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SPIEF kicks off in Russia's federal capital. Photo supplied

St Petersburg Economic Forum: Economic pragmatism in the post-COVID world

On June 2-5, the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) takes place in Russia. It is the second-largest city in Russia, the fourth-most populous city in Europe and the most populous city on the Baltic Sea, as well as the world's northernmost city with over 1 million residents. Given the topical issue of Covid-19, the forum will be held in accordance with all anti-virus measures. In particular, no more than 5000 people will be able to attend in person. Noteworthy, is that the number of online participants is not limited.

Published: June 2, 2021, 3:06 pm

    St Petersburg

    The number of topics covered are significant: this year organizers offer the participants discussions on investment and business policy, sustainable growth, development of the Far East, ecology, small business, energy and ecosystems. Special attention will be given to a discussion of future economic opportunities with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Among other substantial matters are creative industries, digitalization in the lockdown era, status of bloggers in the economic sphere, economies of megacities, etc.

    The SPIEF is primarily aimed at generating pragmatic results: the establishment of cooperation with countries and regions, including productive work within the blocks of discussion such as “Russia-Germany”, “Russia-Italy”, “Russia-Finland”, “Russia-Sweden”, “Russia-France”, “Russia-Africa”, “Russia-Latin America”, “Russia-Arab world”.

    Meanwhile, the SPIEF organizing team highlighted the importance to clearly distinguish between the St. Petersburg Forum from the Davos Forum. Despite the international orientation and attempts to establish constructive cooperation with different countries and regions, there is no NATO-supporting motive on the SPIEF margins, unlike Davos. The last one is mainly an excuse for promoting the globalist agenda taking shape, with an emphasis on the ideology of universalism and neoliberalism rather than on practical results.

    The key reference points of Davos were formulated in the watershed year of 2020, when the “Great Reset” was announced. It was in Davos that the term “sustainable” was popularized, suggesting, among other things, the need for population reduction, the introduction of international censorship through social networks and the increased introduction of cyborgs and artificial intelligence into the economy. Davos is a symbol of globalization and the introduction of common standards to many different regions of the world, without regard to their specificity, culture or real economic opportunities.

    The St. Petersburg Forum uses similar popular economic themes, including “sustainable development”, but there is a fundamental difference. The emphasis of “sustainability” is not projected on the world as a whole but promoted as a symbol of stable economic cooperation with each country unilaterally or with major regions which show readiness to accommodate a multipolar system.

    A clear indication of deep dissimilarity between SPIEF and Davos is the fact that at the SPIEF there are no such blocs as “Russia-European Union” or “Russia-US”. It is quite obvious that these states have complex relations against the background of geopolitical confrontations. That is why, according to the organizers, the St. Petersburg event is an opportunity for pragmatic cooperation with all the countries or blocs who demonstrate intentions to engage in trade instead of nourishing certain political contradictions.

    For example, in a dialogue with Germany participants will discuss the development of energy partnership between the countries to solve climate problems. In particular, there will be an exchange of experience to improve the environmental impact of production processes and recycling of raw materials. At the same time, a major agreement will be signed between the Russian RK-Investment Fund and the German Mangold Consulting GmbH.

    It is expected that SPIEF-2021 will bring a respectable amount of new developments and growth opportunities for all the participants, given that there has been a shift of formats and priorities in the post-Covid digitalized world.

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