Are Russian Oligarchs ‘In This Together’ With Klaus Schwab?


This story is about the connections and shared agendas between the oligarchs in Russia, where I was born and raised, and Klaus Schwab. Recently, I interviewed Riley Waggaman, a.k.a. Edward Slavsquat, an American journalist who currently lives in my old homeland and writes brilliantly about COVID Russia. I think Riley’s work is tremendously important as it helps to understand some of the missing pieces of the puzzle.

Our conversation was a ton of fun. (We recorded it a week or two before the heartbreaking war began, so we did not talk about it in the interview but if you want to know my thoughts about the war, you can find them here.)

So, what about Schwab and Russia? As it turns out, the Russian “stakeholders” are deeply, deeply in bed with the World Economic Forum — as deeply or perhaps even deeper than their Western colleagues! Either that, or they are just trying to outscam each other, which is also possible.

Russia’s Prominent Presence at the Cyber Polygon Exercises

I first noticed the strange camaraderie between my old homeland’s prominent figures and Klaus Schwab a couple of years ago when I looked at WEF’s Cyber Polygon 2020. Russia was rather conspicuously overrepresented at the event comparing to other countries!

In fact, if you look attentively, you will see that Cyber Polygon was an initiative by BI-ZINE, an entity associated with Sberbank (the Russian central bank), with the support of the World Economic Forum. (By the way, in 2020, Sberbank transformed from a bank into an “ecosystem of services,” more on that in the interview with Riley.)

cyber polygon

Now, is it possible that the clever Russian oligarchs are not Schwab’s little helpers but rather are trying to drag him into some scam? Yes, very possible. Or is it possible that they don’t care one bit about the WEF agenda but view it as a great cover story for getting richer? Again, very possible, and actually, most likely.

But, as we’ll see in a second, whether they are working sincerely with/for Schwab, or trying to scam him, they are throwing the common people under the bus and straight onto the altar of the Fourth Industrial Revolution!

Let’s now look at Cyber Polygon 2021, which was, again, organized by an entity associated with Sberbank, the central bank of Russia, and strongly supported by the WEF.

By the way, below is an discussion about the “digital ruble.” The entire livestream is well worth watching but the part about the digital ruble is particularly interesting. They are talking about kind of “resetting” the financial system in the direction of controllable, programmable digital currencies — exactly what the conspiracy theorists have been warning about!

Klaus Schwab’s Comment on Vladimir Putin as a Young Global Leader

Klaus Schwab commented on more than one occasion on how Putin is a Young Global Leader. See below.

Notably, up until a couple of days ago, Vladimir Putin also had a page on the World Economic Forum’s website (which could be simply a regular “president” listing … but where did it go?) Now, let’s dig in and look at the treasures that Riley Waggaman has dug out about the connections between the Russian higher-ups and the WEF. His research really is amazing!

The Head of the Russian Central Bank Is a WEF trustee

The head of Sberbank (the central bank of Russia) Herman Gref is a WEF trustee (archived; I swear the link was there half an hour ago, and now it’s gone!)

In February 2020, he announced his plans to develop a system of facial recognition using masks. He also claimed that he has taken the Russian COVID injection “Sputnik V” in April 2020 — before the clinical trials even started — and that it saved him. On a side note please see Riley’s brilliant articles, “Herman Gref exported a large portion of Sberbank’s gold reserves. Why?”

The Mayor of Moscow Loves 4IR

The Mayor of Moscow Sobyanin has a plan called “Moscow 2030” in which he covers all the 4IR bases for Klaus Schwab (or maybe somebody just translated WEF materials into Russian for Sobyanin, and he copied them verbatim into his plan). I have a hard enough time taking the 4IR talking points seriously in English — but in Russian they totally read like either a deliberate act of trolling or good-hearted comedy.

“Moscow 2030” talks about remote monitoring of everybody’s health through wearable or implantable devices, about biosensors, about “transparency” of health data, about “smart clothes” that “help Muscovites to act on their desire to lead a healthy lifestyle” … It really reads like comedy because everybody knows it’s a lie, and yet the lips keep moving …

Veteran Russian Scammer Is a Now an Ambassador for Climate Change

Here is what Riley says about another character, Chubais:

“Anatoly Chubais has been plundering Russia for thirty years. He served as deputy prime minister under vodka-soaked sellout Boris Yeltsin, and later became Yeltsin’s chief of staff. As the mastermind behind large-scale privatization in the 1990s, Chubais deserves credit for much of the criminality and despair that continues to plague Russia right up to the present day.”

