Two years later, the Kremlin finally managed to break through reputation a blockade in which Russia was in 2014. If two years ago the St. Petersburg international economic forum (SPIEF) was held at the half-empty classrooms, and arrived on it representatives of the Western business at home considered almost lepers, now the situation is opposite. Organizers worried that the participants, whose number has increased to 10 thousand people will be crowded even on a new, more spacious site (this year SPIEF moved to Vasilievsky island in the area of Pulkovo), and Parking can’t accommodate everyone VIP. Even had to introduce a special restriction — 59 thousand RUB over the Parking lot next to the doors of the Congress centre.
The intention to travel to St. Petersburg, said not only big companies with a history of collaboration with Russia, and executives of international investment funds, managing a total capital of $ 10 trillion. All, according to Putin aide Yuri Ushakov, the forum will be attended by 230 businessmen from around the world. And instead of one guest star, in a role which last year was made by the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, on the shores of the Neva shed a meteor shower. Already on Wednesday evening Putin in an informal setting to dine with his old friend, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who on June 16 will take part in the discussion about the relationship between Russia and the EU. Over the next two days scheduled to meet the Russian leader, the presidents of Kazakhstan and Guinea, the UN Secretary-General ban Ki-moon and special envoy for Syria Stefan De Mistura, the Prime Minister of Italy MATEO Renzi, as well as the head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker. (In the list of VIP-guests are also 8 Vice-presidents and Vice-premiers of the various States and 35 invited Ministers). And the event with the participation of Juncker’s difficult to call a formal contact on the run, as it tried to present themselves to officials. According to Ushakov, the meeting will begin with a private tete-a-tete, and then to Putin and European Commission President will be joined by members of delegations, in particular, responsible for relations with the EU, Minister of economic development Alexei Ulyukayev. Will be discussed the whole range of topics — from mutual trade to regional conflicts (Ukraine) and the project “Northern stream-2”. In the Kremlin expect that the subject of sanctions in anticipation of discussion at the European Commission (it will be in July) will raise Juncker himself. “We have this question not put, as I don’t want to beg. When partners are ready to make steps to meet us, we will take retaliatory measures to deal with counter-sanctions,” — said Ushakov. He said that cadets in the Konstantinovsky Palace are expected not only talks, but also a working lunch.
In General, the Kremlin expects to discuss on the forum will no longer be sanctions (this was key in 2014-2015), and cooperation in the era of postsince because the majority of participants there is a sense that mutual restrictions will be lifted before the end of the year. With a view to the resumption of full-scale dialogue with the West and formulated the motto of the forum “On the threshold of a new economic reality.” According to representatives of the European companies, they practically experienced pressure from their own governments and partners from the USA, taking a decision about trip to St Petersburg. Indirect confirmation that the ice is broken, may serve the planned meeting between Vladimir Putin and the largest investor in Russia’s economy — Ben van Bearden from shell.
Putin on the forum “Italian midday”. Italy is the only country that was awarded the opportunity to build on the forum’s own pavilion — its GDP will be examined along with Matteo Renzi. Negotiations, according to Ushakov, it is planned to involve representatives of business circles of both countries, and after Putin and Renzi will hold a press-conference on which it will be possible to sum up the first results of the forum.
According to Dmitry Peskov, the President began preparations for SPIEF last Friday — so long (almost 6 days!) he is not prepared even to straight lines with the Russians. However, since star is now clearly favored by Russia, it is clear Putin’s desire not to miss the moment.
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