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Ian Bremmer, Founder and President of the Eurasia Group, is one of the leading authorities in geopolitical risk. He is also one of the many thought-leaders attending the World Economic Forum’s gathering in Davos, Switzerland.But, it also seems that Bremmer can’t help but notice the political implications of everything he sees.
When he first checked into his hotel room in Davos, he noticed two gift baskets.
One gift was a box of chocolates and a note from the CEO of Nestle. Harmless and sweet.
The other wasn’t as much a gift as it was an information packet. It was a bag full of DVDs, post cards and a statement courtesy of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, which is run by Azerbaijan’s First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva.
Sounds harmless, right?
Leave it to Bremmer, a political risk expert, to call the bag of freebies the “most politically controversial gift” he had ever received. The bag included a statement regarding the Garabagh region between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Bremmer described it as “delivered from a starkly one-sided point of view.” Here’s an excerpt of what the statement said (h/t Ian Bremmer via ForeignPolicy.com):
Unfortunately the conflict ignited as a result of unfair territorial claims brought against Azerbaijan. The occupation by Armenian invaders of Garabagh… [has] turned the bright representatives of the Mugham art into internally displaced people… grief, sorrow, and melancholy is being felt today in their performance.
And here’s Bremmer’s take:
The package was giftwrapped in cellophane, so it was sure to be missed by any personnel intent on keeping such subjective perspective out of the hotel rooms. You have to hand it to this Azeri organisation for so craftily injecting their thoughts into the summit. The takeaway: Davos truly is the biggest annual global political event — and you can’t underestimate how far actors will go to get their message heard on the global stage.
Not many people are familiar with the history between Armenia and Azerbaijan. So, it would actually make perfect sense that they are out trying to raise awareness.
Business Insider’s editor-in-chief Henry Blodget is at the World Economic Forum now. Earlier this week, he published photos of Azerbaijan’s gift to the attendees.
Admittedly, we did not appreciate the full significance of the gift. Indeed, when our famished Henry first arrived in Davos, he tore through the gift to find a series of packages that resembled exotic boxes of chocolates, including one box with the word “fondu” on it.