The 25th anniversary edition of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum concluded in Saint Petersburg on Saturday. It demonstrated Russia’s economic sovereignty and underlined the forum’s status as a popular venue for discussions of global world order issues, according to Anton Kobyakov, Adviser to the President of the Russian Federation and Executive Secretary of the Organizing Committee of SPIEF.
“The main thing that the SPIEF has demonstrated, in our view, is Russia’s self-sufficiency, economic sovereignty, and security against external pressure and all kinds of blackmail. … The SPIEF has basically underlined its status as a popular international venue for discussions of global questions regarding the world order. It is important, since the world has already become multipolar,” Mr. Kobyakov said at the follow-up session.
The forum’s extensive four-day business program included 214 events; the plenary session featured the heads of four states—China, Egypt, Kazakhstan, and Russia. Mr. Kobyakov pointed out that the stated number of events was huge, taking into account the limited ExpoForum area. He highlighted, “It’s probably the third time that I’ve pointed out that we don’t fit into the ExpoForum format. … We need a second lot of some sort. Therefore, I’m now addressing Saint Petersburg authorities and asking to support the organizers’ initiative and expand the ExpoForum area at least twofold. We don’t fit into it anymore.”
The SPIEF economic outcomes are among the most important ones. This year, 691 agreements worth 5.6 trillion rubles were signed at the forum, which means that the worth was significantly higher than that of last year’s event (3.8 trillion rubles).
Despite complicated political circumstances, the number of SPIEF participants has increased by one thousand people since last year, reaching 14 thousand people. Efim Lesman, an 87-year-old correspondent at the Light and Engineering (Svetotekhnika) journal who has been participating in the SPIEF since the late 1990’s, said in conversation with TASS that the number of participants had been growing year by year.
“In my opinion, each edition has had its highlights. … There are many new and interesting things at this year’s forum as well. I’m particularly excited about the fact that different regions of Russia are represented at the forum, and I cannot prioritize any of them, they’re all very interesting,” he said.
Speaking of the geographical coverage, the forum was attended by representatives from 130 countries, 79 of which sent official representatives to the event. Mr. Kobyakov pointed out that representatives of all the countries now designated as unfriendly had participated in the forum as well. According to him, the preparation for the next edition will start today.
“The next SPIEF event … will reach for the pre-pandemic level of participation,” he believes.
Adviser to the President also added that the forum had been using more technologies. He said, providing an example, “If we put together all the screens used this year, we’d cover a little more than a football field area; over 100,000 square meters of the building area.”
The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, organized by the Roscongress Foundation, took place on 15–18 June. This year’s theme was titled “New Opportunities in a New World.” The SME Forum, Creative Business Forum, Drug Security Forum, SPIEF Junior Dialogue, and SPIEF Sport Week were held on the sidelines of the event as well.