the billionaire george soros said that the Russian invasion of Ukraine may have been the start of Third World warso the best way to preserve a free civilization was that The West defeats the forces of President Vladimir Putinhe said at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Soros, 91, a renowned hedge fund manager who gained fame betting against the British pound in 1992, placed the ukrainian war as part of a broader struggle between open societies and closed societieslike China and Russia, which were on the rise.
“The invasion may have been the start of World War III and our civilization may not survive it,” Soros said in Davos, according to a text of his speech released by his office.
“The best and perhaps only way to preserve our civilization is to defeat Putin as soon as possible. That is the essential thing.”
Soros said that Putin, who says that the “special operation” in Ukraine is going according to plan and will achieve all of the Kremlin’s goals, now believed that the invasion was a mistake and he was preparing to negotiate a ceasefire.
“But the ceasefire is unattainable because it cannot be trusted,” Soros said.
“The weaker Putin becomes, the more unpredictable he becomes.”
Soros said the European Union I had to understand that Putin could shut down Russian natural gas, which currently represents about 40% of Europe’s needs, “while it hurts”.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, has killed thousands of peoplehas displaced millions more and raised fears of the most serious confrontation between Russia and the United States since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.
Putin says that the United States was using Ukraine to threaten Russia with NATO enlargement and that Moscow had to defend Russian-speakers from persecution. Ukraine and its Western allies reject the justification, seeing it as an unfounded pretext to invade a country.
“I can’t predict the outcome, but Ukraine certainly has a fighting chance,” Soros said.
Soros described Russia, the largest country in the world by area, as China, the second world economyas the main members of a group of ascending “closed societies” in which the individual is subject to the state.
Echoing the President of the United States, Joe Bidenwho has said that the West is engaged in a battle with autocratic governments, Soros also added some pessimism.
“Repressive regimes are now on the rise and open societies are under siege,” Soros said. “Today, China and Russia present the greatest threat to the open society”
Soros said the digital technologyespecially artificial intelligence has helped China collect personal data for surveillance and control of its citizens more aggressively than ever.
Chinese officials dismiss foreign criticism as outdated colonial thinking and praise the Communist Party for getting rid of foreign oppressors, rebuilding China and lifting 800 million people out of poverty.
Soros criticized President Xi Jinping’s “zero-COVID” strategysaying that he had failed and that he had brought Shanghai to the “brink of open rebellion”.
Along with COVID politics, Soros said Xi had made a series of mistakes that could cost him significant influence as the Communist Party prepares to decide whether to grant him an unprecedented third term.
“Contrary to general expectations, Xi Jinping may not get his coveted third term because of the mistakes he has made,” Soros said. “But even if he gets it, the Politburo might not give him a free hand to select the members of the next Politburo.”