Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s speech at the opening ceremony of the World Economic Forum
January 28, 2009
"Good afternoon, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to thank the forum’s organizers for this opportunity to share my thoughts on global economic developments and to share our plans and proposals.
The world is now facing the first truly global economic crisis, which is continuing to develop at an unprecedented pace"
The time for enlightenment has come. We must calmly, and without gloating, assess the root causes of this situation and try to peek into the future.This pyramid of expectations would have collapsed sooner or later. In fact, this is happening right before our eyes."
In the 20th century, the Soviet Union made the state’s role absolute. In the long run, this made the Soviet economy totally uncompetitive. This lesson cost us dearly. I am sure nobody wants to see it repeated.
Nor should we turn a blind eye to the fact that the spirit of free enterprise, including the principle of personal responsibility of businesspeople, investors and shareholders for their decisions, is being eroded in the last few months. There is no reason to believe that we can achieve better results by shifting responsibility onto the state.
.Therefore, finding this mutual trust is a key goal we should concentrate on now.
Mr. Putin’s speech, the official opening address of this year’s World Economic Forum, was eagerly awaited by those waiting to gauge whether the crisis would prompt Russia to turn further away from the West or open the door to a more cooperative relationship.
As recently as December, Mr. Putin still had harsh words for the United States. “The crisis began in the United States, whose financial and economic policies led to the crisis that infected the economies of practically all major countries of the world,” he said at the time, adding that the impact of the crisis on Russia would be “minimal.”
But he struck a different note on Wednesday, as he often has for Western audiences. Mr. Putin said he would not dwell on who was responsible for the crisis and talked instead about “mutual interests” and “mutual dependencies.”
“We hope that our partners in Europe, Asia and America — and I’m also addressing the new administration, we wish them well — I hope they will be willing to cooperate constructively,” he said.Go to Text of Vladimir V. Putin’s Speech from the World Economic Forum »