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CEO Cancellations No Setback for Forum

Published: May 14, 2014 (Issue # 1810)



  • PepsiCos Indra Nooyi is one of the CEOs who have reportedly decided against attending SPIEF.
    Photo: World Economic Forum / Wikimedia Commons

The Russian Ministry of Economic Development has said that the decision by some international companies to cancel their participation in the upcoming St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, or SPIEF, from May 22 to 24 will not directly affect their relationship with the Russian government.

We reject any dialogue that involves putting pressure on businesses, blatant blackmail, or threats, said Sergei Belyakov, Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, as reported on the ministrys website last week.

We will not close the door to the Russian economy and the Russian market for those companies which will not be coming. We will, of course, assist them andcan therefore assure these companies that this will have no effect on our relationship with them, he said.

Belyakov also stated that approximately 15 percent of company directors who originally registered to participate in the forum had pulled out. However, he also said that many companies had explained their decision by citing pressure put on them by the U.S. government following the recent sanctions placed on Russia.

Last week, Russian daily newspaper Izvestia reported that at least 34 top managers from foreign companies had canceled their registration to the forum after recommendations released by the U.S. government last week to do so due to the Ukrainian crisis. In fact, most of these managers are from American companies then followed by managers from the U.K. and Germany, reported Izvestia.

Izvestia also published a list of names of the managers who had allegedly pulled out, a list that includes John Faraci, CEO of International Paper Company, Siemens president Joe Kaeser, Alcoa CEO Klaus Kleinfeld, PepsiCos Indra Nooyi and Deutsche Bank co-chairman Juergen Fitschen.

However, a spokesman for Deutsche Bank said the list was inaccurate.

Juergen Fitschen had never confirmed his participation in the forum, as its opening coincides with the banks annual general meeting in Germany on May 22, spokesman Dmitry Agishev told AFP.

According to a New York Times report last week, the White House has been pressuring chief executives from some of Americas largest energy, financial and industrial corporations to cancel their plans to attend the forum, which will be hosted by President Vladimir Putin.

The report said that top executives from giant companies such as Alcoa, Goldman Sachs, PepsiCo, Morgan Stanley, ConocoPhillips and other multinational companies that do business in Russia have either pulled out of the conference or plan to do so after an intensive lobbying campaign by President Obamas advisers.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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