Economic sanctions were not enough to scare international investors and dignitaries from attending Russia’s major investment summit in St Petersburg last month.
The St Petersburg International Economic Forum aims to boost economic links between Russia and the world, and it seems to have been successful despite the numerous economic penalties in place from the international community.
French President Emmanuel Macron attended as the event’s guest of honour, with other dignitaries at the May 25 event including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, US ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman and Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg.
Prior to the event, Huntsman encouraged American investors and businessmen to attend the event on Twitter. He said dialogue was the only way forward for both countries.
“Mutual isolation will only drive us further apart,” he said in the video. “That is why I’m going.”
Russia has faced economic sanctions from the majority of Western nations following its annexation of Crimea in 2014. Further sanctions followed after accusations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US Presidential election.
Such accusations and retaliatory penalties did little to dampen attendance or interest in the investment summit.
In a statement on the Kremlin website, President Vladimir Putin said the relationship between France and Russia remained strong with an aggregate amount of Russian investment in the French economy standing at $3 billion. Meanwhile, French investment in Russia stands at $15 billion.
“France is our traditional partner. We cherish our mutually beneficial relations and are trying to develop them actively. We maintain an intensive political dialogue with Mr Macron and often exchange views and ideas over the phone,” he said.
Further sanctions were placed on Russian companies and individuals last month after the United States accused them of assisting in global cyberattacks last year.
Earlier this year, both the US and UK governments publicly blamed Russia for the NotPetya cyberattack last year that targeted Ukraine and spread around the world. The ransomware attack infected the websites of Ukrainian organizations, including banks, ministries, newspapers and electricity firms, as well as other nations around the world.
Russia previously denied responsibility for the attack, which was estimated to have cost companies around the world more than $1.2 billion.