You people in turn do not feel a sense of the impending danger – this is what worries me. How do you not understand that the world is being pulled in an irreversible direction? While they pretend that nothing is going on. I don’t know how to get through to you anymore. – Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the World Economic Forum that the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated preexisting imbalances and tensions.
He said these could deteriorate to a point where there is a fight of “all against all.”
Putin’s virtual address at the WEF was unexpected.
LONDON January 27, 2021— President Vladimir Putin warned on Wednesday that the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated preexisting global problems and imbalances, and that these could deteriorate to a point where there is a fight of “all against all.”
“The coronavirus pandemic has become a major challenge to mankind, and it has accelerated structural changes, the preconditions for which were already in place,” he said at a virtual meeting of the World Economic Forum.
“We have every reason to believe that the tensions might be aggravated even further,” Putin warned, citing experts that have likened the current state of global affairs to the 1920s and 1930s and that parallels could be drawn between then and now when it comes to the scale and scope of what he called systemic “challenges and potential threats.”
He said the crisis had increased social stratification, populism, right- and left-wing radicalism, adding that domestic political processes were becoming more violent.
“All of this cannot but impact international relations, making them less stable and predictable,” he said, according to a translation.
“In the 20th century, the failure and inability to centrally resolve such issues resulted in the catastrophic World War II. Of course, nowadays such a heated conflict is not possible, I hope that it’s not possible in principle, because it would mean the end of our civilization. But I would like to reiterate, that the situation might develop unpredictably and uncontrollably if we will sit on our hands doing nothing to avoid it. And there is a possibility that we may experience an actual collapse of global development that might result in a fight of all against all.”
Putin, whose appearance at the Davos Agenda summit was not listed on the preconference schedule, added that such a fight would mean not only the “destruction of traditional values” but also of fundamental freedoms. A common responsibility today was to avoid such a dystopic future, he added.
2020 was been a year dominated by the pandemic, but political movements and events have also come to the fore, from Black Lives Matter protests to the U.S. election in November that saw American voters more polarized than ever, which culminated in pro-Trump supporters rioting at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Putin’s appearance at the summit, which usually takes place in the ski resort of Davos, Switzerland, and attracts global leaders from the political and business world, is contentious. But Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF, introduced Putin by saying that Russia was a long-standing participant, and that it was important that constructive dialog continue in times of dispute and difference.