Here is more, from my recent article (based, again, on Riley’s brilliant findings):

“One of the biggest long-standing thieves of the post-Soviet economy Chubais is … wait for it … in charge of “sustainable development” — after he almost bankrupted the biggest Russian nanotechnology company.

Same scammer — shifty eyes and all — almost impersonates Bill Gates (whom he allegedly loves) and says from the stage that influential scientists have predicted a major drop in population by the end of the century, from 7 billion to 1.5-2 billion (in Russian, the event took place in 2011). He says though that it would be horrible and we should try to prevent it.”

Russian Schools Are Quickly Moving Toward Biometric IDs

So it looks schools in Moscow have already transitioned to biometric IDs. That is rather heartbreaking — and it is maddening that the greedy opportunists are targeting kids! And here are two reports, one from June 2020, and one from November 2021:

2020: “Biometric facial recognition-equipped cameras will be installed in over 43,000 Russian schools, writes The Moscow Times based on reports by the Vedomosti business daily. Cameras have already been installed in over 1,608 schools in 12 areas. Dubbed ‘Orwell,’ the surveillance camera system is built by state company Rusnano and integrates facial recognition technology developed by NTechLab, a subsidiary of Rostelecom.”

2021: “The deployment of the new camera-based systems [in select colleges] follows a busy last quarter of 2021 so far for VisionLabs, with the company recently collaborating on the launch of a new biometric facial recognition payment system in Moscow.”

Question: What is driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Russia? Answer: Rubles, rubles, and more rubles! (On a side note, here is biometric ID marketing from the U.S., note referring to kids as “pesky little bandits.” And here is from the UK. So rubles are clearly not the only currency driving the madness.

Laughing at Scammers

Speaking of madness: When things are that crazy, what do we do? Riley and I laughed at the technocratic scammers all through the interview — which I think was appropriate. Sometimes, laughing is all we can do as we pedal hard toward our liberation. Pedal pedal pedal hard toward our liberation! And laugh.

Full Transcript of My Interview With Riley Waggaman

Tessa Lena: Hello, and welcome to “Make Language Great Again.” Today, it is my great joy to welcome Riley Waggaman, who is in my home country, in my original home country. And it is so exciting. He’s writing about COVID Russia is outstanding, and I can’t wait to talk about it.

Riley Waggaman: Thank you so much for having me on Tessa.

Tessa Lena: Oh, absolutely. And, ah, what got you into this mess?

Riley Waggaman: What got me to Russia?

Tessa Lena: Oh, no! I mean, we could start with that.

Riley Waggaman: Yeah. First of all, I don’t think Russia is a mess. It’s a great country … Just teasing here. No, you know, well, if you want to start with that, I just came here … I was … I worked as a, I guess you could say a journalist, in Washington, DC. And I got burnt out. And I ended up moving to Central Europe to the Czech Republic, to hang out with some Czech friends and teach English. And I just decided to keep going east. So I ended up with a job teaching in Bashkortostan of all places.

Tessa Lena: Oh wow!

Riley Waggaman: And … and then about a year after that, I got an invitation to come to Moscow. And … in … right … so I did, and I’ve never left, so …

Tessa Lena: Well, I was going to make a joke, don’t end up in Siberia with moving east.

Riley Waggaman: I almost did, I was in Bashkortostan!

Tessa Lena: No but … but honestly, your writing is so stunning. I’m so happy … I was so happy to discover it because, you know, I was following the Cyber Polygon. And I was, you know … two years ago, and then last year … and my original homeland was all over the place, it was very prominently represented, as I’m sure you’re well aware. And then from here, people say, “Oh, my God, like, you know, Russia is against the COVID scam, and Russia is this beacon of freedom.”

And I was like, wait a second, it doesn’t quite correlate, because you can’t be a beacon of freedom and working hand in hand with Klaus Schwab. So when I discovered your blog, I was like, yes, yes, yes. So exciting. So you’ve been in Russia, and then you started writing about COVID? How did that happen?

Riley Waggaman: Well, I, um, so when I first came to Moscow, I was working through this website called Russia Insider. And then I got a job working for Press TV, which is the Iranian … it’s sort of like Iranian state television, you know, in English. And so I was their Moscow correspondent. And then after that, I got a job with RT.

