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World majority still doing business with Russia diplomat

The rest of the world refuses to join the West, Dmitry Birichevsky has said

More than 130 countries were represented at this year’s St. Petersburg International Economic forum, while the West was not invited and not particularly wanted, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s director of economic cooperation, Dmitry Birichevsky, said in an interview on Wednesday.

“It’s not that the West didn’t attend SPIEF this year – we simply didn’t invite them,” Birichevsky told the outlet RTVI.

“Look, there are approximately 200 countries in the UN, more than 130 of them are represented in one way or another at the SPIEF. As we say, the world majority is here,” said the diplomat. “The several dozen countries that have introduced illegal restrictive measures against our country – well, they’re not here, they don’t want to be here, and we’re not particularly expecting them either.”

Some Western companies that remained in Russia have taken part in the forum, as did the trade associations that do not wish to sever the connections developed over the years.

The world majority understands that sanctions are an “absolutely counterproductive way of doing things in world politics, diplomacy, and even more so in the economy,” said Birichevsky.

Sanctions are problematic not just because they are ineffective, but because they backfire on their authors, the diplomat argued. “See how European businesses have suffered since the severing of ties with Russia,” Birichevsky pointed out. “In particular, Germany, as the engine of Europe, has actually already admitted that it is in stagnation or even in recession.”

Moreover, the unprecedented embargo against Russia has revealed that economic relations take a back seat to politics.

“Trust in the West has been seriously undermined. We can no longer build relationships, as the Westerners themselves say, business as usual. We no longer believe what we are told,” Birichevsky told RTVI. If and when the West realizes they’ve made a mistake, it might be possible to deal with them again, he added. “Right now, predicting anything economic with the West is absolutely unpromising.”

This is why this year’s SPIEF discussed topics such as de-dollarization and doing business in national currencies, as well as the usual subjects such as climate change and regional economic ties, according to the diplomat.


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