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Minister Assures City on Track for SPIEF

Published: April 30, 2014 (Issue # 1808)



  • Minister of Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev addresses the media at SPIEF’s Apr. 23 press conference.
    Photo: SPIEF

Alexei Ulyukayev, Chairman of the Organizing Committee and the Russian Minister of Economic Development, told assembled media members at a press conference on Apr. 23 that he remains convinced all preparations for the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, or SPIEF, in May will be ready. He also addressed the current political and economic atmosphere, acknowledging that it may influence the event.

During the conference, Ulyukayev emphasized that strengthening ties in the business world and fostering greater trust will be a key component of the event, echoing its stated theme, “Sustaining Confidence in a World Undergoing Transformation.”

Sergei Belyakov, Deputy Minister of Economic Development, and Anatoly Kotov, Chair of the St. Petersburg Committee for Economic Policy and Strategic Planning, also fielded questions about the city’s preparations for the upcoming event.

The forum, which starts May 22, will welcome 142 senior executives from international businesses as well as 115 senior executives from Russian companies for three days of panels and roundtables. However, Ulyukayev emphasized that the forum is not meant to solve vital political issues but rather strengthen business ties.

“There are certain risks, to the extent that we are holding the event not in a very favorable geopolitical environment,” Ulyukayev said before adding, “but we’ve been very attentive.”

Despite frosty political relations between Russia and the West, Ulyukayev stated that the number of companies and participants that have confirmed their participation has in fact risen. During this point last year, 693 participants had confirmed their attendance, while this year, 734 companies have sent in confirmations. The number of senior executives attending has also increased from 2013, with 561 already confirmed.

Goldman Sachs, British Petroleum, CitiBank, Siemens and Hyundai are some of the confirmed foreign companies that will be in attendance this year. Individuals who will be present include Alisher Usmanov, General Director of Gazprom and Russia’s wealthiest man, Joe Kaeser, President and CEO of Siemens AG, Jon Fredrik Baksaas, CEO of Telenor Group, and Vagit Alekperov, President of Lukoil.

Three heads of government, four foreign ministers and five foreign cabinet members are slated to attend as well, although Ulyukayev was unable to provide any names at the time.

Although there will be no specific discussion about the Crimea’s addition to the Russian Federation and how this may affect the economy, Ulyukayev admitted that it would likely be a topic brought up during discussions in the other events.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Tuesday, Jan. 27


Observe the 71st anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad on Palace Square with a free concert at 7 p.m. Listen to WWII-era songs and the poetry of Olga Bergholz while you peruse outdoor exhibitions dedicated to life during wartime. The event is capped off by a fireworks display at 9 p.m.



Stop by the Lexica School of Foreign Languages at 73 Ligovsky Prospekt from now until Friday for a free English lesson. The classes start at 7 p.m. and cover all levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Registration by telephone on 7641692 and a desire to improve your skills are the only prerequisites.



Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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