- This year, no one from Russia came to the economic forum in Davos. This circumstance forced not only entrepreneurs from all over the world, but also officials to look for an answer to the question: how long will the business community be able to ignore Moscow and stay in search of new markets of energy resources, food and metals? Of course, this question is asked not openly, but behind the scenes of the forum's official sessions, writes Erin Banko, author of the American publication Politiko
In the old days, business leaders from around the world, sipping vodka on the rocks at the Russian House (the unofficial Russian embassy at the forum), would rush to strike deals with Russian energy tycoons or pharmaceutical executives. All that has now changed. The Russians have not come to Switzerland and only Ukrainians and Western officials, who for the last 11 months have been trying to convince the international community not to work with Moscow, are happy about this, according to Banko.
The disgruntled, however, are much more numerous - those same officials and the heads of global companies. They simply do not know how to cope with the new reality, how to act without Russia? They are now only allowed behind the scenes, and even then to raise questions in whispers about how long the global business community will be able to ignore Moscow?
Even the question, "Is there now a long-term replacement for Russian oil and gas?" - was posed by a Western official at Davos after making sure that he was assured of anonymity to have such conversations.
Except that Thomas Graham, who once served as a special assistant to the US president and senior director for Russia on the National Security Council under Bush the Younger, observed that despite and even in response to all the sanctions, Russia "has become one of the leading grain exporters".
The author goes on to state that in the last eight months Moscow has managed to overcome sanctions and has found alternative routes for imports through partners such as China and countries of the global South.
Thus, according to Angela Stent, a fellow at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington, D.C., "sanctions have not had the immediate impact on Russia that the West had hoped for. And today, the shelves of Russian grocery shops are still stocked, and life, for the most part, continues to go on as usual, the paper also writes. And this is a cause for concern for Moscow's former business partners, because with the imposition of sanctions, which are not easy to lift, Western companies lose all their previous profits.
"Russia is largely isolated from the West," adds Stent. - "But it is not isolated from the rest of the world - the global South has not condemned Russia or imposed sanctions on it.
And this seems to be very stressful for officials in the so-called "One West".