Shuvalov makes sense because he appears to still be writing most of the speeches (along with all his other responsibilities, which are numerous, and make me wonder what everyone else in the Government are doing). Plus, he is well-known (and presumably well-liked) in the business community.
The Arkady Dvorkovich-Elvira last minute switch is a little odd because in one sense Elvira seems the more obvious choice (I think she went last year). But Arkady seems to be Medvedev’s right-hand man, and has got a ton of face-time recently. In addition, he speaks English (as does Shuvalov), and is viewed as Western-leaning. And the last important factor involved in Arkady’s participation is that it is meant to cement in everyone’s mind that the Tandemocracy (fun word, whoever came up with it) is alive and well (though I don’t think that it is).
But who is this Rustam fellow? Prime Minister of Tatarstan? It seems like a very weird choice. However, I think there have been some problems recently with Tatarstan, and it would not surprise me if Rustam replaces the President of Tatarstan. Or he could potentially become PM when VVP returns on the white horse in four months (or less).
Which leads me to VVP acting as head of the delegation: it is a message. And the message reads as follows: I am still in control, and have no intention of relinquishing that control.
The point that I am trying to make with all of this is that Davos is more significant than just the policies presented etc. The delegation that is sent has political implications as far as domestic policy, and personnel rotations are concerned (witness Medvedev’s heading the delegation in 2007, and German Gref’s lack of attendance that year).
Additionally, I read Alexei Leonidovich’s lack of attendance as a major point for Igor Sechin in the latter’s campaign against the former.