Appointed to Moscow in 2017, Yves Rossier heads one of Switzerland's largest embassies in the world, which currently employs nearly 80 people. Addressing the members of Fribourg International, he focused his conference on multiculturalism, the fragility of power structures and the fear of chaos.
At this conference, Swiss Ambassador to Russia, Yves Rossier, gave a detailed reading of a country that is geographically the largest in the world. With a population of 150 million, it occupies 9th place globally, in terms of population, ranks 12th in GDP and 55th in terms of gross per capita income. Public debt and inflation are currently relatively low. Exports are mainly energy (65%) and mining products and metals (15%).
The country adopted a market economy in 1990 with strong privatization of industrial enterprises and the mining sector. However, over two-thirds of the economy is still under state control. While the country has a good training system and is thus at the forefront in some technical areas, it does not have high volume manufactured products suitable for export.
Russia has also long been characterized by a fragile power structure and a society that, while being relatively free to debate and criticize, nevertheless has extremely limited impact on political power. Few real reforms have been undertaken for a long time and recent geopolitical problems have brought international sanctions that discourage foreign investment.
Given these findings and the historical record, the speaker proposed different perspectives and focused his presentation on three fundamental elements from political, social and economic points of view: multiculturalism, the fragility of power structures and fear of chaos.
Additional considerations include lack of faith in progress, the lack of politicization of oligarchs, the absence of political heroes, everyday corruption that is not necessarily obvious to outside observers and a good level of education in general.