One event focuses on the humanitarian catastrophe caused by the attack, another on “healthcare in times of crisis” and another addresses concerns about the global food crisis due to disruption in the supply chain.
In the shadow of the war, there is no ‘normal business’ in Davos
The United States and other countries have determined that Russian forces committed war crimes in Ukraine, citing intelligence and brutal violence against civilians in Mariupol, which has been under siege for weeks as Moscow sought to take control of the strategic port city. President Biden called the attack a “genocide.” Russia denies war crimes in Ukraine
The Victor Pinchuk Foundation and the Pinchuk Art Center worked with Ukrainian officials, artists and media outlets to arrange the space with the depiction of the war and to highlight “how Ukrainians defend democracy and their freedom not only in physical warfare, but also on a social and political front.” .
The foundation, named after Ukrainian oligarch and businessman Victor Pinchuk, “provides information on key events, sharing faces, names and dates, and providing a platform for at least some victims to tell their true stories.”
Ishan Tharoor contributed to this report in Davos, Switzerland.