Russia forges ahead with International Economic Forum despite Ukraine crisis – OpEd – Eurasia Review

Despite the Russian-Ukrainian crisis going from bad to worse, with a visible geopolitical impact, the historic city of Saint Petersburg is preparing for the International Economic Forum in mid-June. Entitled “New Opportunities in a New World”, it will take place from June 15 to 18 at the ExpoForum convention and exhibition center.

Amid harsh sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union, organizers decided to focus on countries in Asia-Pacific and Africa. The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) 2022 marks its 25th anniversary, with Egypt playing honorary status as a guest organizer and participant in the Silver Jubilee.

According to reports, Egypt will simultaneously contribute to the preliminary preparations for the second Russia-Africa summit scheduled for the third quarter of this year. This honorary status involves the organization of a whole series of events within the framework of the commercial and cultural programs.

In late April, St. Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov told the annual report to the legislature that interest was relatively low for this year’s forum. “I would like to inform: 69 countries have confirmed their participation in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in June. Applications also continue to pour in. The economic forum will definitely take place,” Beglov assured.

Naturally, due to Covid-19, there have been disruptions over the previous two years. But 2019 brought together a record number of participants: more than 19,000 people from 145 countries, with 1,300 guests representing business leaders. During this year, for the first time, SPIEF brought together representatives from countries such as Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Nepal, Niger, San Marino, Somalia and Eswatini.

The Speaker of the State Duma (the lower house of parliament), Vyacheslav Volodin, recently pointed out that Western foreign companies will soon be replaced by Asian companies. According to Volodin, foreign companies have to decide on their activities in Russia. “The main thing is to have certainties. If they are ready to continue their work, we will not deport anyone because our country is open, we welcome investments in our economy,” Volodin stressed.

Experts contacted by IDN acknowledged that SPIEF’22 seriously targets Eurasian countries, including former Soviet republics, because Russia’s policy is to strengthen the Greater Eurasian Union. The new reality highlights the need to support the Greater Eurasia Partnership, which will consist of distinct sub-regional partnerships, a kind of building blocks of the future pan-Eurasian construction, based on the common interest of the participants and the mutualization of technology, logistics and infrastructure proposals.

“The union of the efforts of the Eurasian states to solve global problems and support their economies during the difficult period of the coronavirus pandemic has already shown its effectiveness. Today, the world faces new challenges and threats of fragmentation, which can only be overcome through partnerships that are both based on mutual interests and focused on sustainable development.

“In the long term, the countries that will be able to build the most favorable relations between themselves, creating the basis for a future Greater Eurasia partnership, will win,” said Andrey Slepnev, member of the Trade Council (Minister). of the Eurasian Economic Commission.

At the end of last year, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) turned 30. Integration within the CIS would have proved its viability. “Today, the IEC is not just a platform for dialogue, but a real working instrument to support and develop historically established trade, economic and humanitarian ties,” an official source said.

In the post-Soviet space, various integration formats, such as the Union State of Russia and Belarus and the Eurasian Economic Union, operate at the same time. However, they are not mutually exclusive but complement each other on multi-level and multi-speed integration, providing partners with the flexibility to choose trade directions across the Commonwealth.

“All trade unions in the post-Soviet space aim to develop broad multilateral cooperation between countries. Today, the role of integration processes in the economy becomes more important in overcoming the negative consequences of the pandemic and in building new economic models under new conditions,” said Sergey Lebedev, Chairman of the Executive Committee – Chairman executive of the CEI.

During the sessions, experts will discuss whether the post-Soviet space can be considered as a kind of global laboratory of integration processes. They will discuss the place of these processes in global economic relations, what progressive integration looks like for post-Soviet countries and the areas of interaction within the CIS that should become essential given these processes of development. integration and foreign policy and the overall economic situation. in the region and around the world.

The first component titled “The New Economic Order: Responding to the Challenges of the Age” will feature sessions on economic recovery and international cooperation within the framework of the SCO, BRICS and the Eurasian Economic Union. Other topics in this track are dedicated to the transformation of global trade and business efficiency in the new economic reality.

The second part “The Russian economy: new objectives and horizons” is devoted to the challenges facing the country. Its sessions will cover the transition from a crisis relief program to stimulating the economy’s long-term potential, as well as the development of Russia’s financial market, research and technology space and the country’s fundamental industries. .

“The global challenges we face are now setting new rules. New challenges always mean new opportunities. This agenda covering all key areas of development of the country and the state only proves that SPIEF will again bring together representatives of Russian and international business communities, government agencies and public organizations in search of opportunities of mutually beneficial cooperation and partnership,” said Anton Kobyakov, Advisor to Vladimir, President of the Russian Federation and Executive Secretary of the SPIEF Organizing Committee.

Discussions under the theme “Modern Technology for Humanity: Building a Responsible Future” will cover topics of international cooperation in the areas of science, digital sovereignty and security, digitization of healthcare and digital technology. ethics of technology.

Participants in the business sessions under the theme “Investment in development as investment in people” will discuss the cultural codes of the new reality, the development of human capital, as well as the new models of skills and employment in the post-COVID world. Still other sessions under this track will cover the development of creative industries, sports and education.

SPIEF will also organize its traditional business dialogues by country with representatives of business communities from Africa, the Middle East, Egypt, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, China, America Latin America, Belarus, Europe and the EAEU-ASEAN trade dialogue.

SPIEF takes place every year and since 2006 it has been held under the patronage and with the participation of the President of the Russian Federation. Meanwhile, as a direct result of the “special military operation” launched on February 24, Russia has been subject to a series of sanctions imposed by the United States and Canada, the European Union, Japan , Australia, New Zealand and a host of other countries.