Russia will boycott Davos if its billionaires are kept out: PM

By Agence France-Presse

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday that no delegation would go to the Davos World Economic Forum in January if top tycoons including Oleg Deripaska were kept out of the prestigious gathering.

Several Russian oligarchs and allies of President Vladimir Putin have reportedly been asked to stay away from the World Economic Forum meet.

“If all these decisions that have been taken in relation to Russian business representatives are not changed, then we will have to take a decision regarding the cancellation of participation in the Davos forum of state employees and Russian companies where the state has a stake,” Medvedev said.

“Then no one would go there,” he said in televised remarks. “Let’s wait and see.”

Speaking on the sidelines of Italian-sponsored Libya crisis talks in Palermo, the Russian prime minister described the decision as “very strange”.

Medvedev said he had discussed the situation with Swiss President Alain Berset, who he said had promised to look into the issue.

“He said he would make inquiries,” Medvedev added.

The Financial Times reported last week that billionaires Deripaska, Viktor Vekselberg and Andrei Kostin, the head of Russian state bank VTB, had essentially been barred from attending the prestigious gathering in January.

The decision was made under pressure from Washington, the FT said, citing sources familiar with the situation.

VTB confirmed at the time that Kostin “had a conversation with Mr Schwab,” referring to Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum.

The tycoons were hit with US sanctions earlier this year as Washington seeks to punish Russia for alleged international aggression and hit those close to Putin.

The trio are believed to be close to Putin and attended the forum in the past.

Deripaska was particularly famous for throwing wild parties in Davos, with vodka, caviar and dancing Cossacks on offer.

The Kremlin has said the Davos forum would be “rejecting its roots” if it blacklisted the Russian billionaires.

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