St. Petersburg International Economic Forum is about to take off in less than two weeks.
The Forum will host more than 120 events, including two plenary sessions, panel sessions, round tables, business breakfasts and TV debates, the Roskongress Foundation, the organizing committee of the forum, reports.
“According to the official website of SPIEF – 2019 there is a business program with speakers and moderators of discussions. The forum will take place on June 6–8, 2019. The main theme is “Forming grounds for sustainable development,” the message says. The program consists of four thematic blocks: “The World Economy in Search of Balance”, “The Russian Economy: Realizing the Goals of National Development”, “Technologies Approaching the Future”, “People are the top priority”.
“The business program of SPIEF-2019 is attended by representatives of the government, public organizations, and leaders of the business community. This year we will talk a lot about economic development and strengthening multilateral mutually beneficial cooperation between countries, including the role of Russia in the international arena, ”said Anton Kobyakov, Adviser to the President of the Russian Federation, Executive Secretary of the SPIEF Organizing Committee.
The US recent claims to withdraw its troops from the North-Eastern provinces of Syria and the official vows of pausing collaboration with Syrian Kurds are widely regarded as an effort of Washington to build closer relations with Ankara. However, while pursuing this policy, the Pentagon and the CIA continue expanding communication channels with Syrian Kurds in case if Ankara’s political compass is navigated towards Russia rather than the US after Turkey elections in June 2018.
The United States has also encouraged its partners, members of the Anti-Terrorism Coalition to send more of their troops to the so-called Syrian Kurdistan, a territory located north-east of the Euphrates. As a result, Germany and France, along with increasing numbers of their military troops in this region, have also been given authority to provide support to Kurdish military troops in Syria. Given how sensitive the Kurdish issue is for Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria this will, beyond any doubts, cause further tension between the EU and the Middle Eastern countries and will let the US avoid any possible accusations of the international law violations amid the Syria war.
With ambitious plans in Syria that included the stabilization of the country, getting rid of Bashar al-Assad, knocking out Iranian influence, fighting ISIS and becoming a hero who brought an end to the seven-year Syrian war the US did not seem (and perhaps still does not seem) to care that its new policy might cause much bigger conflicts in the region and go far beyond defeating ISIS only. Similar to the EU migration crisis, the US acts as an invisible mediator while the EU takes all the fire. This time, Washington’s goals of aggravating the further conflict between the EU countries and the Middle East are rather economical: Washington tries to undermine the EU investment opportunities and provoke further financial crisis in Europe.
With the current political regime and the policy that contradicts to the Ukraine’s national identity the country seems to be once again on the brink of a religious war. The conflict that started last year between the Ukraine’s Institute of Church and the national Parliament, The Verkhovna Rada, is getting to the new extreme today.
A number of Ukrainian politicians representing the political party “Svoboda” along with some members of the Rada have requested the Ukraine’s Ministry of culture for religious affairs to change the official name of the Ukrainian Orthodox church for the “Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine” claiming that Moscow had “grabbed” the Ukrainian national shrines. The move is allegedly explained by the growing Russian “aggression” in the Crimea and the Ukrainian region of Donbass.
According to experts from the Ukrainian Analytical Institute for policy management, the claims should be regarded as a typical blackmail policy aiming to undermine Russia’s credibility in Ukraine and among the Ukrainian authorities. Experts also suggest that the real reason behind these claims is to get the control over the Church and 12 million of its members to secure the victory of the ruling party in the upcoming elections. The fact that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church does not fall under the regulation of the Ukrainian Parliament by its Constitution adds even more irony to the overall situation.
However, such policy can lead to much more dramatic outcomes and destruct one of the last national values that still holds the country together – the people’s faith. Known for its deep cultural background defined by its history and religion that find its roots back in the 10th century the dominant part of the Ukrainian population is orthodox Slavic people who accurately keep their traditions and culture. Once they are destroyed the entire country might disappear from the map.