So I was working for RT for about four years. And I just, for many reasons, I just really, really got fed up with RT and it’s, I thought, totally unacceptable policies concerning how it covers important topics, in my opinion, you know, about what was happening in Russia at the time. So I quit. And about a month later, I decided to start just writing about what I thought needed to be written about. So …

Tessa Lena: Wonderful. Well, I used to follow … RT was very decent where it was writing about America, for obvious reasons. Everybody likes to be a good analyst when it comes to the proverbial enemy. And then I didn’t bother to read it about anything about Russia, because what’s the point? So …

Riley Waggaman: Exactly, exactly. And you know, that I think that’s a totally … I think there’s wonderful, insightful analysis about the United States on RT. But, you know, for me, it was like, I wanted to write about what was happening in Russia, you know, like, this was what was most important to me, and what I thought needed to be reported on, and they wouldn’t, they didn’t want to do it.

And they had, what bothered me … what bothered me the most actually, was that they just had two totally obvious different standards here. Right, like, they would let you call, you know, France, totalitarian for having QR codes. But you can’t say anything about what has been going on in Russia. And for me, that double standard was just too much because this, this issue for me was a red line. It was like, once this was crossed, I’m just not playing these games anymore.

You know, I’m not … I’m not going to try to justify, you know, my sort of, you know, I guess we’re all hypocrites, right? But this was just like, I can’t do this anymore. I quit. So …

Tessa Lena: No, I hear you. And I actually, I saw that there was a change … at some point they were scolding it and then when Russia became really Nazi about it, that was the time when you can no longer talk about it.

Riley Waggaman: Yep.

Tessa Lena: Yeah, that was a very, very drastic change, very palpable.

Riley Waggaman: Yeah. So, good for you for taking a stand … Just a simple question what is going on right now with Russia and COVID?

That’s a really good question. It’s actually … we’re speaking at a really interesting time, because we’re actually seeing possibly an interesting sort of dynamic being played out between the federal government and regions. So starting right after the State Duma elections at the end of September, Russia saw this massive nationwide rollout of QR code policies and compulsory vaccination decrees.

Some of these have since … some of these rules have since been rolled back in other parts of the country like in Tatarstan and St. Petersburg. Other areas, they’ve actually doubled down and made these rules even more strict. But in the last week or two, around 14 regions across Russia have started either like canceling or significantly reducing the their use of QR codes.

And in St. Petersburg even, there’re reports that the city is basically good gonna abandon the QR code rule, which would be a huge, huge victory, I would say, for the Russian people if that happens. So the question is, why is this happening now? And who is who is behind it, right? And one would hope that it would be, you know, the Kremlin saying, look, guys, enough is enough, we should drop this stuff.

The problem with that theory, which it might be true, I don’t know, is that … Putin publicly supported the introduction of a national QR code law, right. So it’s a little bit confusing, because in Russia, these rules are imposed at a regional level. But the State Duma wanted to make sort of a uniform blanket legislation so that everybody had the same QR code rules, you know, uniform, enforcement, etc, etc.

And this legislation was so unpopular among average Russians, that the State Duma had to drop it. But it’s so … that which makes it so weird that Putin publicly stated that he felt it was his duty. He said that he had a moral obligation as President to support this legislation, which is a very, very weird thing to say.

And why did you say that? He said this in late like December, I want to say December 17. And then this legislation gets kept getting pushed back until basically February and then they decided just abandon it. So …

Tessa Lena: I’m sorry, sorry for interrupting. Did they abandon it quietly? Or did they abandon it with a splash?

Riley Waggaman: Oh, Hmm. Interesting. It’s a … that’s a … I guess that’s a matter of interpretation. But I mean, it was a bit … it was a big deal, because what happened was that it was a huge … there was a huge movement online. So Russians were like pounding their, you know, State Duma deputies on social media. They were writing to Volodin … he is the Chairman of the State Duma. And it was a huge, it was a huge movement, a huge grassroots movement.

I saw polls online, where you had 1.5 million votes, where 92% of the respondents said that they thought that QR codes were unconstitutional. I mean, really, really impressive stuff. And multiple polls like this. And even even the government’s own polling show that it was something like 60-70% were, you know, against this. So what happens next is a really good question.

