Putin’s annual economic forum is missing notable Western leaders and executives this year.
Countries attending SPIEF include China, India, and the United Arab Emirates.
2022 marks 25 years of the annual Russian conference, which runs this year from June 15 to June 18.
Putin’s annual economic forum, the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), kicks off on Wednesday but is largely lacking any notable Western attendees.
Most Western leaders and business executives will be missing from the conference amid harsh sanctions against Russia after the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
High-level representatives from 40 nations are expected to attend the conference alongside 1,244 Russian companies and 265 foreign companies, Reuters quoted Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov as saying.
Among the very few Western leaders due to attend is the CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, who is speaking on two occasions. In addition, senior figures from the French-Russian, Italian-Russian Chamber of Commerce, and the Canada Eurasia Chamber of Commerce Industry will also be present, according to the forum’s program.
China, Turkey, India, and the United Arab Emirates are among the nations attending the forum, which has previously played host to Western leaders such as Angela Merkel and ex-IMF chief Christine Lagarde.
Russian officials have attempted to dismiss the lack of European and US delegates and highlight other regions such as China and the Middle East. According to Reuters, Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson told reporters on Tuesday: “Foreign investors are not only from the United States and European Union.”
Representatives for SPIEF didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment made outside of normal working hours.
Insider previously reported that business leaders had concerns about attending the forum due to the sanctions against Russia. Some planned to leave the conference early to avoid Putin’s speech on Friday, while others requested their name tags were covered so that they could not be identified, per reports.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of SPIEF and the conference is set to run from June 15 to June 18.
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