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Russia House returns

Preparations for the official Russian residence in Davos have resumed following the withdrawal of previously announced restrictions which would have prevented Russian business representatives from attending the World Economic Forum. Russia House will open its doors for business, government, and media representatives from 21 to 25 January 2019.

Preparations for the official Russian residence in Davos have resumed following the withdrawal of previously announced restrictions which would have prevented Russian business representatives from attending the World Economic Forum. Russia House will open its doors for business, government, and media representatives from 21 to 25 January 2019.

The decision by the management of the WEF to discriminate against individuals from the Russian business community was in contravention of the forum’s own underlying principles as set forth by Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab, namely, that the event is “independent, impartial and not tied to any special interests”. However, in spite of their principles and declared values, the WEF had, under pressure from the US government, taken the decision not to invite a number of business representatives from Russia. This group included Andrey Kostin, Viktor Vekselberg, and Oleg Deripaska. The development was reported by the global media in November, which cited US sanctions as the reason behind the decision.

It was a decision that came in for criticism in the media for being politically motivated, contravening international law, and running contrary to the principles of the forum itself. A large number of forum participants from Russia had said that they would no longer be travelling to Davos as a result. The official government delegation also reconsidered their plans. And in light of the discrimination shown towards Russian business representatives, the Roscongress Foundation had decided to cease preparations for Russia House – a well-established feature of Davos in recent years, and one which had enjoyed a great deal of popularity among forum participants and guests. These developments and criticisms, coupled with the threat of court action, led the organizers of the World Economic Forum to reverse their discriminatory decisions.

The World Economic Forum has invariably positioned itself as a neutral platform to discuss global issues. A stated aim of the forum is to achieve harmonious global development. This is impossible without Russia’s participation. Over the past 20 years, Russia has had a continued presence at events held at Davos. The forum’s President, Børge Brende commented in December last year that “Russia’s voice is always very loud”. In addition, Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation Anton Kobyakov had earlier commented that the main objective of Russia House was to demonstrate the country’s openness and showcase partnerships between experts from Russia and the World Economic Forum to develop international collaboration in key areas.

Russia House is a platform for promoting Russian initiatives to the international business and political communities who gather annually at the Swiss alpine resort town of Davos during the World Economic Forum. In 2017, a memorandum of understanding was signed at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum between the Roscongress Foundation and the World Economic Forum. As a result, Russia House was assigned the status of official Russian residence.

The Roscongress Foundation will shortly begin to draw up the business programme for Russia House and prepare the venue, which will provide an effective working space for the official Russian delegation, members of which will be announced in January 2019.

Official Russia House website: http://houserussia.com/.

December 18, 2018
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