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SPIEF Hit With Attendance Drop

Published: May 22, 2014 (Issue # 1811)



  • Despite the recent number of cancellations, the forum will still host over 6,500 participants at the Lenexpo center.
    Photo: for SPT

Despite a number of cancellations, the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum will still host more than 6,500 participants led by an impressive number of high-ranking representatives from some of the worlds leading companies.

Christophe de Margerie, CEO of energy giant Total SA, confirmed last week that he will visit the forum at the annual meeting of the companys shareholders in Paris, saying that he had attended nearly all the past economic forums in St. Petersburg and would not ignore the upcoming one.

Going away from politics is a good method to calm the situation down to some extent, de Margerie said, Russkaya Sluzhba Novostei radio station reported. Olaf G. Koch, CEO of Metro AG Germany, also confirmed his attendance.

The list of other VIPs who have confirmed their attendance includes Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen, President and CEO of Carlsberg Group, Donald James Umpleby III, Group President of Caterpillar Inc., Franck Riboud, Chairman and CEO of Danone, and Kim Jung Rae, President and Chief Operating Officer of Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd.

Frans van Houten, CEO of Royal Philips Electronics NV, Robert Dudley, Group Chief Executive Officer of BP Plc, and Mike Nolte, Vice President of Mercedes-Benz Russia SAO will also attend the forum.

However, Russians will make up the majority of the number attending with Russian President Vladimir Putin leading the forum.

Other leading Russian businessmen scheduled to attend include Oleg Deripaska, Chairman of the Management Board and General Director of UC RUSAL, which produces aluminum, German Gref, President and Chairman of the Management Board of Sberbank, Andrey Akimov, Chairman of the Management Board of Gazprombank OJSC, and Vagit Alekperov, President of Lukoil and others.

In total, over 6,500 official delegations from 62 countries will take part in the forum. The forum will also host 146 heads of the largest foreign companies in the world and 450 leading Russian companies, St. Petersburg governor Georgy Poltavchenko said, reported Rossiiskaya Gazeta .

Poltavchenko also said out of those who applied to participate and confirmed their attendance, 70 percent were from Europe and the U.S.

Despite hosting more than 6,500 people, with 25 percent of them being journalists, the number of participants in this years forum is still smaller than last year, when the event saw 7,190 people in attendance, including 176 heads of the biggest foreign companies and 436 Russian companies. Approximately 102 agreements amounting to a total of 9.6 trillion rubles ($276.3 billion) were signed at last years forum, reported Rossiiskaya Gazeta.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

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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