Magazine article Russian Life

Flat Invitation

Magazine article Russian Life

Flat Invitation

Article excerpt

Medvedev tries to entice foreign investment

THE JANUARY 24 SUICIDE BOMB in Domodedovo airport, which killed 36 and wounded over 100, was, President Dmitry Medvedev said, aimed at "bringing Russia to its knees" by stopping its president from going to an upscale economic forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"Those who carried out this evil, directing the attack on citizens of various countries, calculated ... that the President will not go to the forum. This is the criteria used to choose the time and place of the crime," Medvedev said. Davos is where the world's economic elite convenes each year--paying tens of thousands of dollars apiece--to ruminate on financial crises and rub shoulders with one another.

Medvedev did not let the bombing alter his plans completely, instead making a lightning visit to the picturesque Alps town, shortening his long-awaited, two-day trip to just a few hours. Analysts had, before the bombing, predicted Medvedev would deliver a "pre-election" speech to the international community at Davos.

After a moment of silence for the victims, there were many things Medvedev could have said to the gathered elite. He could even have mustered the courage to make his address in English, as Vladimir Putin did when FIFA awarded Russia the 2018 World Cup. The speech was supposed to be sort of an invitation to foreign investors, enticing them to join in on Russia's modernization program and help steer the economy away from its reliance on energy exports. It also was meant to show Medvedev as Russia's true leader, who will cruise to victory in the 2012 elections and guide it toward a future with a more modern economy.

But Medvedev's nearly 40-minute-long speech was neither ground-breaking nor inspirational, as he offered less than satisfying answers to questions about security lapses and the rule of law in Russia, most notably the sentencing of Mikhail Khodorkovsky to an additional six years on charges inconsistent with his first sentence. …

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