MOSCOW, May 7 (RIA Novosti) – The program of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) will not be significantly changed following the refusal of a number of Western companies to participate, a representative of the forum’s organizers told RIA Novosti Wednesday.
“The time period of the forum remains the same, there are some changes regarding the speakers, we have to replace some contributors, but roundtable discussions remain unchanged,” SPIEF’s organizing committee said, adding that the number of Russian participants had not decreased compared to last year.
Russian Deputy Minister of Economic Development Sergei Belyakov earlier confirmed that approximately 15 percent of companies that had registered for the forum have refused to attend. President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Putin’s program would not be changed.
On Tuesday, The New York Times reported earlier that aides to US President Barack Obama were pressuring heads of American companies not to attend SPIEF over Russia’s stance on the Ukrainian crisis. The 18th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum will be held on May 22-24.