Russia’s economic forum to be far smaller but moves forward

Jun 15, 2022, 1:57 AM | Updated: 8:00 am
FILE - A worker cleans a speaker's podium as Russian President Vladimir Putin seen on a screen in t...

FILE - A worker cleans a speaker's podium as Russian President Vladimir Putin seen on a screen in the background at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 4, 2021. Russia’s showpiece investment gathering begins Thursday, June 16, 2022 and organizers are telling foreign participants to be sure to bring cash — not necessarily for making investments, but for spending money. The advice for the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum is a quiet acknowledgment of the economic difficulties Russia faces as it tries to promote itself to international businesses. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, file)

(AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, file)

MOSCOW (AP) — Organizers of Russia’s showpiece investment gathering are telling foreign participants to be sure to bring cash — not necessarily for making investments, but for spending money.

With Russia under wide sanctions after sending troops into Ukraine, most foreign bank cards don’t work in the country. The advice for those at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which starts Wednesday and runs through Saturday, is a quiet acknowledgment of the economic difficulties Russia faces as it tries to promote itself to international businesses.

The attendance list is another sign of Russia’s uncertain economic prospects. As of early June, about 2,700 business representatives from 90 countries were expected to attend — far below the 13,500 participants from 140 countries reported last year.

Organizers did not provide a list of foreign businesses attending, but the program for the more than 100 panel discussions showed few speakers from outside Russia. Some were from China, and the trade minister of the United Arab Emirates was scheduled. Denis Pushilin, leader of the Ukrainian separatist Donetsk People’s Republic, announced he plans to attend.

The forum, often characterized as Russia’s analogue of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, aims to portray the country as orderly and full of attractive opportunities for clever and adventurous investors. This year’s program carries the theme to an extent that is overly optimistic for Russia’s straitened circumstances.

Several sessions focus on developing Russia’s tourist potential, despite the difficulty of foreigners even getting to the country amid flight bans by Western countries. Another session proclaims Russia as “The Land of Opportunity” but its introduction complains that “the policy of ‘abolishing Russian culture’ abroad, closing borders and interruption of banking services makes it difficult to choose Russia as a place to study or work.”

Less than four months after wide-ranging sanctions were imposed and hundreds of foreign companies pulled out of Russia, the full effect on the Russian economy is unclear.

Shuttered storefronts give Moscow’s shopping malls a foreboding atmosphere, but officials claim Russian entrepreneurs can step in to revive the consumer economy — as shown over the weekend when a Russian tycoon opened the first of the restaurants he bought from McDonald’s.

There was another reminder of how economic ties to the West have been cut Wednesday as Swedish furniture giant Ikea — which suspended its Russia operations in March — said it would now seek to “find new ownership” for its four factories there. On the retail side, “the workforce will be reduced, meaning that many co-workers will be affected,” Ikea said.

The ruble, after losing half its value in the early days of the Ukraine conflict, has strengthened to levels not seen in several years after Russia imposed strict financial measures like capital controls, a heartening image for Russians but possibly a long-term problem making exports more expensive.

One of the most closely watched sessions at the forum is likely to be Thursday’s panel on Russia’s economic prospects featuring heavyweights including Finance Minister Anton Siluanov and Elvira Nabiullina, head of Russia’s central bank.

Nabiullina so far has given ambiguous assessments, saying recently that “the effects of the sanctions are less acute than we feared … but it is premature to say that the full effect of the sanctions has manifested itself.”

One of the forum’s most popular events won’t be held: President Vladimir Putin’s question-and-answer session with executives of major international news organizations. Instead, he will meet with the heads of Russian news media and “front-line reporters” from Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

A representative of the Taliban also is expected, although Russia formally designates the Taliban as a terrorist group. Kremlin spokesman Peskov said this didn’t mean Russia would recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.

“There is no talk of recognizing (the Taliban),” Peskov said Wednesday. “However, there are many humanitarian problems that obligate many countries to come into contact with representatives of the Taliban,” he added.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


President Joe Biden speaks before signing into law S. 2938, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act gu...
Associated Press

Biden signs landmark gun measure, says ‘lives will be saved’

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Saturday signed the most sweeping gun violence bill in decades, a bipartisan compromise that seemed unimaginable until a recent series of mass shootings, including the massacre of 19 students and two teachers at a Texas elementary school. “Lives will be saved,” he said at the White House. Citing […]
7 hours ago
FILE - This Sept. 20, 2017, file photo shows a sign at the Disney store on the Champs Elysees Avenu...
Associated Press

Abortion ruling thrusts companies into divisive arena

The Supreme Court’s decision to end the nation’s constitutional protections for abortion has catapulted businesses of all types into the most divisive corner of politics. Some companies that stayed silent last month — when a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito was leaked to Politico — spoke up for the first time Friday, including The […]
7 hours ago
Associated Press

A roof over their head: Churches use tiny homes for homeless

Churches across the U.S. are tackling the big question of how to address homelessness in their communities with a small solution: tiny homes. On vacant plots near their parking lots and steepled sanctuaries, congregations are building everything from fixed and fully contained micro homes to petite, moveable cabins, and several other styles of small-footprint dwellings […]
7 hours ago
Flowers are left at the scene of a shooting in central Oslo, Saturday, June 25, 2022. Norwegian pol...
Associated Press

Gunman kills 2 during Oslo Pride festival; terror suspected

OSLO, Norway (AP) — A gunman opened fire in Oslo’s night-life district early Saturday, killing two people and leaving more than 20 wounded in what Norwegian security service called an “Islamist terror act” during the capital’s annual Pride festival. Investigators said the suspect, identified as a 42-year-old Norwegian citizen originally from Iran, was arrested after […]
7 hours ago
In this combo photo, protesters gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 20...
Associated Press

Two months of waiting, and finally a Supreme Court ruling

Follow the links in this story to recent AP coverage about abortion over the last three months. ___ And so the interminable wait after the leak of the decision overturning Roe v. Wade has come to an end — nearly two months in which abortion and all of its complexities have been have been hashed […]
7 hours ago
With tear gas in the air, a large number of police surround the Arizona Capitol after protesters re...
Associated Press

Police at Arizona Capitol fire tear gas, disperse protesters

PHOENIX (AP) — Police fired tear gas to disperse anti-abortion demonstrators from outside the Arizona Capitol Friday night, forcing lawmakers to huddle briefly in a basement inside the building as they rushed to complete their 2022 session. Thousands of protesters had gathered earlier on the Capitol grounds in Phoenix, divided into groups both supporting and […]
7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Russia’s economic forum to be far smaller but moves forward