Ukraine has a pavilion at the WEF — here's what happened when we went inside

Ezra Levant takes a trip inside Ukraine's luxurious pop-up pavilion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

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This report comes to you from the Ukraine pavilion here in Davos, Switzerland, at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. It's a unique blend of big business, big media and big governments.

Well, one of the biggest governments in the world these days, funded by the taxpayers of the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia, is Ukraine.

Ukraine is currently engaged in an existential battle against the Russian Federation, and I say it's an existential battle because Russia seeks to annex certain regions of Ukraine that it claims are ethnically Russian and are being punished by the Kyiv-based government.

The country has a unique history, its borders have changed greatly over the years. But it's now engaged in quite a brutal battle — and it's not the first time Russia has breached Ukraine's borders, they did it in 2014 as well. This time though, NATO, and particularly the United States, has flooded the country with money and weapons, and it's turned into a brutal battle that has certainly caught Russian President Vladimir Putin by surprise.

It's of particular concern to me because Russia is nuclear armed, just like Ukraine's backers in the West.

That's the quick background, but our Rebel News team is here in Davos at the massive Ukraine pavilion. Among the companies like BlackRock and CNBC that are here, there are countries like Ukraine, India and Malaysia that are promoting themselves too.

I have a lot of questions about this war. I don't understand the West's role in it; I don't understand the money being spent; I don't understand the focus on fighting until the end instead of negotiating a settlement. So I approached the Ukrainian pavilion with a little bit of political skepticism.

To my delight, they were glad to have us inside. I suppose that they are in the public relations business, unlike the secret deals business that much of the people here in Davos are engaged in.

Inside, they had a museum that reminded me of a Holocaust museum, documenting war crimes, death and destruction caused by the war against Russia. It included some very dramatic video and images.

While in the pavilion, I had interesting conversations with three different people.

The one who wasn't supposed to talk

I spoke with a young man named Alek who told me how the pavilion was designed to show the world Russian crimes in Ukraine, and that he was happy the World Economic Forum was hosting the country at its annual event. He discussed how President Zelensky and Ukraine's first lady, XX, also spoke to the WEF's attendees.

I asked him about potential negotiations with Russia, and he told me how they were at the WEF trying to spread Ukraine's message to the world, to make their message louder than that of Russia's.

When I asked him whether any Russians were invited to tell their side of the conflict in Davos, Alek said that “Russians are not welcome here.” This was when we learned he wasn't supposed to be talking to us.

The artistic director

After our conversation with the young lad, they brought in the pavilion's artistic director, who told us more about the purpose of the pavilion.

“What we did is when Kherson got liberated, we went there with two Ukrainian artists,” he tells us, “and we asked them to make portraits of what it meant to be liberated after nine months of very brutal occupation.”

The director told us the collection is designed to show both the tragedy and sorrow revealed following the area's liberation. He also tells us how “it's absolutely essential for justice to be brought against those who committed these atrocities.”

When I asked him the same question about the lack of Russians, he says it's the WEF's policy to exclude the Russians.

The international human rights lawyer

Following our conversation with the director, it just so happened that a panel was being held to talk about the very subject of legal prosecutions at the war's conclusion. Since we weren't going to have time to stay, I spoke with one of the international lawyer's who was set to speak on that panel to get his thoughts.

The first issue this lawyer points out is criminal prosecution. This would make sure that individuals at the head of state level — so in this case, Vladimir Putin — is held accountable. Next, he mentions civil prosecution. In other words, issues at the human and economic levels, which includes a discussion about war reparations.

To counter that, I asked the lawyer about sovereign immunity and that a likely conclusion to the war will involve a negotiated settlement with Russia. His point here was that a war like this one in Ukraine is an outlier in the world since 1945.

But what about the wars between Iran-Iraq, Morocco-Algeria, Yemen-Saudi Arabia? Or the wars in Vietnam and Korea? Since 1945, there's probably been 100 wars that forcefully changed international borders.

The lawyer tells me that I'm wrong, that there's nothing with the exception of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, that matches this same kind of declared annexation. “This is Hitler stuff,” he says.

I don't want to spoil our whole conversation, because it was such a fascinating one to have — a rare moment in today's political landscape.

So what did you think of our tour of the Ukraine house here in Davos? Let me know in the comments.

For more from our team of seven journalists here in Davos, and to chip in a few bucks to help support our 100% viewer-funded journalism, visit

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