SPIEF 2023 Forum: Billion Dollar Agreements for the Sustainable Development of Greater Eurasia

Kremlin: “Russia is by no means isolated; when one directive is closed, many others open immediately.”

At the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia signed agreements and memorandums of understanding with several countries of Southeast Asia regarding the construction of wind farms and a latest-generation nuclear power plant. An agreement was reached with China on the supply of 3.5 million tons of mineral fertilizers per year.

The central event of the third and penultimate working day of the 26th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF-2023) was the long-awaited speech by President Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin leader analyzed the impact of the Russian military operation in Ukraine on the Russian economy, on foreign trade, assessed the current situation and development prospects of the country, which has been under unprecedented Western sanctions for more than a year.

According to Putin, the last months have been very difficult, at times dramatic, but Russian companies and the Russian economic and financial system as a whole have more than clearly demonstrated their ability to resist the “illegitimate sanctions policy of the United States and its allies.” This year, despite the sanctions, Russia’s GDP should increase by 1-2%, while in 2024 the growth could reach 4%. “The past year has demonstrated that many countries of the world do not share in the least the political and economic line of the United States,” emphasized the Russian president, according to whom “Russia has always been and will always remain an integral part of the world economy.”

The SPIEF Forum that has been held annually in St. Petersburg since 1997 (with the exception of 2020, when the event was canceled due to the Covid pandemic) represents one of the political, economic, and most significant events in the world. This year, 17,000 people from approximately 130 countries and regions of the world arrived in St. Petersburg. The work of the 26th Forum – 200 events, including round tables, plenary sessions, and workshops – was divided into six main topics: “Business Dialogue,” “The World Economy at a Global Turn,” “Building Technological Sovereignty,” “Protection of the Population and Quality of Life as a Primary Task,” “Labor Market: Response to New Challenges,” and, finally, “The Russian Economy: from Adaptation to growth.”

Before arriving at the conference center in St. Petersburg, President Putin had a lengthy meeting tete-a-tete with President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, one of Russia’s major trade partners in the Arab world. Last year, trade between the two countries grew by 68 percent compared to 2021. The UAE is an honored guest of the St. Petersburg Forum. The Abu Dhabi delegation is the largest and is led by Economy Minister Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri.

“Russia is by no means isolated: when one directive is closed, many others are immediately opened,” Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said. Yesterday, the Russian state nuclear energy agency Rosatom signed two memorandums of understanding, one of which provides for the construction of a state-of-the-art nuclear power plant in Sri Lanka and the other one concerns construction of a wind farm in Myanmar, with a generating capacity of 172 megawatts of electricity. In addition, a decision was made on the participation of the Chinese chemical-industrial group CNCEC in the implementation of the project on a maxi-plant for the production of methanol in Volgograd (former Stalingrad). Finally, the Russian chemical industry giant Uralkali signed a memorandum of understanding with five Chinese companies to export 3.5 million tons of chemical fertilizers per year.