MOSCOW, June 21. /TASS/. U.S. President Barack Obama did everything in his power to convince everybody not to go to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), but his attempts have failed, Chairman of the State Duma lower house Education Committee and foreign policy expert Vyacheslav Nikonov said on Tuesday.
"He (Obama) did his utmost in an attempt to make Russia look like a big blank spot on the map of the planet. He did his best to persuade everybody not to go to our forum in St. Petersburg," the parliamentarian said, adding that this plan has "failed brilliantly."
Nikonov noted that SPIEF 2016 "was record-setting in terms of the number of participants," with agreements worth around 1 trillion rubles ($15 billion) signed at it."
"The forum was a huge success," the lawmaker added.
"Despite Obama’s warnings, people eventually came to St. Petersburg, because they look at the physical map of the world and see there one-eighth of the land, which is larger in area than all the Western countries involved in anti-Russian sanctions," he went on to say. "They look at the political map of the world and see there a country that is a member of the UN Security Council, a nucleus of the biggest integration associations - BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). They look at the economic map of the world and see there the planet’s fifth economy, which is becoming increasingly more self-sufficient."
The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum is an annual event dedicated to economic and business issues first held in 1997. SPIEF 2016 was held on June 16-18.