Results of the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum through participants' eyes

The 18th Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) that ran May 22-24 has concluded. Contrary to expectations, over 6 thousand people attended the forum. The main subject for discussion was Russia's pivot to the East. RBTH asked 3 participants to share their thoughts and impressions.

At a meeting with the heads of leading information agencies, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that he was satisfied with the results of the Forum. The first thing that Russia’s head of state noted was the significant rise in the number of participants at SPIEF-2014 compared with previous years.

“We are glad to have established very good contacts with our partners in all areas. Overall, we are satisfied by how relations with our partners are progressing. Many of them have been operating in Russia for years,” said Vladimir Putin.

According to official figures, this year’s event was attended by 6,500 people from 70 countries. There was a noticeable difference in the geographical representation: less of the U.S. and Europe, and more of Asia and developing countries.

The “new guests” at the Forum enjoyed considerable attention: many of the reports on various sections at SPIEF were devoted to Russia’s cooperation with Asian countries. Experts interviewed by RBTH commented that the strengthening of economic ties with the region was not simply due to sanctions, but the general trend towards greater openness in relations with the East.

According to the Russian Ministry of Economic Development, more than 130 agreements worth RUB 269 billion ($7.8 billion) were signed at the Forum. In particular, Lukoil and Total signed an agreement to set up a joint venture for the production of shale oil at the Bazhenov suite. The main newsmaker and leader by number of contracts was Rosneft. The company signed 50 separate agreements and contacts, among them joint research and development ventures, including offshore, with companies from Azerbaijan, Venezuela, India, and Cuba.

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