Russia should participate in Davos forum – ex-finance minister

Oleg Deripaska, phot.

Russia should not withdraw from participation in the World Economic Forum in Davos, former finance minister Alexei Kudrin said on Thursday. Earlier, the media reported that the forum organizers consider the presence of several Russian businessmen inappropriate.

“I believe we should not reduce but broaden our contacts with the West, especially with business,” said Kudrin, who is currently Head of the Russian Accounts Chamber.

According to him, it is crucial business contacts be maintained, particularly those related to the development of new ideas. Davos is the place of ‘work on ideas’, he stressed.

“I think that, however, we should participate in it [forum]. Speaking about their decisions on our companies and companies, let’s hope they are temporary and will be canceled soon,” Kudrin said.

Earlier, the Financial Times reported with reference to its own sources, that the Davos organizers actually refused to invite three Russian big business representatives – Oleg Deripaska, Viktor Vekselberg and Andrey Kostin – due to their being sanctioned by the USA. about. The three businessmen were informed that they would not be welcome at the high-profile event in January, FT said.

Previously, the oligarchs regularly visited Davos. Even now – despite US sanctions – there are no legal restrictions preventing their arrival. According to the Russian daily Vedomosti, the refusal to invite them to Davos is the result of Washington’s ‘great pressure’ on the organizers.

Davos organizers may fear that they will be subject to US sanctions if they accept payments for participating in the forum from the blacklisted persons, the daily stated. A company owned by Deripaska and VTB bank (which Kostin is CEO at) were strategic partners of the forum in 2017.

Commenting on the FT publication, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Deripaska, Kostin and Vekselberg ‘became who they are not thanks to Davos’. He also assessed that the Swiss forum ‘is not the only one in the world’, it has very strong competitors, including in Russia. Vladimir Putin will not be present at the forum, as its date (January 22-25) does not fit into the Russian leader’s work schedule, he added.

As of April 2018, Viktor Vekselberg’s assets totalled to $12.4 bn (10th place on Russia’s Forbes list); Oleg Deripaska’s fortune figures up to $5.1 bn (23rd place). following PAP

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