LONDON, April 10 (RIA Novosti, Alexander Smotrov) - An 8th Russian Economic Forum is opening in London tonight with a Hotel Intercontinental gala reception, reports the organizing committee.

Basic sessions are scheduled for April 11 and 12. Tomorrow night will be memorable with the Russian Rhapsody-an unprecedented gala show to involve the world's topmost performers. His Royal Highness Prince Andrew The Duke of York will appear as guest of honor.

The Russian Economic Forum is a major annual conference of the Russian and Western business communities. The forum aims to maintain and promote a positive public image of Russia's Big Biz and government reforms, attract capital investment to Russia, and develop civilized Russia-West business contacts.

The forums always represent foremost manufacturing companies, corporations, investment banks, government organizations, business leagues and media outlets based in Russia and in Western countries.

Many VIPs have for now confirmed prospective participation. Prominent among them are Viktor Khristenko, Russia's Industry and Energy Minister; Leonid Reiman, Information Technologies and Communications Minister; Anatoly Chubais, RAO UES (Unified Russian Power Grid) Board Chairman; Purnomo Yusgiantoro, OPEC President and Indonesia's Energy Minister; Peter Mandelson, European Union Commissioner for Trade; Ken Livingston, Lord Mayor of London; Valentina Matviyenko, St. Petersburg governor; Jim Mulva, ConocoPhillips board chairman; Viktor Vekselberg, TNK-BP managing director; Malcolm Brinded, Royal Dutch/Shell managing director; Pyotr Aven, president of the Moscow-based Alfa Bank; Semyon Vainshtok, Transneft petroleum company president; and Yevgeny Novitsky, Systema Corp. Directors' Board chairman.

Forum plenary sessions will concern the oil-and-gas sector, iron-and-steel and non-ferrous metal industries, finance markets, transport, regional development, capital investment, electric power industry, telecommunications, and corporate management.

Newsmen have never displayed such tremendous interest in the Russian Economic Forum as now. More than 2,000 participants and 380 journalists have accredited for now, said Sergei Kolushev, forum organizer.

The 8th forum enjoys support from the United Kingdom's Department of Trade and Industry, the Confederation of British Industry, the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs and certain other major organizations.

RIA Novosti comes out as 8th Russian Economic Forum information sponsor.

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