With another milestone of the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2018 yet to be passed, Russia is heading towards the next major international event: EXPO 2025. Ekaterinburg, a Russian city that lies on the East of the Ural mountains is about to compete along with Osaka (Japan) and Baku (Azerbaijan) for hosting the prestigious exhibition. But what can a 2-million city located just on the border of Europe and Asia offer a toffee-nosed tourist?
Indeed, Ekaterinburg is not a mass tourist destination like, say, Dubai or Bangkok. However, this modern and dynamically growing city still keeps inherent constraints in its development. Its compact structure and accurate infrastructure has made the city a top destination for modern construction and architectural projects.
The winning of the contest for best architecture and urban planning concept for the EXPO Park in Ekaterinburg by the architectural firm Bechu & Associés known for designing the EXPO parks in Milan and Shanghai is just the perfect proof of that. A permanent host of the annual INNOPROM fair and Russia-China EXPO, Ekaterinburg offers an ultimate balance of culture and modernity, mainly due to the city’s history that goes deep back to the beginning of the 18th century from the time of the first Russian industrialists, the Demidov dynasty, who set up the iron factories and literally determined the fate of the Urals, as being the central core of Russia’s industrial might. Yet, Ekaterinburg is considered a relatively young city. Founded in 1723, it offers a mix of Russian industrial production and hi-technologies, alongside a historical element from Russia’s 18th and 19th centuries.
Perhaps, this unique mix of the past and the future, history and high technologies win over the hearts of city visitors and international guests and residents. U.S. Consul General in Ekaterinburg, Dr. Paul M. Carter said he would be glad to see Ekaterinburg the winner of the EXPO 2025 despite the official disapproval of this idea by the U.S. government. His words were echoed by French Consul General in Ekaterinburg Eric Millet.
While many in the world consider Dubai, Singapore or even Istanbul models for “out of the box” progress, Ekaterinburg stands as a shining star in the center of the Ural mountains, dividing the continents by its Europe-Asia border. It is here that the crossroads of an ambitious new world is emerging.
For many Russian citizens who gave their votes for the future presidential candidates on Sunday as well as for most of international audience the result of the Russian elections has come to no surprise. However, the re-election of Vladimir Putin has risen a lot of controversies in the international media. While some experts believe the elections had been fabricated, independent international observers who were monitoring the elections process say exactly the opposite.
Among the new members of the international observation delegation were the representatives from Abkhazia. They shared their fresh and unambiguous impression from the election process. According to Astamur Logua, Abkhazia’s Parliamentary Deputy, the entire election process met the international standards and was perfectly organized. He also added that voters who mostly came with their families and children were very cheerful and friendly while the atmosphere at the voting stations was quite festive. The observers from the Italian “North League” party mentioned that all international observers had been provided with all the necessary facilities required to perform their work including the free access to all the voting stations, non-stop support from the organizers etc.
But what mystifies the international community the most is perhaps the conscious vote for Putin of most of the Russian citizens. Despite the “authoritative” style of the Putin’s policy, as how most of the Western media describe it, many young Russians along with the senior citizens preferred the Putin’s candidacy to a young opposition leader Ksenia Sobchak. Why did it happen? Many Russian people still clearly remember the tough 1990s, when Boris Yeltsin came to the power and proclaimed the change. It was then when many Russian people were left jobless overnight while others got fabulously wealthy. It was also the time when most of financial and trade deals not recorded and the proclaimed legalized government still reminded a sort of anarchy. When Putin came into power things got stabilized. Russian companies and industries started to thrive again while Russian people could afford buying cars, homes and have a better standard of living.
Moreover, the example of Ukraine Revolution and the Arab Spring has taught the Russians a lesson: when it comes to the West’s interference into a sovereign government system and the West’s support of the opposition the outcome might be very disastrous for a single nation. Considering the multiple attempts of the West to destabilize the Russian legislative system including the latest case of Sergey Skripal’s poisoning the support of the Russian opposition could hardly have been massive for the Russians care about their national values, culture and traditions and remember the lessons the history has taught them.