Kremlin bans Western journalists from Russia’s ‘Davos’

Published June 4, 2023
Participants gather near a screen showing Russian President Vladimir Putin, who delivers a speech at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Saint Petersburg, Russia on June 17, 2022. —  Reuters
Participants gather near a screen showing Russian President Vladimir Putin, who delivers a speech at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Saint Petersburg, Russia on June 17, 2022. — Reuters

MOSCOW: The Kremlin said on Saturday that journalists from “unfriendly countries” would not be allowed into the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, which President Vladimir Putin has used to showcase the Russian economy to global investors.

The forum in St Petersburg, the former imperial capital built by Tsar Peter the Great 300 years ago as a “window” to Europe, has been held since 1997 and is cast by many officials as Russia’s answer to the World Economic Forum held in Davos.

Western journalists have never before been banned from the forum in such a blanket way.

“It has indeed been decided this time not to accredit publications from unfriendly countries to the SPIEF,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS, using the acronym for the forum.

“Interest in SPIEF is always great, all other journalists will work on the site,” Peskov said. “Unfriendly countries” is a definition used by Moscow to describe those who have sanctioned it over the war in Ukraine.

This news agency’s Moscow bureau was told by the organisers of the forum on Friday that accreditation for its journalists had been cancelled after receiving an earlier confirmation of accreditation on Thursday.

When Russia was booming in the 2000s, major Western investors and investment bankers flocked to the forum, seeking a slice of the explosive growth in the first decade of Putin’s rule.

In recent years, though, the Westerners have been replaced by Chinese and Arab investors. Saudi Arabia energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman held talks with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak at the forum last year.

Putin, a former KGB spy who hails from St Petersburg, has said Russia is pivoting to China and Asian powers because the West has unleashed what he says is an economic and hybrid war against Russia aimed at tearing the country apart.

Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2023

Opinion

Editorial

Budget and politics
14 Jun, 2024

Budget and politics

FINANCE MINISTER Muhammad Aurangzeb on Thursday expressed his ‘resolve’ to increase Pakistan’s tax-to-GDP ...
New talks?
14 Jun, 2024

New talks?

WILL this prove another false start, or may we expect a more sincere effort this time? Reference is made to the...
A non-starter
14 Jun, 2024

A non-starter

WHILE the UN Security Council had earlier this week adopted a US-backed resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza...
Budget for stabilisation
Updated 13 Jun, 2024

Budget for stabilisation

The proposed steps lack any “disruptive policy changes", especially to "right-size" the govt, and doubts remain on authorities' ability to enforce new measures.
State of the economy
13 Jun, 2024

State of the economy

THE current fiscal year is but another year lost. Going by the new Pakistan Economic Survey, which maps the state of...
Unyielding onslaught
Updated 13 Jun, 2024

Unyielding onslaught

SEVEN soldiers paid the ultimate price in Lakki Marwat on Sunday when their vehicle was blown up in an IED attack,...