Russia: St. Petersburg International Economic Forum Begins

Delegations from 136 countries are participating in the annual event in Russia. Vladimir Putin will deliver a speech on June 7

Vladimir Putin

The International Economic Forum (SPIEF), an annual event that will bring together representatives of 136 countries from today through June 8, has begun in St. Petersburg. As Yuri Ushakov, Advisor to the Russian President, said at the press conference, “this year, the Forum gathers a very broad Russian and international representation. To date, delegations from 136 countries have been confirmed to participate.” Ushakov also noted that government representatives from more than 45 countries are attending the annual event, including Bolivian President Luis Arce, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, and President of Republika Srpska (Serbian entity Bosnia and Herzegovina) Milorad Dodik. Prime Minister of the Central African Republic Felix Moloua is expected in St. Petersburg as well. The forum will also be attended by representatives of China, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Hungary, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Vietnam, and many others.

The central event of the forum will be the plenary session on June 7, during which Russian President Vladimir Putin will share his vision of the situation in the global economy, politics, and trade. “In his speech,” Ushakov explained to reporters, “the Russian president will share his vision of the current situation in the global economy and politics, as well as assess the problems currently facing the international financial and trade system. Later, of course, he will discuss the state of Russia’s economy and assess its functioning under the conditions of the special military operation,” Ushakov said, adding that “Putin will also answer questions from attendees on international issues, including the situation in Ukraine.”

The plenary session will be preceded by a day of meetings between Putin and various international representatives. A summit with Bolivian President Luis Arce has been confirmed, during which the two leaders will discuss the development of bilateral cooperation. The presidents will meet in both limited and visiting delegations. According to Bolivian Communications Minister Gabriela Alcon, Arce is the “special guest” of the event and will present Bolivia’s economic model to Putin, after which he will conduct dialogue with Russian and international entrepreneurs interested in investing in this Latin American country.

Also on June 6, on the sidelines of the SPIEF forum, the Russian president will meet with his Zimbabwean counterpart Emmerson Mnangagwa. “The talks will be in the same format: first one-on-one, then negotiations with delegations,” Ushakov specified.

The St. Petersburg forum is also an opportunity for BRICS member countries to “fine-tune” their positions ahead of the ministerial meeting to be held in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, on June 10 and 11. It was announced that Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, who during his visit to China announced Turkey’s intention to join BRICS, will also attend the meeting. According to Turkey’s Anadolu news agency, the Kremlin welcomed “the growing interest in BRICS from neighboring states, including such important partners as Turkey.” The BRICS group, originally composed of Brazil, Russia, India, China (2006), and then South Africa (2011), admitted five new members in early 2024: Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

And on June 6, on the sidelines of SPIEF, Putin will meet with Dilma Rousseff, president of the New Development Bank (NDB), the BRICS financial institution. As Ushakov specified, the meeting will be devoted to the bank’s participation in financing various projects, including those in Russia. “We have questions about the activities of this bank, in the formation of which we were directly involved,” the Kremlin leader’s adviser finally emphasized.

To download the SPIEF brochure (PDF in English) from the Pluralia website, please follow the link.