St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) has been one of the largest business events in Russia over the past two decades. Last year, the “New Generation” participated in the forum for the first time and, even though this year SPIEF didn’t take place due to the coronavirus pandemic, it will definitely be held again in 2021. If you’re interested in attending the forum as a delegate of the “New Generation”, here are several useful facts that you should know.
1. The first St. Petersburg Economic Forum took place in June 1997 and gathered only 1,500 participants from the CIS countries to discuss the questions of economic integration, the revival of business cooperation following the collapse of the Soviet Union and economic modernization. 10 years later, the forum’s agenda expanded to cover a wide range of global economic issues and, since then, the event has been known as St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).
2. The President of Russia Vladimir Putin first participated in the forum in 2005 and starting 2012 attended it every year. SPIEF is traditionally held under the auspices of the Russian president.
3. Every year the forum sees the signing of major agreements between Russian and foreign companies as well as between Russia and other states. In 2019, the number of deals signed at the forum reached a record over the last six years: 745 agreements with the total value of over $47 billion.
4. In addition, in 2019, SPIEF broke its other records gathering over 19,000 participants from 145 countries (including 1,300 high-level delegates and seven heads of states), 230 business sessions, 1,300 speakers, and 4,816 journalists representing 1,299 media outlets from 57 states! The popularity of the forum is so high that “Russian Railways” company has to arrange additional fast trains from Moscow to St. Petersburg while airline companies carry out extra flights.
5. As we’ve already mentioned, last year, the “New Generation” participated in the forum for the first time. 42 delegates from over 30 countries attended the special “Friends for Leadership” session and discussed international economic and humanitarian cooperation and prospective projects in five fields: social entrepreneurship, technology, education, “smart cities”, and sustainable development. Furthermore, young leaders got a chance to take part in a number of SPIEF events and meet with prominent Russian and foreign experts in international relations and youth policy. The delegates of the “New Generation” couldn’t leave St. Petersburg without seeing its cultural heritage: they had a tour around the city, enjoyed a Neva river cruise, and visited the world-famous State Hermitage Museum.
6. Each year the forum has a specific moto that sets the tone for its discussions and events. For instance, in 2018, the forum was held under the “Building a Trust Economy” slogan and one of its goals was to build trustworthy relations between Russian and foreign businesses. SPIEF-2019’s motto was “Creating a Sustainable Development Agenda” which was chosen because of the focus on existing energy projects with China, among other things.
7. EXPOFORUM Convention and Exhibition Center (covering an area of more than 50,000 sq. m.) was built in 2016 to lower the traffic pressure on St. Petersburg’s infrastructure. It welcomed first SPIEF guests the same year. The grounds of the EXPOFORUM complex also feature the Church of the Smolensk Mother of God, destroyed during WWII but restored based on the surviving plans. The fragments of its foundation were discovered by construction workers at the site.
8. Over the many years of SPIEF’s work, the participants of the forum had a chance to enjoy music concerts on the historic Palace Square of St. Petersburg. In 2007, the forum invited Scorpions, and in 2011 - Sting. In 2019, the guests of the city were invited to the “From Classics to Rock” music festival that featured performances by Andrea Bocelli, Aida Garifullina, and one of the most popular rock bands “Bi-2”.
9. SPIEF traditionally takes place in the Russian Northern capital at the beginning of summer, during the time of “white nights”, when it never gets completely dark. Many in Russia believe that this is the best and most romantic time to visit St. Petersburg and it’s hard to argue with that.
10. The main organizer of the forum is the Roscongress Fund which also holds other large-scale business events in Russia. The Fund has already announced that the Eastern Economic Forum is going to take place on September 2-5 in Vladivostok and the Russian Energy Week - on October 13-16 in Moscow.
If you’d like to attend the next SPIEF or other events of the Roscongress Fund, subscribe to our social media accounts and keep an eye out for the updates on the application process!