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Motives Behind Russian Economic Forum Boycott Laid Bare

In today’s Financial Times:

Observer: Doing it their way By James Wilson The Kremlin yesterday continued to deny that it ordered a boycott by senior Russian officials and oligarchs of London’s Russian Economic Forum, for years the premier Russian business conference. But Itar-Tass, the state-owned news agency, gave an account that betrayed official Moscow’s attitude and could have come straight from the days when the agency was plain Tass, a Russian acronym for the Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union. “In recent years the Russian Economic Forum has lost its significance and is no longer a key event in defining economic co-operation between Russia and western capital,” the news agency explained in a dispatch. Russia’s internal markets, not the London markets, now played the decisive role in investment decisions in Russia. “And precisely because of this, it has become a logical step for the centre of gravity to shift from London to St Petersburg, where the St Petersburg Economic Forum will take place this summer.” The Kremlin has teamed up with the World Economic Forum to try to turn the St Petersburg event into a “Russian Davos”. Expect to see Russsian president Vladimir Putin lead a phalanx of Russian ministers and businessmen at the event in June.