My feeling is that they realize that at the regional level, they realize that keeping the QR codes is basically economic, socio-economic suicide, you know, and so whatever motivation they had for imposing them, and possibly there was, you know, some nudging at the federal level, maybe there’s some weird other reasons they did it. I feel like they realized that it’s just not sustainable. That being said, Is this over in Russia? No, definitely not. So what comes next is going to be really, really interesting.

Tessa Lena: Well, the use of the word “sustainable” in this context, is very special. Given the sustainable development and how it fits into that …

Riley Waggaman: Exactly, right?

Tessa Lena: But the question … actually, so many questions … one, ah, the difference between on the original level between the enforcement … the formal enforcement and how well people comply? Because I was reading your blogs, they were even beatings from what I understand … both ways?

Riley Waggaman: Yep, yeah, absolutely. In fact, it’s, I wouldn’t say it happens every day, but you’ll find maybe once a week report about either some fed-up Russian, literally beating, you know, some guy checking QR codes or the other way around, someone doesn’t have their QR code, and the enforcement guy starts a fight. So you can tell that, you know, in general, my, my take is that I think that it’s dependent on the region, maybe even at a city level.

But in general, my … just anecdotally, and speaking to other people around the country, is that Russians are super non-compliant with this. And it’s not even, they’re not even really doing it. It’s just, I think it’s just natural to them, they’re just highly suspicious of the, you know, of anything that their government does or tells them to do. And they realize they can’t, and this is the thing too, that I don’t think Westerners understand is like, they can’t afford to go along with these stupid games.

You know, it’s like, if you’re a business in Russia, it’s not like the state is handing out, like in the United States, they were like, paying people not to work, right? I remember, like, during lockdowns and stuff, there was …

Tessa Lena: Not much but yeah.

Riley Waggaman: Right. But I mean … it’s just, it’s just a totally different system here. So it’s like, if the state tells you that you have to, you know, you’re gonna lose 80 or 90% of your revenue on these QR codes … Like, I’m just not like … Oh, you have a QR code. Okay, go … Russians. Were taking QR codes from like, irons and washing machines, you know, and just like showing them like, alright, yep, go, you can go.

Tessa Lena: That’s my people.

Riley Waggaman: No, totally. No, I was just gonna say, you know, if I feel like, globally, we’re, there’s gonna be a lot of adventures up the road for all of us. But I, I honestly do feel, to a certain extent, very lucky to be in Russia, because, uh, the Russians are just totally awesome. And they don’t, they don’t put up with bullshit, you know? And so I feel like, pretty, pretty good here.

Tessa Lena: Cool. And as far as the implementation, do they ask for the printout? Do they ask for something on the phone? So meaning, like, how far into the digital ID did it go?

Riley Waggaman: Okay, so it’s, um, in most cases, the way I understand is that it’s done through this state services website portal called like, GosUslugi, I guess, that’s the acronym whatever. And so for example, if you get vaccinated, and I believe, in other instances, they’ll generate, you have this QR code, and it’s stored in a federal database online, this online portal, and then your phone, you use your phone to sort of, you know, access it.

The thing though, is that, again, you have situations where the people who are checking it, are not looking very, are either just not looking at it, or Russians will do still have, like, I’ve read reports about this, where there’s these websites that will generate a QR code that sort of looks like you know, like the one and they just say, okay, whatever, like go for it. In other places, I’ve heard that they’ve asked for, you know, ID and they’re really strict about it. So again, I think it’s variable.

But in general, I would say Russians are very, very non-compliant. This goes with masks, too, in a huge way. Huge, massive, non-compliant country. So … and I’ve never I’ve never … this is another interesting thing … I’ve never been in a situation in Russia anywhere, and I’ve never heard of anyone where people get yelled at by other Russians for like, not having a mask, you know, which I which apparently is like, sort of semi happened sometimes like …

Tessa Lena: New York. Hello.

Riley Waggaan: Yeah. I’ve never … I’ve never heard of that ever happening here. I’ve never heard, even when you have like a fully masked, you know, someone … I’ve never heard of anyone starting trouble.

Tessa Lena: That’s cool. I had a conversation with a friend of mine, probably a year ago by now … she’s in Moscow. And she was like, yeah, of course they’re enforcing masks, our mayor opened the factory making masks. And then she said, well, of course, they find you if they catch you without a mask in the street because it goes to the city budget, of course. But I mean …

Riley Waggaman: So the one exception I would make is in the metro. They … sometimes they’re very..

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