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WARSAW, May 15. /ITAR-TASS/. Numerous refusals by foreign top executives to come to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) will not affect the event’s quality, Russian Deputy Minister of Economic Development Sergei Belyakov told ITAR-TASS on Thursday.
The forum’s program would remain unchanged, and there has been a relevant replacement for each official who has refused to come, he added. Their companies have not declined to participate and will be represented by proxies.
This was “an unpleasant situation”, said Belyakov, not in terms of risks for the forum but because it indicated that doing business in Russia implied the possibility of such a pressure on senior executives by their countries’ authorities.
“It is especially unpleasant for these companies’ executives. They feel uncomfortable because they need to show us up,” he said. “We’ll get over it, while they will think about who they can cooperate with more conveniently.” Despite the refusals, the Russian side has sent each of the officials a letter saying their decision was a loss for Russia but they should not fear any sanctions or negative reactions.