5 Minutes of Common Sense: Why the St. Petersburg Economic Forum Matters


June 17, 2016 –

Ruslan Ostashko, PolitRussia – 

Translated by J. Arnoldski

A curious picture could be observed yesterday. Due to the massive number of private business jets trying to land in St. Petersburg at the same time, airport dispatchers had to queue regular flights. The global economic and financial elite that gathered in St. Petersburg gave such an impression that even the organizers did not expect such success. As it turns out, the economy of the “gas-station country” and the opportunities for investing in this “gas-station” are more important than the sanctions and instructions of “Washington’s regional committee” whose institutional impotence is clearly proven by the St. Petersburg economic forum. 

Despite Russia’s being under sanctions and its supposedly “torn to shred” economy and international isolation, the number of business jets which landed and Pulkovo airport exceeded 250. The elites of European and Asian business still want to work with Russia, and the State Department doesn’t have enough “geopolitical duct tape” to isolate Russia from the world. The most insulting part is that even some American companies ignored Washington’s demands. The heads of Exxon Mobil and Boeing came to St. Petersburg because for them money and the prospects of cooperation outweigh the risk of quarreling with Washington’s bureaucrats. 

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The main guest of the forum is Jean Claude Juncker, the head of the European Commission who came to the forum despite protests from the State Department and the leaders of some European states. The Americans argued that Juncker’s presence in St. Petersburg would send the wrong signal to Russian. But in vain. They’ve understood the correct signal: one of the few European politicians who is capable of showing independence in key issues of international politics has come to us. And we will talk with him. Juncker himself lamented in his speech that the very idea of direct dialogue with the Russian leadership, Russian politicians, and ordinary Russians is presented as “radicalism” for many in the West. 

It is expected that over the next few days Western media will pour buckets of dirt on the head of the European Commission, especially if the forecasts come true that Juncker came to St. Petersburg in order to promote and support the “Nord Stream 2.” Pro-American media are already sounding the alarm over the fact that the project is on schedule with the pipeline purchased, the political support of Germany and the European Commission President obtained, and the protests of Washington and such countries as Poland, Romania, and Ukraine completely ignored. 

In this context, the statements of the head of Gazprom must look quite scary when he said at the forum that the gas pipelines ensuring transit through Ukraine will be liquidated and that Gazprom will save money after the launching of “Nord Stream 2.” For Gazprom, saving is good, but the liquidation of Kiev’s ability to blackmail is even better.

After a fey days, the total number of contracts signed at the St. Petersburg forum will be counted. I am sure that the sum will reach hundreds of billion of euros. But this is not the main point. For a few days, the epicenter of the global infancies system has been transferred to St. Petersburg and international media are anxiously awaiting Vladimir Putin’s address, meticulously retelling rumors about the signals the Russian leader has sent to the West. In fact, there is no point in guessing. Most likely, Putin will say the same thing that Sergey Lavrov said today. Sane Europeans will be offered the opportunity to ditch the trashy principle of Transatlantic solidarity and cease being blackmailed by the US and the “Russophobic minority” within the EU. Judging by the number and composition of the St. Petersburg forum’s guests, there is the chance that this appeal will not only be heard, but supported. The venue for this appeal is perfect. It is no wonder that they say that the most sensitive organ of Europeans is not the heart or the brain but the wallet. The European wallet is being appealed to by none other than our president. 

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