Medvedev makes more than an appearance at Davos

Big plenary kickoff today was Russian president Dmitry Medvedev. Aside from the "will he, won’t he" scheduling snafus behind the scenes, there was a bit of a dustup when he apparently hammered his chief economic advisor, Arkady Dvorkovich, for implying that the trial of ex-Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky could negatively impact the investment perspective on Russia ...

By , the president of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media.
FABRICE COFFRINI/Getty
FABRICE COFFRINI/Getty
FABRICE COFFRINI/Getty

Big plenary kickoff today was Russian president Dmitry Medvedev. Aside from the "will he, won't he" scheduling snafus behind the scenes, there was a bit of a dustup when he apparently hammered his chief economic advisor, Arkady Dvorkovich, for implying that the trial of ex-Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky could negatively impact the investment perspective on Russia in Davos. Didn't seem the wisest move for the (relative) liberal advisor -- Prime Minister Vladimir Putin explicitly said this fellow should stay in jail. I wouldn't be crossing him. Wonder how long Dvorkovich lasts.

For his part, Medvedev explicitly avoided talk of the trial. He started with a pointed mention that Russia shouldn't be lectured. He went on too long, ended with a 10 point agenda for Russia's reform/investment-attracting plans. It was generally ho-hum -- the audience was skeptical, likes the charisma and almost indifferent arrogance of Putin, but is increasingly uninterested by the softer, less effectual side of Russian power.

Other interesting bits:

Big plenary kickoff today was Russian president Dmitry Medvedev. Aside from the "will he, won’t he" scheduling snafus behind the scenes, there was a bit of a dustup when he apparently hammered his chief economic advisor, Arkady Dvorkovich, for implying that the trial of ex-Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky could negatively impact the investment perspective on Russia in Davos. Didn’t seem the wisest move for the (relative) liberal advisor — Prime Minister Vladimir Putin explicitly said this fellow should stay in jail. I wouldn’t be crossing him. Wonder how long Dvorkovich lasts.

For his part, Medvedev explicitly avoided talk of the trial. He started with a pointed mention that Russia shouldn’t be lectured. He went on too long, ended with a 10 point agenda for Russia’s reform/investment-attracting plans. It was generally ho-hum — the audience was skeptical, likes the charisma and almost indifferent arrogance of Putin, but is increasingly uninterested by the softer, less effectual side of Russian power.

Other interesting bits:

I sat down for lunch with the Arab League secretary general, Amre Moussa. He overheard me talking about Netanyahu’s meeting with Vice President Biden … his ears perked up, and we ended up breaking bread. Good fellow to talk with at Davos, not much of a Middle East contingent here … so he’s not all that busy (more on the WEF’s western orientation later–there’s a lot worth considering there). My main takeaway: I came away much more concerned about Egypt’s stability/trajectory than I was entering the meeting.

Most amusing bit: he’s the first person I’ve ever met at Davos who asked me about my identity before answering a question. It was something about Israel/Palestine and he stopped and asked … are you Jewish? From Israel? I gamely replied that I was at Davos, isn’t everyone? (Ed note: I’m German/Armenian Catholic from Boston. Go Celtics!) To which, give him credit, he chuckled. 

Ian Bremmer is the president of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media. He is also the host of the television show GZERO World With Ian Bremmer. Twitter: @ianbremmer

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