July 2, 2022

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Vladimir Putin's "Russian Davos" Economic Forum in Saint Petersburg is indeed a big and sad mess

Vladimir Putin’s “Russian Davos” Economic Forum in Saint Petersburg is indeed a big and sad mess

Russian President Vladimir Putin The annual economic forum kicked off on Wednesday with a dramatically shrunk guest list, as Russia battles sanctions to unleash its… The war in Ukraine Lots of excuses from Putin’s advisers as to why the forum has fallen short this year.

Whereas in previous years, leaders from all over the world from both the public and private sectors flocked to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), a kind of “Russian Davos,” to outsmart Russia’s elite financial class, this year’s attendees have had the list scattered.

A number of notable attendees range from the Taliban to Putin’s right-hand man in Belarus, Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, whose presence was no surprise. The president of Kazakhstan – which, like Belarus, is a member of the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Russian version of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – was scheduled to speak at the conference’s plenary session.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is also preparing to hold a video conference with the conference.

One of the conference staff said, “This is my fifth year working at the Forum, and the atmosphere has never been this tense.” Moscow Times.

SPIEF was launched as a means to stimulate foreign investment in 1997. The conference, now celebrating its 25th anniversary, is proclaiming itself this year as “one of the world’s largest and most important business events” and a “leading international conference event.”

But the undercurrent in the conference is that something is wrong. Yuri Ushakov, Putin’s foreign policy adviser, said that only “friendly” countries would send delegations this year amid the war. Vedomosti. According to Ushakov, the largest delegation and “guest” will come from Egypt.

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tried to defend the reduced conference.

“Foreign investors are not only from the United States and the European Union,” Peskov said. Reuters.

“It is difficult to get to Saint Petersburg for objective reasons,” Ushakov admitted, possibly referring to the fact that many Western countries have a lot of restricted Airspace Russian aircraft due to Putin’s war in Ukraine.

Many business leaders worry that attending the conference will signal them as targets for more Western sanctions, Bloomberg mentioned.

Even the conference program lists are very close. The program of the Forum hardly refers to the war in Ukraine, on the one hand it refers to the “new conditions” and, on the other hand, to the “new environment” of the Russian financial sector. The program laments “sanctions against Russia” and asks many desperate questions, such as “How will the Russian financial system develop under the new conditions?” and “How can we stimulate investment in the Russian economy?”

According to the Biden administration, Putin could end the war.

But the program continues. The resilience and resilience of the Russian financial system has been “tested” by the sanctions that the United States and Western countries have imposed on Russia to wage war in Ukraine, the program notes – without mentioning the war.

The program even acknowledges how vulnerable Russia’s cybersecurity sector has been as a result of the invasion of Ukraine.

“The rapid exit of companies and ecosystems from Russia has demonstrated how weak our cyber resilience can be,” the program said, bemoaning a statement from US National Security Agency Director General Paul Nakasone, who also leads the Pentagon’s offensive cyber unit, Cyber ​​Command that confirmed the administration’s Biden has Run offensive operations In support of Ukraine.

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The program notes that “allegations of the US Cyber ​​Command about its participation in cyber-attacks carried out from inside Ukraine are also disturbing.”

The downgraded economic forum in Russia will end with statements from Putin himself. Ushakov said he plans to deliver a speech focused on trying to boost “foreign investment and trade relations.”