In St Petersburg, Putin's jokes about Ukraine giving Russia back the money it borrowed and pledges to turn from West to East were met with joyous applause from the business leaders in attendance.
Behind the set pieces and shows of strength, like Putin's speech and conversation on stage with CNBC's Geoff Cutmore, there was a more cautious tone. Some delegates quietly expressed concerns that this movement towards greater co-operation with China and other fast-growth markets may end up being a regression rather than progression of Russia's economy, which is heavily dependent on revenue from energy exports.
Putin's strong stance over Ukraine, parts of which have asubstantial Russian ethnic minority, seems to have been met with popular approval at home. It has been less positive for foreign and domestic investment in Russia, with investors changing their roubles for dollars and companies putting off investments in the country until the future looks more certain.
Interest rates have soared to 7.5 percent this year,which will raise the cost for Russian companies of repaying their loans, and consequently the amount they can re-invest in the economy. They also hold around $700 billion in external debt, mostly in foreign currencies, which will have become more expensive as the rouble has slid in value.
Wealthy Russians have got used to buying everything from jewelry to property in the West, and may not give these up for domestic equivalents too easily.
Catherine Boyle is a writer and correspondent for CNBC