Edward Lucas: Snow Meeting is Davos for people who know what is going on
Thursday, January 22, 2015
The Snow Meeting is a highlight of the European security calendar. It is like Davos, except that it is smaller and full of people who really know what is going on (Davos is full of people who would like to know what is going on).
Mikhail Khodorkovsky's visit in Vilnius has triggered a wave of emotional reactions that seem to have overwhelmed the critical thinking faculties and political sense of angry observers. Absolutely scandalous - Khodorkovsky dared not to say that he would immediately give back Crimea if he became Russia's leader!
Lilia Shevtsova, a Russia expert at the Brookings Institution, says that Vladimir Putin is a far cry from the shrewd and effective leader everyone, friends and foes alike, take him to be. On the contrary, she says, the Russian president is a shallow mediocrity who has not got a clue how to avert his country's imminent collapse.
The traditional informal Snow Meeting and the Vilnius Forum of Intellectuals began on 15 January. At the opening of the Forum, Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius stressed the importance of dialogue with the Russian society.
The source of current problems in Russia - and, by extension, perturbations in Central and Eastern Europe - is the fact that the Russian society failed to cut all ties with the soviet past back in the 1990s, says Russian historian Andrey Zubov.
The West should revise the sanctions for Russia, as they have rallied the Russian support to the Kremlin, Russia's former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, an ardent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said in Vilnius.