Davos: Browder Confronted Head On: "When Will You Give Back the Money You Stole From Russia!?"
They're searching for enemies to win a political game but are disrupting the global economy. That's how the USA's strategy was described at the World Economic Forum in Davos. While Washington is threatening its partners with trade and sanction wars, Russia is helping to find the cure against dollar addiction and is supporting industrial growth. Germany, as Angela Merkel emphasized, relies on Russian gas. Why didn't the Ukrainian president hear her? And who spoiled the appetite of Browder, the notorious financier?
Nailya Asker-Zade reports from Davos.
— How do you feel?
Maxim Oreshkin, the head of the Russian delegation: I feel positive. The workday is in the full swing.
— Did you have an early start?
— Yes, we woke up early after a very late arrival.
The head of the Russian delegation, Maxim Oreshkin, is in hurry. Today he's participating in two sessions, one of which is called Russia and the World. Today, the world is divided into those against our country and those endorsing an improvement in relations and lifting the sanctions.
— Aren't you tired of the sanctions on Russia?
KARIN KNEISSL, AUSTRIA MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: «Tiredness is not something to drive international relationships. There are certain standards guiding us towards an agreement. I'm confident that we need a partnership with Russia at various levels».
America, the most vocal backer of making the sanctions over Russia more rigorous which demands from Europe to follow its example, at the same time continues actively trading with Russia in the role as one of its three main investors.
Maxim Oreshkin: «We always need to separate the political story from the economic one. We're constantly talking about the American companies working in Russia who like everything and have no problems here; they earn money, they invest. That's why, so to say, business is one thing, politics is another».
KIRILL DMITRIEV, RUSSIAN DIRECT INVESTMENT FUND: «We see a constant war going on in the heads of a great number of people. But we believe that it's nevertheless important to focus on positive things. Those are investments, economic growth. Accordingly, we, along with our partners, have brought in 350 billion rubles ($5.3 billion) of investment into the Russian economy».
Among those lobbying sanctions over Russian officials was William Browder, the head of the Hermitage Capital Fund. In Davos, he diligently attends Russian sessions. Yet, once he happened to sit at the same table with Knaysi, Chubais and Titov, he somehow lost his appetite. In Russia, Browder is prosecuted for the organization of a criminal community and causing ten billion rubles in losses. Today, the Moscow Court legalized his new detention in absentia. Browder refused to answer difficult questions and was capturing everything with his phone to post on his Twitter later.
— When will you give back the money you stole in Russia? When will you give the money back?
William Browder: As soon as your country prosecutes the people who killed Sergey Magnitsky.
It means that Browder technically admitted the fact of the theft. And he knows far too well that, according to Russian point of view, it was him who was personally interested in silencing Magnitsky.
Meanwhile, Davos welcomed President Poroshenko and the head of the Ukrainian MFA, Klimkin. Klimkin, after announcing his tight schedule in the morning, spent more and more time in the cafeteria, missing the speech by German Chancellor Merkel. It was a wise decision, however.
Angela Merkel, German Chancellor: «The question is, where we should get our natural gas. From now on, we're relying on natural gas from Russia. However, naturally, we'll diversify. Meaning there's a possibility to import liquefied natural gas from the USA and other countries. We're actually reallocating our infrastructure in difficult directions. But if we abandon coal, abandon nuclear power, we can sincerely admit that we need to use more natural gas».
However, Russia still accounts for a third of European gas imports. And, year after year, this number is only rising.
Nailya Asker-Zade, Oleg Makarov, Natalia Konyukhova, Artur Nurmukhamedov, Vesti, Davos.