‘Your loss’, Kremlin says as Russian billionaires reportedly barred from Davos forum
Viktor Vekselberg, the owner of Renova group, aluminum tycoon Oleg Deripaska and the head of VTB Bank Andery Kostin have been denied the right to visit the upcoming business gathering in Switzerland, according to the British business daily the Financial Times. The newspaper cites sources as saying that the three Russian individuals were deemed unwelcome at the January WEF because the US considers them key supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin and imposed individual sanctions on them as part of its wider anti-Russian pressure campaign.
One source said the sanctions themselves in no way bar the three businessmen from attending the high-profile event and that the organizers bowed to pressure from Washington. “This is not about the law,” one person said on condition of anonymity. “They’re under huge pressure from the US not to invite them.”
The newspaper notes that the decision undermines the long-time effort of the organizers to have Putin himself among attendees, which he has not done since 2009.
Responding to the reported restrictions, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the decision was hurting the WEF rather than the targeted Russians.
Deripaska, Kostin and Vekselberg became the people they are today not because of the forum in Davos, but the Davos forum became the forum it is today because of business people like them.
The spokesman added that while WEF’s decision was undermining its own status as a global event, it would hardly bar the three businessmen from maintaining business links with foreigners.
“Moscow hosts several forums, including those organized by these three individuals. Any interested person can simply visit Russia,” Peskov said.
The US subjected Russian individuals and entities to a plethora of sanctions, saying the policy is meant to impose a cost on Russia’s “bad behavior.” The measures are perceived in Moscow as an underhanded way of economic competition under the guise of morality.
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