This year St. Petersburg economic forum, often described as the “Russian Davos”, was held just days before the EU was expected to prolong its sanctions against Russia for another six months, originally imposed two years ago in response to the conflict in Ukraine.
In a fresh attempt to put more pressure on Russia and not to backtrack on the US-led sanction’s crusade, State Department spokesman Mark Toner grimly warned that the companies opting for doing business in Russia were taking commercial and reputational risks. “The US government won’t be present at this forum at any level,” Toner told the Interfax news agency.
However, St. Petersburg gathering of 500 leading business people from 60 countries who were eager to discuss a plethora of issues united by one theme – ‘Capitalizing on the New Global Economic Reality’ – came up with a strong message to the Western leaders, revealing growing uneasiness and frustration over the arbitrarily imposed taboo on doing business with Russia.
To discuss this in more detail we are joined by Vladimir Ivanov, Head of the EastWest Institute in Russia; Pekka Viljakainnen, Finnish businessman and senior advisor to President at Skolkovo Foundation; and Paolo Salom, political commentator at Corriere della Sera paper.