Economic Development Minister Andrei Belousov is confident about the forum to be held on June 20-22.

Minister of Economic Development of Russia Andrei Belousov at a meeting on economic issues held in the Kremlin, June 10, 2013.

Photo source: RIA Novosti/Alexey Nikolsky

“Finding Resolve to Build the New Global Economy” – this is the motto of the upcoming 17th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), which will open its doors to guests on June 20.

“A forum is a meeting place for discussion. Essentially, it is clear ahead of this St. Petersburg Forum – much like the Davos Forum – whether it will be a success judging by the list of participants scheduled to attend. So, with participation already confirmed by 190 heads of major foreign companies and 428 heads of Russian companies, and the number of participants increasing literally by the minute, we can already say that the forum is a success. We expect to receive some 5,000 people all in all,” Economic Development Minister Andrei Belousov told journalists.

This year, projected participants include the Management Board and Executive Committee of Deutsche Bank AG Co-chairman Juergen Fitschen, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson and Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat. Russia's major companies – Gazprom, Rosneft, Severstal, etc. - will also be represented by their respective top managers. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte have been invited as honorary guests. The former was personally invited by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is also expected to attend the event.

“Forum participants will have a unique chance to speak with the heads of the world's largest companies – all smart and reputable people – in person, listen to their speeches and have a say in the debates, [and] possibly, even get their message across. This fact alone is enough to turn the forum into an interesting platform for business people all over the world. This year, we are expecting official delegations from 66 different countries,” said the Deputy Minister of Economic Development Sergey Belyakov.

On a lighter note, SPIEF participants will arrive in the city just in time to enjoy St. Petersburg's white nights, which is also a good reason to visit Russia, the official added.

Russia is holding the rotating G20 presidency this year – a fact that has had a pronounced impact on the forum's program, with many topics echoing the G20 agenda, Belousov explained.

As such, the participants will discuss ways to encourage investment in order to boost economic growth, manage public debt, reform the global financial system, ensure sustainable development of energy markets and strengthen global trade. The forum's three-day program includes 74 sessions.

An Energy Club Summit – a leading event in the energy community that brings together heads and experts from the world's largest companies each year – will meet on the forum's sidelines, as per tradition.

To wind down after the official program, the Ministry of Economic Development has come up with numerous forms of entertainment. For example, there will be a classical music concert involving Il Divo and Div4s performing to the accompaniment of a symphony orchestra.

Events in St. Petersburg's top theaters and concert halls have also been arranged, including the Mariinsky Theatre, the Mikhailovsky Theatre, Philharmonic and Opera House.

“We have planned a very intense cultural program,” Belousov said in conclusion.

This article first appeared in Russia Beyond the Headlines.