by Vladimir Putin
World Economic Forum
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s speech at the opening ceremony of the World Economic Forum Davos, Switzerland 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 current situation is often compared to the Great Depression of the late 1920s and the early 1930s. True, there are some similarities. However, there are also some basic differences. The crisis has affected everyone at this time of globalization. Regardless of their political or economic system, all nations have found themselves in the same boat.
There is a certain concept, called the perfect storm, which denotes a situation when Nature’s forces converge in one point of the ocean and increase their destructive potential many times over. It appears that the present-day crisis resembles such a perfect storm.
Responsible and knowledgeable people must prepare for it. Nevertheless, it always flares up unexpectedly.
The current situation is no exception either. Although the crisis was simply hanging in the air, the majority strove to get their share of the pie, be it one dollar or a billion, and did not want to notice the rising wave.
In the last few months, virtually every speech on this subject started with criticism of the United States. But I will do nothing of the kind.
I just want to remind you that, just a year ago, American delegates speaking from this rostrum emphasized the US economy’s fundamental stability and its cloudless prospects. Today, investment banks, the pride of Wall Street, have virtually ceased to exist. In just 12 months, they have posted losses exceeding the profits they made in the last 25 years. This example alone reflects the real situation better than any criticism.