Russia will refuse to participate in the Davos forum if the organizers do not reconsider their decision on restrictions on Russian businessmen, said Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. “If these decisions, which were made in relation to representatives of Russian business, are not changed, then we will have to make a decision to refuse participation of state employees and Russian companies with state participation in the Davos forum. Then no one will go there, ”Medvedev told reporters (quoted by Interfax).
In early November, the Financial Times reported, citing sources, that the organizers of the World Economic Forum in Davos refused to invite Oleg Deripaska (owns En +, which controls aluminum giant UC Rusal), Renova owner Viktor Vekselberg and President of the State Bank, to the forum in 2019. VTB Andrei Kostin. All three in April of this year came under blocking US sanctions, which provide for blacklisting of assets and a ban on US citizens from doing business with them.
“The decision is very strange, if not more, as it was said in the famous Soviet movie. I just spoke on this subject with the president of the Swiss Confederation and said that for us it is surprising, especially since we are talking about a non-governmental organization, ”Medvedev stressed. According to him, the Swiss president promised to make inquiries.
“Deripaska, Kostin and Vekselberg have become what they have become, not thanks to the Davos forum. And the Davos forum became the Davos forum thanks to such businessmen. Therefore, let's say, by rejecting such businessmen, the forum cuts its ground, ”said Dmitry Peskov, press secretary of President Vladimir Putin, commenting on this news.
Official representatives of Russia regularly participate in the Davos Forum since 1992. Russian delegations, as a rule, are headed by the Prime Minister, the First Deputy Prime Minister or the Deputy Prime Minister. In 2008, the delegation was headed by Medvedev, at that time the first deputy prime minister, in 2009, Prime Minister Putin went to Davos. In 2011, the President of Russia took part in the Davos Forum for the first time — then Medvedev took the presidency. In 2013, Medvedev again headed the Russian delegation, already as prime minister. After that, the head of state or government of Russia did not visit Davos.
In January 2019, Putin’s schedule does not coincide with the forum, the president will not go to it, said Peskov last week. “The representation was wide enough, but, probably, it will not be so wide. In the end, this is not the only forum in the world - in this regard, the competition is very strong, and Russia is more than competitive here, ”said a Kremlin spokesman.
FT: Deripaska, Vekselberg and Kostin are “virtually refused” to participate in the Davos forum
There were no legal restrictions on the arrival of Deripaska, Vekselberg and Kostin. According to a man who knows about the decision of the organizers, the refusal to call them to Davos is the result of the “enormous pressure” of Washington. The situation with the Davos forum indicates that international organizations are becoming more and more cautious in contacts with persons involved in the sanction lists, the FT wrote. The directorate for work with corporate participants of the forum “Vedomosti” refused to comment on the situation. The representative of VTB confirmed to Vedomosti that Kostin knows about this decision and is preparing an open letter to the forum participants. The representative of Vekselberg stated only that the businessman has been participating in the forum for the last 20 years. The representative of Deripaska did not respond to the Vedomosti request, and a person close to him told TASS that he did not plan to go to Davos: “He left the business, participation in the forum does not make sense.”
A lawyer working with one of the three Russians explained to Vedomosti that the organizers of the forum are afraid of falling under the secondary sanctions of the United States if they accept payment for participating in the forum from the defendants of the sanction lists. The basic element of Deripaska and VTB were strategic partners of Davos-2017, and the two Renova structures were partners. At official rates, it cost them 600,000 francs. The source "Vedomosti" called these fears unnecessary.