On Tuesday, during his visit to Italy, Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced that Russia would boycott the World Economic Forum in Davos, if the head of VTB, Andrey Kostin, co-owner of Rusal, Oleg Deripaska, and the main shareholder of the Renova group, Viktor Vekselberg, are not allowed to come to the conference.
The Davos forum leadership’s decision, requesting Russians that are under the sanctions not to come to the conference is "very strange," said Medvedev.
“If these restrictions made in relation to the Russian business representatives are not changed, then we will have to make a decision to withdraw government officials’ and Russian state-run companies’ participation in the Davos Forum,” the premier said.
“Then nobody will go there,” he added.
According to Medvedev, he discussed the withdrawal of Russian business from participation in the forum with the President of the Swiss Confederation, Alain Berse, who promised to “make inquiries” about this.
“For us, this is surprising, especially since we are talking about a non-governmental organization,” said Medvedev.
According to the Financial Times (FT), Vekselberg, Kostin and Deripaska, who last year shook Davos with a champagne party with Russian folk dances and performance by Enrique Iglesias, were informed that although formally personal sanctions do not prohibit visiting Switzerland, their visit this year would be undesirable.
One of the FT sources clarified that the pressure on the World Economic Forum’s organizers is exerted by the U.S. authorities.
According to RBC, a source close to the billionaire Deripaska, whose aluminum empire was on the verge of collapse after Rusal was blacklisted by the United States did not plan to go to Davos.
To remove the company from the sanctions list, Deripaska withdrew himself from the business. Therefore, participation in the forum does not make sense, said the source. In April, the U.S. imposed sanctions on Deripaska, whose fortune Forbes estimates at $ 6.7 billion, Vekselberg ($ 14.4 billion) and Kostin.