Western journalists banned from ‘Russian Davos’

Reporters from “unfriendly” nations were barred from the economic forum in St. Petersburg, the Kremlin said

News organizations from “unfriendly” countries have been banned from the annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), the Kremlin said on Saturday, confirming earlier reports. 

“A decision has been made this time not to provide accreditation … to publications from unfriendly countries,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told news agency TASS. 

“The interest regarding SPIEF is always big, so other journalists will be working at the event,” the spokesman added. 

According to Reuters, its Moscow office was told by organizers on Friday that its accreditation had been revoked. 

Moscow began formally designating foreign states as “unfriendly countries” in 2021, citing hostile policies, such as sanctions and expulsions of Russian diplomats. The list currently contains the majority of Western countries, including the US, Canada, and Britain, as well as all members of the European Union.

The law on “unfriendly” nations allows the government to restrict the activities of entities and individuals from blacklisted states in Russia. 

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Dubbed ‘Russian Davos’ by the foreign media, the SPIEF is one of Russia’s top events aimed at fostering trade relations with companies from around the world. 

The forum is regularly attended by the heads of states and other high-level officials from Russia and abroad, as well as by business executives. President Vladimir Putin has frequently delivered speeches at the forum.

More than 4,000 journalists from some 30 countries were accredited to the forum last year, according to organizers. This year’s event will take place on June 14-17.

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