The St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), an event often considered Russia’s response to the World Economic Forum in Davos, will not be open to journalists from “unfriendly countries,” according to the Kremlin. The annual forum, held since 1997, has never before imposed such a blanket ban on Western journalists.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed the decision to TASS news agency, stating that “unfriendly countries” refers to those that have sanctioned Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine. Despite this, Peskov emphasised that interest in SPIEF remains high and that other journalists will be able to attend and report on the event.
The forum, which showcases Russia’s economy to global investors, has seen a shift in recent years from Western investors and investment bankers to Chinese and Arab investors. Last year, Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman held discussions with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak at the forum.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed that the country is pivoting towards China and Asian powers due to the West’s “economic and hybrid” war against Russia. He praised the forum in 2021 for uniting people from different countries and promoting the sharing of experience and groundbreaking accomplishments in science and technology.
The SPIEF is scheduled to take place from June 14 to 17 this year.
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