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The 2010 St Petersburg Economic Forum
Daniel Klein

This year’s St Petersburg Economic Forum held from June 17-19 was perhaps noticed to a greater extent on the world stage because of who attended than what was said. The participation of a G-8 leader, namely France’s Nicolas Sarkozy has finally put Russia’s prized forum on the map. Last year, Russia ‘s economy was in nothing short of a freefall, marked by the largest drop in GDP in the history of the country and the Forum was only able to attract a few former G8 leaders and one non-G8 leader, namely the president of the Philippines. What a difference a year makes. In step with very recent figures which have indicated that Russia’s industrial production and GDP are now growing faster than almost any major G8 economy; not to mention that Russia is a country that is not inflicted by an overhanging public debt burden like most of its Western neighbors, Russia’s economic profile has become the envy of many its Western counterparts. The relative health and strength of the Russian economy may translate into much greater respect from Europe and other nations in step with President Sarkozy’s decision to attend the forum. While many of the biggest headlines from the Forum speak about who attends and the amount of deals that are signed, some of the most interesting news usually emanates from which business celebrities skip the event. Last year, the Forum was abuzz about the absence of Russia’s then #1 oligarch Oleg Deripaska as he was busy with Premier Putin. This year, everyone, especially all the oil company leaders, were fluttering about the absence of regularattendee Tony Hayward from BP who was busy with the US President Obama. For more information about the forum see  

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