The Covid-19 pandemic has increased tensions in all areas, increased inequalities and multiplied contradictions. Human civilization risks being destroyed because the situation can get even more out of control.
To avoid such a “cruel dystopia”, the only way out for nations is to seek coordinated efforts in the economy and to get rid of “phobias” in their relations with countries they see as adversaries.
The realistic and rather dark picture was painted by Vladimir Putin, the president who has been playing cards in Russia for 21 years. He spoke for the first time since 2009 at the World Economic Forum, based in Davos (Switzerland) but which is experiencing its first virtual edition this year.
Putin began by listing the risks posed by the pandemic. “There is a systemic nature of the threats,” he said, comparing humanity’s present moment to the turbulent 1920s and 1930s, which saw the Spanish flu pandemic, the crisis of the in-between. -war, the Great Depression and the rise of Nazifascism and Soviet Communism.
“A hot conflict is not possible, I think, because that would be the destruction of the world. But the situation is unpredictable if it gets out of hand,” said Putin, who has 4,310 nuclear warheads, 1,572 of which are for the immediate employment. .
“I’m not saying anything new,” he repeated over and over. As happened in Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s speech on Monday (25), it was up to an autocratic president to dispel the evidence on societal issues – including Russia.
Putin criticized the efforts of developed countries to procure their own doses of Covid-19 vaccines. “The pandemic will continue if there are uncontrolled centers,” he said, referring to poorer countries without vaccination coverage.
Russia has been promoting its Sputnik V vaccine abroad, with an emphasis on more peripheral countries.
Not to mention, of course, the massive protests that took place on Saturday (23) in his own country, which called for the release of opponent Alexei Navalni, said “public discontent leads to intolerance and division of the society “, and that governments cannot” have the illusion that you can bury problems. “
He pointed to the power of the big American tech companies. For him, the public interest is not necessarily equal to the monopoly exercised by the giants, invoking their influence in the American political process without naming them. “[Isso] it narrows down the options and you get what I mean “.
Despite all the apocalyptic tone, Putin sold some optimism and released a conventional recipe for dealing with the crisis. He predicted that it will only be overcome with the “increased role of governments” with “a fiscal stimulus, as is already seen in developed and developing countries”.
For him, it is time to “reduce inequalities”. This almost Keynesian approach contrasts with Putin 12 years ago, when the world was slipping into recession. There, the then prime minister said the West must avoid the mistakes of the Soviet Union and circumvent the temptation of state protectionism.
The president listed his first breakthrough in his relationship with the United States, the planet’s other nuclear superpower. After meeting Tuesday (26) with the new White House chief Joe Biden, it was agreed to extend the New Start – the last atomic weapons limitation agreement in force for five years.
The measure has already been adopted this morning in the Duma (lower house of the Russian parliament). “It is a first step”, declared Putin, who nevertheless sees a world “less stable and predictable, in which regional conflicts multiply”.
He himself had to deal with a mediation of the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan recently. “We have ended the bloodshed,” he said, sharing his laurels with the United States and France, which were a minority member of the negotiating group.
He also cited his difficult relations with Turkey and Iran in the role of stabilizing the civil war in Syria as an example of possible success in favor of world peace, and paid rare deference to Europe, the continent on which it faces the main resistance.
“European leaders love [o premiê alemão] Helmut Kohl said that Russia is part of Europe, one civilization. We share this opinion. Europe and Russia are natural partners, ”he said.
The speech comes after seven years of excluding most countries from the European Union for annexing Crimea from Ukraine, following the fall of the pro-Moscow government in Kiev in 2014.
This obviously does not prevent business: Germany, which had received Navalni when the opponent was poisoned in Russia, did not rule out the natural gas megaproject in collaboration with the Kremlin. France has not quit its gas jobs in the Arctic either.
The opening was partial. Putin criticized “the pressure for illegitimate sanctions”, as he sees those applied by the West, and “the unilateral use of force, which is dangerous”. Yet he spoke like a legitimate European when he said it was necessary to tackle the climate crisis, global warming and the pollution of the seas.
He said he saw a common space not only from Lisbon to the Ural Mountains, to the Russian border with Asia, but “even Vladivostok”, the main city in the far east of his country.
“The competition between countries will never stop. But at critical moments, coordinated efforts occur in situations that change our lives. This is the situation now. We have to face real problems,” Putin said. .